Translators win the Fu Lei Prize

In what is considered a major boost for female translators in the country, three women recently won top honors at the prestigious Fu Lei Awards at Fu Lei Library in Zhoupu City in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area.

The Fu Lei Prize, which was created by the French Embassy in China in 2009, rewards the work of writers, intellectuals and publishers in the presentation of French essays and literature to Chinese readers. It was created in memory of the famous translator Fu Lei (1908-1966), who translated some of the early classics of French literature into Chinese.

Chaired by the French sinologist Guillaume Olive, the jury for the Fu Lei Prize this year received 47 nominations – 35 in the Essay category and 12 for the Literature prize.

Courtesy of Faguo Wenhua

French Ambassador to China Laurent Bili (ninth from right) poses with the winners of the 13th Fu Lei Prize and members of the jury during the awards ceremony, which took place at the city’s Fu Lei library of Zhoupu, in the new district of Pudong in Shanghai.

Zhang Wen’s translation of Antoine Berman’s “The Abroad Experience: Culture and Translation in Romantic Germany” won the Essay Prize, which is endowed with a sum of 4,000 euros (4 US $ 528).

Published in 1984, the book is the first authoritative analysis of translation theory in German Romanticism, an intellectual movement in German-speaking countries in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

“Much like archaeological research, Berman’s book reveals to readers why the translator is never free in the practice of translation, addressing questions that still arise today,” said Yu. Zhongxian, jury member and teacher. of French literature at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“Accurate and beautiful, Zhang’s translation shows a translator’s ability to deal with the complexity of the original text, which in itself proves the universal value of translation as a means of personal enrichment,” said Yu, reading the jury’s statement.

Zhang, 32, from Shandong Province, now teaches French at the School of Foreign Languages ​​at Peking University. She said: “The book makes me see translations not as subordinate to the original, but rather as an experience that can enrich the target language – in terms of borrowing and thinking.

“For example, the term ‘I can’t agree more’ has entered the Chinese language to mean ‘100 percent agree.’ But literally it sounds absurd in Chinese. From unacceptable to accepted by Today’s readers, translated usage is stimulating a new way of thinking, ”she said.

Zhang said she was doing translation to deepen her understanding and experience of French in the area of ​​language, thought, and philosophy. She has translated works by French authors, such as Michel Bussi and Marc Levy, and started translating Berman’s book in 2016.

Translators win the Fu Lei Prize

Courtesy of Faguo Wenhua

Zhang Wen (second from right) won the essay prize. His translation of “The Stranger’s Experience: Culture and Translation in Romantic Germany” by Antoine Berman is published by SDX Joint Publishing Company.

Huang Yaqin from Shanghai won the Literary Prize (4000 euros) for his work on “The Boy” by Marcus Malte, while the Starup Award went to Wang Xian, originally from Shanxi, who came away richer by 1500 euros. Wang translated Didier Eribon’s “Retour à Reims”.

“The Boy” from Malta is a story reimagined from a contemporary perspective through the eyes of an almost savage child of the French countryside as he joins society and tunes in to the scorching events of the first half of the year. 20th century.

“The Maltese boy has known war, love and ultimately death. His adventures take him across the world but he has no name. His life is like a mirror reflecting the life of each one of them. us over the long human history, ”said Huang, who has worked on the translation for nearly a year.

The native Frenchwoman won the Prix Femina in 2016.

“Oscillating between poetry, myth and legend, including a meeting with the poet Blaise Cendrars who joined the French Foreign Legion at the start of the First World War, Malta never fails to surprise; and it’s a pleasure to read, ”she said.

An editor at the Shanghai Translation Publishing House, Huang made translation a hobby after finding it to be an effective way to improve her own editing skills and reading skills.

Of the nearly 20 books she has translated to date, Malta is perhaps the only living author she has contacted, seeking answers to ambiguities in translation. She found the communication with the author both encouraging and beneficial.

“To me, translating is like decoding. The author’s comments ensure that the content is accurate and readable, rather than lost,” Huang said. “You clearly see the craft of writing behind a repertoire of characters, stories and emotions.”

Translators win the Fu Lei Prize

Courtesy of Faguo Wenhua

Huang Yaqin (second from right) from Shanghai won the literary award. His translation of “The Boy” by Marcus Malte is published by Zhejiang Literature and Art Publishing House.

Wang won an award for his very first effort with “Return to Reims” by French philosopher and sociologist Didier Eribon. The 31-year-old is currently working on her doctorate at Peking University’s School of Journalism and Communication.

“Eribon, with his gay identity, received wide recognition as a public intellectual in France. The book was written after his father’s death in 2009 when he returned to his hometown of Reims and rediscovered the world a worker he had left behind 30 years earlier, “said Wang, who majored in French at Heilongjiang University.

“His account of the difficulties he encountered during his academic progress is compelling and moving, one that I can relate to in a broader sense, and analyze issues, such as a sense of class and social justice. , in today’s society.”

“A dissertation and thought-provoking work by Eribon, the prose book takes readers on an inner soul adventure, exploring issues such as social stratification, the role of school education, and the formation of the individual identity in a given culture “, introduced Duanmu Mei, member of the jury, of Eribon’s work.

“Wang’s translation remarkably conveys the author’s autobiographical style and rigor of academic analysis, thanks to his brilliant linguistic skills and passion for French philosophy,” said Duanmu Mei, reading the jury’s commentary on the Wang’s efforts.

Translators win the Fu Lei Prize

Courtesy of Faguo Wenhua

The Starup Prize went to Wang Xian (second from left). His translation of “Retour à Reims” by Didier Eribon is published by Shanghai Culture Publishing House / Post Wave Publishing House.

Dong Qiang, author, translator and professor of French literature, has been promoting and participating in the Fu Lei Prize program for years. Entering its 13th year, the program has encouraged the translation and publication of French classical and contemporary works into Chinese.

“Many teachers at (Peking) University complain about the lack of appreciation for translation in China. But the Fu Lei Prize is an encouragement. That is why we have decided to continue giving the prize despite the difficulties encountered in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ”said Dong.

According to Dong, the book has always been an important medium for cultural exchanges between China and France.

In recent years, China has become France’s leading partner in the global publishing industry.

The Starup Award was launched in 2013 and encourages young translators. In addition, the 2019 program regulations require that the titles submitted to the jury have been published within the last year.

“Of the translators who registered for this year’s Fu Lei Prize, almost half were born in the 1990s, the youngest being only 28 years old, which means there are young people following in Fu Lei’s footsteps, ”Dong said.

Dong says that compared to previous years, there were more books in the humanities and social sciences than in literature.

“We are aiming for a comprehensive map of France for Chinese readers, covering all aspects of life… arts and science, public affairs, politics and history,” said Dong.

Translators win the Fu Lei Prize

Courtesy of Faguo Wenhua

The books of this year’s Fu Lei Prize nominees are on display at Duoyun Books on the 52nd floor of the Shanghai Tower.

Author Sun Ganlu, guest of honor at the awards ceremony, pointed out that most of the translated books are up to date, “one can therefore observe the changes in French intellectual and literary circles today and areas of concern “.

Yan Bo, deputy director of Pudong New Area, congratulated the translators and editors on behalf of the parents of Zhoupu, where Fu Lei, also known in Europe as Fou Lei, spent most of his teenage years before to study literature and art. history in Paris at the age of 20. He died at the age of 58 in Shanghai.

Yan also thanked the translators for their efforts in passing on the torch of the spirit of Fu Lei, which “serves as an inspiration to all of us – in his devotion to art, his unwavering perfectionism and his faith in humanity. “.

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