German version of 'Three-Body Problem' expected next fall

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"If everything goes smooth, I think the German version of The Three-Body Problem could come out next fall," says German sinologist Martina Hasse.

Martina U. Hasse, German translator and sinologist. [Photo provided to]

Having met Liu Cixin – author of The Three-Body Problem - at a dinner in Beijing last Friday, Hasse says the translation project of the book is just about to start.

"Heyne Publishing House signed the translation contract with Liu, and asked if I would like to translate The Three-Body Problem. I said yes. So we met on Friday. And I think I would start right away when I get back to Germany," says Hasse.

According to Hasse, she enjoyed talking to Liu and his friends a lot, and that Liu is a very easy-going and modest person.

"Knowing that I've translated several of Mo Yan's books, he joked that his works are not something profound, and they would not be as hard to translate as those of Mo Yan's. But you know with the physics and all, it can't be easy."

As a sinologist who's very into Chinese literature, Hasse has translated the works of many Chinese writers, including those of Mo Yan and Lung ying-tai. She said although never translated any sci-fic books, she's confident she could do it well.

"My daughter is a physicist, my mother is a chemist and my father is an engineer. So if I have anything that I don't understand I can consult them. I can also phone the army for information I need to."

Hasse said that her translated version of the book would be different from the English version, which cuts some parts of the novel to cater to the English readers.

"The German version would stick to the original work, in content and in the style of language. The world he created in his books are fantastic. I mean, it combines the reality, but it is never the reality. So I think it would be better not to change a thing about it."

Hasse said that Liu is currently working on a new book, and that Liu said he's quite interested in the army system. "I promised to take him to the German military museum when he came to Germany next time, hope I can see him soon in Germany."

The Three-Body Problem is the first book of the sci-fi trilogy Santi, written by Chinese author Liu Cixin. The English version of The Three-Body Problem won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. This is the first time a Chinese sci-fic novel is to be translated to German.

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