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American-born translator bestowed Lifetime Achievement Award in China
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Sidney Shapiro, American-born translator of Chinese literary works
Sidney Shapiro, American-born translator of Chinese literary works

Sidney Shapiro, an American-born translator of Chinese literary works, received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Translation by the Translators Association of China (TAC) here Thursday.

Shapiro, three weeks shy of 95, won the award for his outstanding work of helping people overseas learn about China's past and present.

He became the first laureate born outside China.

Four other renowned Chinese translators and scholars were also awarded with the same TAC award at a ceremony held in Beijing.

Shapiro was born in New York on Dec. 23, 1915. While serving in the U.S. army during World War II he was selected to learn Chinese in preparation for a possible American landing in Japanese-occupied China. After leaving the army, he continued the study of Chinese language, culture and history.

Shapiro first came to China in 1947 and was granted Chinese citizenship in 1963.

After the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, Shapiro devoted himself to translating Chinese literary works and gained a reputation due to his English translation of the Chinese classic "Outlaws of the Marsh."

He worked as an expert in the Foreign Languages Publishing and Distribution Administration, rounding off the English versions of modern Chinese literary works such as "The Family" and "The Immense Forest and Snowfield."

Due to his failing health, Shapiro did not attend the ceremony but was visited by TAC officials at his home after the event.

Living in a traditional Beijing-style courtyard near Shichahai, a lake in the Chinese capital's downtown , Shapiro told Xinhua that translation was an important way to let the world know about China.

"Translators like us have the responsibility to let the world know that China has the richest tradition of virtue," he said.

The TAC first granted the Lifetime Achievement Award in Translation in 2006 as the highest honor conferred to living translators who have outstanding academic achievements and widespread recognition.

(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2010)

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