Spotlight: Translation improves Arab access to Chinese literature

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by Marwa Yahya

CAIRO, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Translation helps improve the reception of the Chinese literature in the Arab world, Fahmy Hassanien, professor of Chinese language in Ain Shams University, said.

"The reception of the Chinese literature in the Arab world has obviously improved since the 1990s, with the growing number of specialized university graduates in the field of translating the international comparative literature," said Hassanien during a video conference symposium held at the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo on Friday under the theme of Arab-Chinese Literary Translation and Exchange.

Translating the Chinese literature has been promoted in the second decade of the 21st century, Hassanien said, highlighting many national translation and publication centers and book fairs in the Arab countries have been designated for the Chinese translated literature.

"Thanks to these centers and fairs, the readers of the translated Chinese literature are tremendously increasing every day," he added, explaining that the Arab people are also eager to learn more about Chinese history and culture.

Hassanien, the translator of "Red Sorghum Clan" for the Chinese Nobel prize winner Mo Yan, said in the past ten years, the Egyptian Cultural Ministry has published 50 literary, philosophic, theatre and poetic Chinese works.

He added that in light of the increase in cultural exchange between China and Arab countries, more Chinese language departments have been opened in Arab universities.

Meanwhile, Fu Zhiming, associate dean of School of Foreign Languages Peking University, said the translation between Chinese and Arabic has really started in the second half of the past century.

Fu, also professor of the Department of Arabic Language and Culture, said that the translation from Arabic to Chinese began with individual efforts of some Chinese translators who translated the Qur'an and other Arabic books.

Later on, the translation has turned to institutional work of many Arabic studies departments that were established in several Chinese universities, Fu pointed out.

Yahya Mokhtar, a translator of the Chinese language, said that "the exchange of Arab-Chinese translated books witnessed a big momentum."

He added that the Chinese government supports strongly the translation movement, noting that "China despite its huge progress in all domains, still believes it needs to learn from and benefit of the others' experience." Enditem

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