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A 'powerful document' to inspire the world

China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-20 07:43

Linguists who got early look at Xi's text express their admiration

Olga Migunova of Russia focused intently for days on the report that was eventually presented at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China by General Secretary Xi Jinping. And she was impressed.

"It was a powerful document and made me feel strong and vigorous," she said.

Migunova was one of the foreign linguists who were asked to translate and edit the report. It was the first time since China's reform and opening-up that anyone other than Chinese experts had worked on such material.

Mustafa Mohamed Ahmed Yahia, 60, from South Sudan, was responsible for the Arabic version of the report.

"Letting us be directly involved in the translation shows the CPC's confidence, openness and transparency," Yahia said.

To Holly Snape of the United Kingdom, the translation work demonstrated how the country is "really trying hard to communicate with the rest of the world".

The document, the most important Chinese policy statement in five years, has been translated into 10 foreign languages.

The translators were among a handful of people who saw the report before it was delivered by Xi on Wednesday. They had 10 days to polish and edit the foreign language versions.

"From first sight, I couldn't take my eyes off it," Migunova said. "It held me spellbound like an enchanting novel. I was totally immersed in it, without having lunch or dinner from 8 in the morning to nearly midnight."

A student of Chinese for more than 10 years, Migunova has been involved in translating many government reports and CPC documents. "I feel all I had done in the past decades was just preparation for translating this report," she said. "I often feel my Russian is not good enough."

Snape, who is in her 30s, described the report as "very powerful and very strong".

"Even for a non-Chinese native speaker, I can feel the determination behind the report, and how big the ideas are," she said.

Snape found it difficult to convey some Chinese ideas in English - "consultative democracy" being one example. In many parts of the original, there was a tempo, rhythm and real feeling, she said, with many difficult nuances to convey in English.

The 32,000-character report charts a new course for the world's second-largest economy. Josep-Oriol Fortuny Carreras said it struck a balance between big ideas and concrete details, which was not easy. The Spanish linguist saw the "determination" and "courage" of the CPC to deal with issues such as corruption and environmental problems.

Peggy Cantave Fuyet, responsible for the French version of the report, said it was "filled with vigor" and showed the CPC moving forward.

For almost every foreign translator, the most impressive idea contained in the report was "socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era".

Migunova called it a "historic theory", adding that she was also excited by the CPC vision and action on innovation, corruption, poverty and education.

Calling the phrase a "huge innovation idea", Snape said its would be felt for many years to come, both in China and the world.

For Fontana Rafael, a Brazilian linguist responsible for the Portuguese version, the CPC's people-centered political philosophy was most impressive.

"The report clearly shows how the Party is always putting the people first," he said.

Yahia of South Sudan, who read Xi Jinping: The Governance of China before translating the report, said the ideas of a "new era" and "a community with a shared future for mankind" impressed him the most.

German Konrad Hartmut Luening said the Chinese Dream and the steps to realizing it excited him.

"Looking to the future, I believe China will achieve the desired objective," he said.

What struck Cantave Fuyet of France was the two-stage development plan Xi unveiled to make China a "great modern socialist country" by the middle of the 21st century.

"By then I might be too old. I hope my daughter, who will be in her 40s, will see the realization of the Chinese Dream for me," she said, calling the plan an inspiration to the world.

The CPC, as a long-established ruling party, has the vision and ability to implement long-term policies, unlike many other parties, said Cantave Fuyet, who earned a doctorate from Renmin University in July this year in the adaptation of Marxism to Chinese.

Shuichi Iwasaki was proud to be the first Japanese person to see the report. A runner who finished this year's Beijing Marathon in 3 hours and 20 minutes, Iwasaki said the biggest change he has seen in the past couple of years in China is the improvement in air quality, which shows the CPC can fulfill its plans.

As the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a new era, China presents new options for countries that want to speed up development while preserving their independence, Yahia said.

Keovichith Lamngeun said he would share what he learned from the report with his people, and link it to the national context of Laos.

The CPC is a "great iron wall of international communism and socialism" so that no forces can discredit, he said.

Based on the report, he believes the CPC will remain strong for many years to come.

For Iwasaki, the report came at a critical point: This year marks the 45th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations.

"I think it contains a lot that Japan can learn from," Iwasaki said. The Japanese translator described Xi as a "very capable" leader with vision.

Other translators did not hesitate to praise Xi. Yahia said he is a leader with strong abilities, global perspectives and a clear perception of the future.

"I respect Xi Jinping and hold him in great esteem. We can see the leader of China has the qualities required by new times," Migunova said.

Carreras said: "I know all CPC congresses are historic, but this could be the most important. Xi Jinping and the CPC have a very clear idea of what China wants to achieve and how to do it."


A 'powerful document' to inspire the world

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