CELT Rides Again

By Eric Abrahamsen, published

The notorious – nay, infamous – Chinese-English Literary Translation course is coming around for its third incarnation this coming September (2014). For five days, translators and writers will gather in Huangshan to pick each other's brains, watch each other work, and try to teach each other a little something. Be part of the event that has launched so many illustrious translation careers! Or at least, introduced some fairly interesting people to one another.

This time, the course is being run by the Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press (FLTRP), in partnership with the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT), and SAPPRFT.

The course will be held this fall, September 22 to 27. The application deadline is August 10: be sure to send your completed application form and a scan of your passport to translation@fltrp.com before then. Attendance free, but you'll have to get yourself there, and also pay for room and board (I had this wrong intially, my apologies!).

The Chinese-to-English writers and workshop leaders are:

  1. Li Juan, 李娟, led by Andrea Lingenfelter
  2. Li Pingyi, 李平易, led by Bonnie McDougall
  3. A Yi, 阿乙, led by Eric Abrahamsen

For more information about the course, you can download the full information sheet.


# 1.   

Great to hear that another such training session is on the agenda!

I note from the application form that applicants should be native speakers of English.

But I wonder if that is the best way to run such a workshop. I attended one several years ago in Suzhou that was co-sponsored by Penguin, and it was very useful. But even then, I wondered why the only native Chinese speaker in the room -- in our case, she was monolingual -- was the author.

I recommend that you open applications to native speakers of Chinese who have strong English and translation skills. I wish we had had 1-2 such people in our group, if not more; after all, the point of such a workshop is not a flawless translation. More important is to help translators experience a broader and more creative approach to the act of translation.

Part of that training session was an exercise in sub-titling that was hosted by Cindy Carter. I was really blown away to see how differently the movie dialogue "felt" once I heard how Chinese colleagues in my group interpreted it. I wished they had taken part in our more detailed daily work on the main text as well.

Bruce, July 21, 2014, 11:53a.m.

# 2.   

In fact the whole course is split into two parts, Chinese-English and English-Chinese. The English-Chinese half is entirely equivalent to the Chinese-English half, see the information sheet for details of which writers and workshop leaders are participating. So your Chinese colleagues will be present, you just have to seek them out...

Eric Abrahamsen, July 21, 2014, 2:48p.m.

# 3.   

Not sure that we are talking about the same thing, Eric. For one, when I click on the link, I see only info about Chinese-to-English session, and I do not see the "draft schedule" which is supposed to be attached.

The description states that there will be "creative writing workshops, and literary translation workshops and plenary sessions." Of course there will be plenty of occasions for native English speakers and native Chinese speakers to interact. This sounds great and I'm sure it will be very enjoyable and educational; wish I could do it again.

As I understand it -- correct me if I am wrong -- the Chinese-to-English literary translation workshop will consist of a group leader + native English speakers. If this is the case, then this is the same format as the session in Suzhou co-sponsored by Penguin, which I attended. What I intended to express in my first post is that it might be more interesting for such workshops to be "integrated", i.e., to consist of a group of native English speakers + some native Chinese speakers who have good English and sometimes work into English.

Bruce , July 22, 2014, 7:18a.m.

# 4.   

An info sheet for English to Chinese is here: 关于举办中英文学翻译与创意写作培训班的通知英译中方向

There's some discrepancy in the VIP list (still being hammered out?) but the English-language authors given are Suzanne Joinson and Michael Mohammed Ahmad, and Chinese workshop leaders are 王维东, 吴青, and 胡宗锋.

Interestingly, the document also lists a workshop attendance fee of 9,800 yuan. (Also: both documents say room and board is to be paid by the participant.)

jdmartinsen, July 22, 2014, 10:20a.m.

# 5.   

Hi Bruce,

I learn from my FLTRP colleagues that there will be some Chinese native speakers to attend the Chinese-English session this year. Some competent and confident applicants already sent their applications. I really like your idea of the "integrated session".


Shilrey Hou, July 23, 2014, 2:36a.m.

# 6.   

That's good news!

Eric, we're looking forward to hearing about the results of the various sessions here on Paper Republic. Please arrange for some first-hand reportage soon after the event.

Bruce, July 23, 2014, 4:33a.m.

# 7.   

Sorry, I was just alerted to the fact that participants do have to pay for room and board, it's just that it will be arranged by the organizers. Sorry about that!

Eric Abrahamsen, July 23, 2014, 5:20a.m.


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