On August 2rd, 2014, renowned Chinese translator Professor Xu Yuanchong from the School of Journalism and Communication of Peking University was awarded the FIT “Aurora Borealis” Prize for Outstanding Translation of Fiction Literature by the International Federation of Translators (FIT) at the FIT World Congress. Xu was the first Asian translator to be awarded the prize since its establishment in 1999.
The Aurora Borealis Prize for Outstanding Translation of Fiction Literature is established by the International Federation of Translators. It was designed to promote the translation of fiction literature, improve the quality thereof and draw attention to the role of translators in bringing the peoples of the world closer together in terms of culture. The prize is awarded to one translator once every three years.
“In an international environment in need of effective communication, Professor Xu Yuanchong has devoted his career to building bridges among Chinese-, English- and French-speaking peoples. He has translated Chinese literature extensively into English and French, as well as having translated major works from Western languages into Chinese.” the jury said in the prize announcement.
The jury also took into consideration the number of readers of English and French around the world who might be reached by Professor Xu Yuanchong’s translations, as well as those who might read his translations in Chinese from English and French.
Head of the delegation of the Translators Association of China (TAC) Wang Gangyi, who was present at the award ceremony, said that Xu was worthy of the prize. He said that Xu is a role model of the older generation of Chinese translators, and has devoted his life to literary translation. Xu has made significant contributions to the promotion of China’s communications with the world.
The 93-year-old Xu did not attend the awarding ceremony due to health reasons. However, he said in a written statement, “I feel deeply honored to be the first Chinese translator to receive this award. I take this not only as recognition of my personal work in translation, but also more interest in Chinese literature. I have always taken great pleasure from translating Chinese, English and French literature. And I’m still translating at the age of 93. I simply love it.”
Professor Xu has dedicated decades to literary translation, with over 120 Chinese, English and French translation works published worldwide, including the Book of Odes, Songs of Chu, Three Hundred Tang Poems, Selected Poems of the Song Dynasty, Romance of the Western Chamber, Le Rouge et le Noir, Madame Bovary etc. In 2010, he received the TAC’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Translation. He is now working on translating the Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
By Zhao Jiayin