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Translation contest can launch writing career

By Mei Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-17 10:10

The China International Translation Contest 2013, launched recently in Beijing, is calling for entries from skilled translators from home and abroad.

The winner will be awarded a prize of $5,000, a certificate and the chance to be published internationally and attract a contract to pursue a career in writing.

Initiated by the State Council Information Office, Chinese Writers Association and China International Publishing Group, the contest is also supported by international publishers including Penguin, French publisher Hachette Livre, Spanish Editorial Popular and Russian Oriental Literature Publisher.

"We aim to locate talent, to show our cultural creativity, as well as further enlarge the country's international appeal in culture," says Zhang Yanbin, with the State Council Information Office.

Translation contest can launch writing career

For the same purpose, the Information Office and the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television joined hands to launch two projects, the China Book International and China Translation International, respectively, in 2006 and 2009, offering sponsoring fees in translation and publicity to domestic and foreign publishers.

The writers association is also pushing translations of Chinese literary classics.

"The projects have achieved much. Ten years ago, we couldn't find many eligible foreign translators of Chinese books," says Li Jingze with the association. "But we'd like to move a step forward into the mainstream."

Participants in the contest are invited to select from 30 short stories in Chinese to translate into any of the five languages - English, French, Russian, Spanish or Arabic.

For each language, there will be one first prizewinner, two second prizewinners and several third prizewinners.

"To ensure fair play, we'll only publicize the list of judges after the result is announced," Zhang says.

The 30 short stories are carefully selected from 60 candidates, and are written by top contemporary Chinese writers and published after 1978, without any previous translations recognized by the authors.

"The stories showcase the high level of Chinese writing and appeal to an international audience," says Shi Zhanjun, editor-in-chief of People's Literature Magazine.

Shi says the writers of the 30 works include Nobel laureate Mo Yan, 10 winners of the country's prestigious Mao Dun Literature Award (for novels) and 17 of the Lu Xun Literature Award (for novellas).

"They're not mere Chinese stories, but stories about human nature, told with world-class artistry," Shi adds.

Promoting talent is key for global acceptance of Chinese culture, says Huang Youyi, vice-president of China International Publishing Group and vice-president of the Translators Association of China, adding all prizewinners have the chance to be recognized as expert members of the Translators Association of China.

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