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The first Chinese winner of 'Aurora Borealis' Prize: Translation changes the world

On the afternoon of August 2nd, during the member's assembly of the 20th World Conference of the Federation of International Translators (FIT), FIT conferred The "Aurora Borealis" Prize on Xu Yuanchong, a Chinese translator. This international award is hosted every three years. Xu is the first Chinese winner of the award.



Unable to attend the ceremony, Xu, 93, expressed his appreciation through a letter written in English. Oblivious to the glorious award ceremony, Xu was enclosed in a small room at Peking University, busy translating four great tragedies by Shakespeare."I spend more than two months translating one book. I plan to finish the complete works of Shakespeare in five years." says Xu. A reader can see how painstakingly Xu applies himself to Shakespeare's texts by reading his translations.


"I think this version is better than Zhu Shenghao's because I am three times older than him which means I am more experienced," Xu laughed. Zhu Shenghao was the one who translated the most works of Shakespeare.


In 2013 Xu translated poetry by Wang Wei, Li Bai, Du Fu, and Bai Juyi, all well-known Chinese poets of the Tang Dynasty. In the same year, The Collection of Xu Yuanchong's Translations, consisting of 27 books, including English and French, was published.


In the address of the Outstanding Translation of Literature, the committee of the FIT said: "We need effective communication in these international circumstances. Professor Xu Yuanchong dedicates himself to facilitating communication between Chinese, English and French."


"The habits of thinking are different between Chinese and Westerners, but translation can break down barriers," says Xu.


Extensive Reading:


The "Aurora Borealis" Prize sponsored by Norwegian Association of Literary Translators, one of the highest awards in the international translation field, is awarded to translators who promote development of literary translation and make a significant contribution to international cultural communication.


Xu Yuanchong is the first Asian scholar to win the prize since its establishment in 1999.


Xu Yuanchong is one of very few Chinese who can translate poetry effectively. Some translation experts regard him as "a monument to classical translation of the second half of the twentieth Century".



Reported by: Liu Wenjia

Source: Guangming Daily

Edited by: Arthars