Arabic versions of Chinese books gain popularity
Translation is improving the reception of Chinese literature in the Arab world, says Fahmy Hassanien, a professor of Chinese language in Ain Shams University.
"The reception of 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," Hassanien said during a videoconference symposium held at the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo in August under the theme of Arab-Chinese literary translation and exchange.
Translating Chinese literature has been promoted in the second decade of the 21st century, Hassanien says, highlighting many national translation and publication centers and book fairs in Arab countries.
"Thanks to these centers and fairs, readers of the translated Chinese literature are tremendously increasing every day," he adds, explaining that the Arab people are also eager to learn more about Chinese history and culture.
Hassanien, the translator of Red Sorghum Clan by Chinese Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan, says the Egyptian Cultural Ministry has published 50 literary, philosophic, theater and poetic Chinese works in the past 10 years.
He adds that in light of the increase in cultural exchanges between China and Arab countries, more Chinese language departments have been opened in Arab universities.
Fu Zhiming, associate dean of the School of Foreign Languages at Peking University, says the translation between Chinese and Arabic had really started in the second half of the past century.
Fu, who's also a professor of the Department of Arabic Language and Culture, says the translation from Arabic to Chinese began with the individual efforts of some Chinese translators who translated the Quran and other Arabic books.
Later on, the translation turned to institutional work of many Arabic studies departments that were established in several Chinese universities, Fu adds.
Yahya Mokhtar, a translator of Chinese language, says Chinese books translated into Arabic have gained strong momentum.
He says the Chinese government supports the translation movement.
Despite its huge progress in all domains, China still believes it needs to learn from others' experience, he adds.