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SISU Professor Zhong Yi: Telling Good Chinese Stories as a Translator

By VIVIAN YANYILING WANGICHONGQING|Dec 03,2021

Chongqing- “The spirit of the sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) confirmed my belief as a translator, where we should tell good Chinese stories,” said Zhong Yi, professor of Translation Studies in College of Translation and Interpreting of Sichuan International Studies University (SISU).

Zhong Yi, professor of Translation Studies in College of Translation and Interpreting of Sichuan International Studies University (SISU). (Photo provided to iChongqing)

The world’s perception of China can be shaped by Chinese narrative and behaviors. Enabling a greater diversity of China’s voices to be heard and promoting cultural exchanges among countries play a key in the summary of cultural construction at the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC.

Bridging China with the rest of the world

When talking about translators, Zhong said many people would compare them to ferrymen between Chinese and foreign cultures, who normally complete a great sociocultural journey from one language to another.

“I think I should be not only a ferryman but also a bridge engineer,” said Zhong. “My job is to train more qualified translators and researchers, where group efforts are needed in building a solid bridge in communication between Chinese culture and other cultures, more efficiently and effectively.”

Connecting China with the rest of the world, Zhong believes that to make China’s international communication more targeted and timely, enhancing its appeal, and strengthening the international influence of Chinese discourse are crucial.

“If we, as translators, have any advantages,” said Zhong. “I think the advantages are that we are not only bilingual, but also we can understand the cultural differences between China and the western world better.” Zhong thinks cultural awareness, identity, and subsequent appropriation are all needed to help target‐language readers infer associations and relationships in translations.

Through comprehending cultural diversity with an open mind, strengthening the construction of the foreign narrative system, using innovative ways to tell stories to the world, and enhancing the affinity of cultural communication, this will make the image of contemporary China more appealing, gaining more understanding and support from the world.

“Besides, another thing about translators is that we’re more sensitive to the changes that are happening in both outside and inside China,” said Zhong. 

According to Zhong, translators often keep themselves updated about current news and hot topics around the world, this will help them to interpret international issues and world trends with multicultural perspectives, and form a narrative style with Chinese characteristics, elucidate the Chinese spirit and showcase the Chinese way of doing things.

Zhong Yi delivered a speech at the graduation ceremony. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Chongqing to strengthen cultural and literary exchanges

China is willing to conduct friendly exchanges and engage in dialogue with other countries on an equal footing. Thus, gaining the initiative in international communication requires an active engagement in different levels and formats of discussions.

“In my own opinion, we should also translate some materials which are closer to ordinary people’s lives, including their love stories, taste for music, and etc.,” said Zhong. “This will enhance the multilevel dialogue of civilization where people can have a better understanding of China.” 

Zhong told us that her students had experience translating Chinese TV series, including A Beautiful Daughter-in-law Era and Soldiers Sortie. Their translated work will be broadcast in Africa because those African people are interested in Chinese TV series.

Zhong also believes, Chongqing is a special city that integrates distinctive Bayu culture, with a full potential having its historical and interesting stories and materials to be spread around. 

“I think TV series and movies are good ways to show our city’s culture more vividly,” said Zhong.

“For example, we can choose the old city Chongqing or the disappearing Shangqing Temple in the literary area,” said Zhong. “So that the outside world can know something about the local characteristics and culture.”

Night views of Chongqing up to the mountain. (iChongqing/ Vivian Yan)

(Shi Jiaqi, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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