Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Spanish, Mandarin literature exchange gets a boost

Updated: 2013-09-10 11:23
By Sun Ye ( China Daily)

There are more than a billion Mandarin speakers and about 400 million Spanish speakers in the world. There should be massive exchanges of ideas and texts between these two languages, except that is not the case - yet.

In terms of published writing, there are few translations of works between the two languages. Luckily, that situation is set to change.

"We want to read all about China in the last 100 years, whether it's Lu Xun or Mo Yan, but we don't have enough access," says Monica Ching Hernadez, a Mexican publisher and a professor of Chinese literature at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico.

She was speaking at a foreign consultants' seminar in Beijing recently.

"We need introductions to Chinese philosophy, art, fiction, non-fiction everything." In short, there should be an across-the-board effort to translate the works of at least the past century, into Spanish.

"We're interested in all of the above," she says.

"The Spanish-speaking population knows little about the great works from China. It's far from what we would like to see and a lot has to be done," says Chen Yingming, deputy director at the department of foreign exchange, State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

To address the problem, translators, publishers and the government are working together.

Last year, the China Intercontinental Press launched an ongoing series of translations of contemporary Chinese literature. It's part of the China Book International campaign, supported by GAPP.

Its latest effort is the Spanish version of Plot Against, a fictional espionage work by Mai Jia. The book, hugely successful in China, has been adapted into a TV drama and a film to rave reviews and will soon be published by Grupo Planeta.

"This is my most fortunate book," the author said via video message at the launch of the Spanish translation at this year's Beijing International Book Fair. "It's such an honor for it to meet Spanish readers. And I believe it will never be lonely there."

By the end of this year, the Spanish versions of The Last Quarter of the Moon, an epic narrative of the Ewenki ethnic group in Northeastern China by Chi Zijian, a collection of short stories by writers of Shaanxi origin as well as a selection of poetry by Cai Tianxin, will also be released.

"For Chinese published works, they can't be counted as 'going out' (to the international market) unless they're received by the Spanish world," says Li Hongjie, president of CIP. "There are so many readers who read in Spanish, and their judgment and influence are things we always bear in mind."

On the other end of the exchange spectrum, more translations of Spanish works will come to China. In Mexico alone, the country's National Art and Culture Foundation is endorsing translation projects for the purpose of Sino-Mexico communication. The subsidy could go up to $500,000.

"When I first learned Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize, I had the vision of Chinese literature becoming the talk of the town and a trend the world over," says sinologist Hernadez.

"Now, the trend is gradually catching on."


Spanish, Mandarin literature exchange gets a boost

Spanish, Mandarin literature exchange gets a boost

Book briefs 

Quest for the right words