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Chinese books lost in translation

07-14-2010 08:55 BJT

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Besides different ways of expression, another issue hampering Chinese books from being sold out of the country is translation.

And a recent conference on the overseas promotion of Chinese books has revealed there is a high demand for high-quality translations in literature and social science books.

At the 6th conference on Chinese Books Overseas Promotion, experts made a loud appeal about the low quality of translation of Chinese books going overseas. Problems include poor language and overly direct translation, which results in simple piles of words or completely wrong meanings. Quality translation is especially lacking in books of literature and social science.

Guo Guang, director of China Youth Publishing House, London, said, "Besides having a good command of language and fine translation techniques, a good translator should understand the target country's cultural background, and should also conduct deepened research on the professional aspects of the book. We are now lacking talents in the field of book translation."

Most of the translators in China are amateur ones. Their lack of qualification leads to poor translations that get published and flow into the market. Poor translation causes the loss of information, and more importantly, keeps the book out of the hands of foreign readers.

Experts are asking that a talent training system be established in the field of translation. They say the industry should adhere to translation standards and rules, and set up a reliable talent pool. They all agree that improving the translation quality is the key factor in opening the bottle neck of Chinese books going overseas.

Editor:Liu Fang |Source:

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