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The Ethics of Translation

By Chandan Gowda

A linguist narrated an anecdote that I haven’t been able to forget. A translator in medieval China complained of budget cuts for the work of translation: “In earlier days, a hundred translators worked together, in one large room, to translate a text. This number is now reduced to forty.” Besides the charms of collective authorship of translated texts, in contrast with the modern figure of the solo translator, the anecdote had held up the value of translation in China.

Translations open up pathways of imagination between cultural communities. While their value appears obvious, a few cautionary observations, especially with reference to contemporary English translations from Indian language, might be worth recalling.

Since great stories about village India or tribal India, to name just two spheres of experience, are likely to be written in Indian languages, only translations, in English or Indian languages, can come to the rescue of curious minds. More generally, an interest in the best works of Indian literature and political thought can be presumed to exist, either now or at another point in time. So far, so good. Read more

Source: Bangalore Mirror

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China: Sisyphe bookstore chain opens first store in Beijing

By Xing Yi

More Chinese may be buying books online, but brick-and-mortar bookstores are still thriving. Sisyphe, one of the biggest private bookstore chains in China, opened its first branch in Beijing on Jan 13.

The bookstore, the 67th branch for Sisyphe, is located in the Solana shopping mall near Chaoyang Park.

With an area of around 500 square meters, the bookstore offers more than 20,000 titles, including a section for books in English and a special section for children’s books.

“I don’t really care about the statistics of the industry,” says Jin Weizhu, owner of the bookstore chain, commenting on a 2016 report on the retail book market, which shows, for the first time, the country’s online book sales of 36.5 billion yuan ($5.4 billion) surpassed offline sales-33.6 billion yuan. Read more

Source: China Daily

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China: Turning a new page: Writers of online fiction taste fame and fortune

By Song Jingyi

It has been eight years since Tang Xintian, a post-80s woman in Beijing, started working as a freelance writer.

Tang majored in economics and began working as analyst in Shanghai after graduation. However, it was her passion for writing that made her quit her job and started to write novels online.

In 2009, Tang started by posting her stories on Hongxiu Tianxiang website, China’s largest community of fiction lovers online. Luckily, her first novel was weel accepted and ranked in the top three on the website. Later, it even got published.

Tang was greatly inspired by this success, and has been working as an online writer since then. In 2011, she became more popular across the country when the TV series Naked Wedding, based on her novel, became a hit.

Despite her popularity, Tang continues to post her works online, because she has found internet “a very good place to let people know your work, especially publishers and readers.” Read more

Source: China Daily

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The top 10 Asian books of 2016, from vivid science fiction to Japanese crime, Vietnam war memories and today’s China

Former Hong Kong academic Madeleine Thien’s Booker shortlisted family saga, Hideo Yokoyama’s gripping tale of corruption in Japan and Mei Fong’s searing history of China’s one-child policy among our picks

By James Kidd

It was a vintage year for literature – particularly in Asia. South China Morning Post book critic James Kidd lists his top 10 books of the year by Asian writers, or about Asia itself.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Six decades of Chinese history are dramatised through music and politics, family and friendship, love and loss. Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, here is one of the books of the year, by a former Hong Kong academic. Read more

Source: South China Morning Post

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US writer’s book on Beijing out in Chinese seven decades later

By Wu Yue

Marian Cannon Schlesinger, 104, can still recall what Beijing was like in the 1930s, when she visited China to see her sister, Wilma Cannon Fairbank, and brother-in-law, John King Fairbank.

“I fear that old Peking and all its wonderful atmosphere, the hutong (alleys), mud houses, sounds and daily life, as I knew them, have long disappeared,” Schlesinger writes in her introduction to San Bao and His Adventures in Peking.

The book’s Chinese translation, published by Beijing-based Zhonghua Book Company, was released in October, 77 years after the original in English was first published in the United States.

“I think what I caught in my little book is almost a historical record,” she adds.

Schlesinger arrived in Shanghai in 1934 after a 17-day ship journey from the US having completed her college education. Read more

Source: China Daily 

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Chinese online literature goes to world

Despite huge cultural gaps, Chinese online literature, especially fantasy novels featuring martial arts and magical powers, have created a reading frenzy among foreign readers, Xinhua News Agency reports.

Fascinated by the cultural elements contained in Chinese web novels and their imaginative plots, many foreigners have spontaneously begun to translate these works, exchange translating experiences and discussing plots. Some even started learning Chinese or writing their own fantastic works inspired by popular genres of Chinese web novels.

Wuxiaworld.com is the largest Chinese web novel translation forum in the world. Founded in December 2014, the forum has completed translation of seven Chinese web novels. The translations of 22 other novels are ongoing.

As of last month, the forum had been ranked 1,536th in the world website ranking list with daily page views of 3.62 million. Almost one third of its readers are from the United States, and others are mainly from Philippines, Indonesia, Canada and Germany.

Lai Jingping, founder of Wuxiaworld, said compared to western works, Chinese fantasy novels are based on rich Chinese culture, history and myths. The unique Chinese concepts in these novels are very fresh and attractive to western readers, said Lai. Read more

Source: CRIENGLISH.com

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Book Review: The Gentleman from Japan by James Church

By Vick Mickunas


The Inspector O series of novels by James Church are as mysterious as the man who writes them. These books straddle that murky parallel between crime fiction and espionage novels. His latest, “The Gentleman from Japan,” submerges readers in intrigues that are almost indecipherable in their opaqueness.

“James Church” is the pen name and pseudonym for a long-time intelligence officer who has spent many years operating in the vicinity of North Korea. Inspector O, his fictional sleuth, is a retired North Korean police inspector. In this sixth book in the series, Inspector O is living quietly with his nephew in a city in China along the border with North Korea.

O’s nephew, Major Bing, occupies a post with the Chinese Ministry of State Security. Bing is the son of O’s brother, who made an appearance in the first novel. O didn’t get along too well with his late brother, a man who had seemed slavishly loyal to the North Korean regime. Read more

Source: Springfield News-Sun

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China: Writer starts ‘Books on the Chongqing Light Rail’

Bookstore owner was inspired by English actress and ‘book fairy’ Emma Watson

A bookseller in Chongqing municipality has been leaving novels on trains and at stations to inspire more commuters to read, after seeing British actress Emma Watson take part in a similar project in London.

Author and bookstore owner Jiang Lin, 29, randomly placed 40 works along the city’s light-rail system on Sunday.

Those who find a book can read it in public or take it home, but they are encouraged to leave it again on public transportation once they have finished with it, Jiang said.

“I considered the needs of commuters,” he said. “I hope strangers can feel comforted by the books and feel connected with other readers.”

All 40 books were chosen from Jiang’s store, Razor’s Edge Book Club, which he opened in the summer, and included fiction and nonfiction, with topics ranging from art and social sciences to philosophy and history.

Jiang’s Books on the Chongqing Light Rail project follows the same model as Books on the Underground, which was started in 2012 and sees “book fairies” leave works on London Tube trains and at stations. Read more

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The most beautiful book revealed in China

Twenty-five kinds of books, including Shuimo Xiju (Opera in Ink and Wash) and The Empire of the Written Symbol for Children, from 18 publishers nationwide have been called “the most beautiful book in China” on Monday, and will compete for “the most beautiful book in the world” in 2017.

The event “the most beautiful book in China” was established in 2003 and hosted by the Shanghai Municipal Press and Publication Bureau. The event invites top book designers worldwide as judges to select the most beautifully designed books which reflects the spirit and essence of Chinese culture.

The “the most beautiful book in China” selection has become a major platform leading fine Chinese book designs and designers to the world. So far, 15 kinds of Chinese books have been honored the laurel of “the most beautiful book in the world”.

Opera in Ink and Wash is a book which introduces Chinese opera art through ink and wash paintings. The four parts of the book are wrapped up with different colored papers, resembling curtains on the opera stage. The illustrations in the book reveal the traditional Chinese esthetics and pay respect to the Chinese opera art. The Book of Bugs, designed by Zhu Yingchun, which wins multiple awards including this time, has no characters at all in the whole book, and only has the trail of bugs crawling by with ink on their feet. The book is like a calligraphic album of the nature, which is quite interesting. Read more

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Beijing-born Japanese writer’s picture book populates in China


Cats, due to their mysterious lives and charming feline character, have always been popular pets. It is said that a cat may have nine lives, yet have you ever heard of a cat that lived a million times?

Japanese writer Yoko Sano created such a cat in her book The Cat Who Lived a Million Times, which was introduced to China in 2004.

The book has now been sold more than a million times in China.

A meeting was held, to promote the writer’s books, in Beijing on November 11. Writers and Sano’s faithful readers shared their understanding of the book.

Few people actually know Sano was born in Beijing in 1938 and moved to Dalian later. She returned to Japan at the age of 7.

Having died in Tokyo in 2010, Sano came to China in 2007, and said Beijing was her hometown and that she was a Beijing person.

“Her primary life was in China. And the first cat she saw is a Chinese one in a small courtyard where she lived. The cat in Sano’s early memory and her affection toward the animal were also born in China,” said Tang Yaming, senior editor, translator who has been a friend of the writer for more than twenty years. Read more