In my line of checking parallel texts (English to Chinese translations and back-translations) I came across Fu Weici’s (傅惟慈) translation of Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing’s short story, The Other Woman (另为那个女人）.
I’ve only had a quick glance, but what a breath of fresh air. Once I’ve gone deeper into it I might reassess, but so far his translation is accurate (unusual in English to Chinese translations), beautiful and does justice to Lessing.
So congrats to Fu Weici and congrats to Zhejiang Literature & Art Publishing (浙江文艺出版社). And congrats to a thoughtful article about Doris soon after she died.
While researching Fu Weici, who also translated George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, I came across more evidence of the unfortunate side of the English to Chinese translation industry. Fraud translations of Nobel Literature, and not very bright either.
Summary from danwei.org link:
The first to uncover doubts about this “诺贝尔文学奖文集” (Collection of the Nobel Prize for Literature), 时代文艺出版社 (Time Literature and Art Press, 2006) was Chen Yuanhuan of Nanjing University Library.
In creating a library record, Chen noticed the 26 volumes had only one translator – “Li Si et al.” and the managing editor was also a single individual, Chen Chen.
Chen Yuanhuan randomly pulled the Buddenbrooks volume and browsed through it. He found it plagiarised the Fu Weici translation published in 1962 by People’s Literature Publishing House. For example, a comparison of page 256 of Li Si’s translation and pages 436-437 of Fu Weici’s 傅惟慈 translation shows only five differences, and these are completely inconsequential, like ‘城里’ changed to ‘城中’ [both ‘in the city’], or ‘一八六五年’ changed to ‘1865年’. Some places were even changed incorrectly, like a third-person pronoun ‘him’ changed to ‘it’ – so pathetic it’s comical.
Likewise in The Forsythe Saga, pages 23-24 in Li Si are similar to pages 44-45 in the Zhou Xuliang translation published in 1978 by Shanghai Translation Publishing House; but by page 111 of Li Si’s translation, the similarities are to page 155 of Wang Fang’s 1997 translation, published by Jilin University Press.”
end of summary
And here’s a Chinese link to the same story.
So Time Literature and Art Press (时代文艺出版社) founded in 1984 and directly under Jilin Publishing Refco Group joins the list of shame.