The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures held the first award presentation ceremony for National Taiwan University Literary Translation Award on October 21st this year. Famous guests, who are also influential scholars, were invited to give speech for this important event: Ryan Roberts, the chair of the America Culture Center at AIT, Dr. William Vocke, the executive of the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange, Professor Lo Ching-Hua, the vice president at NTU, Professor Chen Joshui, the dean of arts at NTU.
National Taiwan University Literary Translation Award is sponsored by the American foundation, J&V 2000, and this NTU award gives honors to those who can promote and elaborate the profound beauty of classical Chinese literature and its English translations. The award is opened for translators who are capable of translating classical Chinese poems into English, and the applicants are from all works of life, including college students overseas. National Taiwan University established the award in the hope of promoting the beauty and the philosophy of literary translation, making classical Chinese literature available and understandable for the whole world. The Literary Translation Award is meant to encourage English translations of the classical Chinese poetry.
The committee of the National Taiwan University Literary Translation Award is organized by experts and scholars, including NTU professors, in this academic field. This year, the judges of this contest for the first National Taiwan University Literary Translation Award were all famous scholars in the area of translation study: Honorary Professor, Yu Kuang-Chung, of National Sun Yat-Sen University, Professor Liang Shin-Rong, chair of the Foreign Languages and Literature of National Taiwan University and Professor Kao Tien-En also of the same department of the same university and of LTTC (The Language Training and Testing Center).
Professor Yu pointed out that the English translations of classical Chinese poetry required the very comprehension of both English and Chinese. To translate classical Chinese poems into English, the translators must have a deep understanding of the source language, Chinese, and a strong command of the target language, English. Though the cross cultures challenge the translators a lot, translation and the tasks of translators are just like the art of compromise in marriage and politics. “That is why translation, like politics and marriage, is an art of compromise, which applies to literature, especially to poetry.” Professor Yu noted.
The Department of Foreign Languages and literature launched this translation award and thus appealed 270 applicants around the worlds. The tasks of translating classical Chinese poems challenged the translators so that even the judge, Professor Yu, found it difficult to interpret the poetry translation too. One of finalists in the college students’ category, Luo Yun-Ting, agrees the difficulties doing the translation, especially the interpretation of classical Chinese poetry, when it comes to the cross-culture challenges.
The contest had two categories: general public and college students. The three judges decided to leave a vacancy for the first prize in either category because they anticipate a better future for more and more people working on poetry translation. Fewer can understand an original poem that is not written in their native language, and therefore poetry translation is a necessary evil. Even so, the winners’ pieces of poetry translation presented the translators’ profound command of languages and literary knowledge, which took the three judges a while to decide on the list of the award recipients. The applicants were supposed to pick one from five pieces of the qi-jue (a genre that requires seven words per line and four lines per poem) and one from five pieces of the qi-lu (a genre that requires seven words per line and eight lines per poem). Professor Yu concluded that the translation of classical Chinese poetry is an art of compromise and negotiation to work on languages, poetic picturesque and its original contexts.
While making the opening speech at the award presentation ceremony, Professor Liang, chair of Foreign Languages and Literature Department of National Taiwan University, stated that NTU held this contest with the great awards for the very first time because the graduates in the foreign languages and literatures department have always been admiring and appreciating the beauty of classical literature. Due to less and less young people are appealed to the beauty of classical Chinese literature, which youngsters can definitely benefit a lot to foster and develop personality, the graduate set up this literary translation award to promote the interest of classical literature, making it a stronger appeal to young people. The vice president of National Taiwan University agrees that the launch of this translation award has made NTU the top university by clearly stating the strong determination into the areas of humanities and social studies.
Ryan Roberts, the chair of the American Culture Center at AIT, stated that he’s proud of the 21 applicants from the USA. It has made a significant influence when it comes to promoting the culture interactions and exchanges between Taiwan and America.
The first National Taiwan University Literary Translation Awards just brought to an end with quite an attention. Read all the winners’ pieces of work here on the Ancient Chinese Poetry website:
For those who are interested in literary translation, all are welcomed for the second NTU Literary Translation Awards with submissions accepted until February 29, 2012. For more information, please read the website of the NTU Literary Translation Awards established by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
The list of the award winners:
The first prize winner in the college students’ category: vacant
The second prize in winner in the college students’ category: Rosenbaum, Nicholas Sam Noronha of Chinese Language and Literature Department of Yale University and also of ICLP of National Taiwan University
The third prize winner in the college students’ category: Chen Yu-Hong of Graduate Institute of Clinical Pharmacy of National Taiwan University
The finalists in the college students’ category: Luo Yun-Ting of Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation of National Taiwan Normal University, Lin Wen-Pei of Foreign Languages and Literature Department of National Taiwan University, Wu Rui-Bin of Graduate Institute of Foreign Languages and Literature of National Sun Yat-Sen University, Mei Jia-Hsuan of Foreign Languages and Literature Department of Asia University, and Chan You-Lin also of Foreign Languages and Literature of Asia University
The first prize winner in the general public category: vacant
The second prize winner in the general public category: Wu Min-Hua in Taiwan
The third prize winner in the general public category: Wei Jia in Mainland China
The finalists in the general public category: Lai Shu-Fang in Taiwan and Lee Wen-Zhao in North America