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The Bard's sonnets find another chance in China

Updated: 2016-04-27 16:28
By Mei Jia (chinadaily.com.cn)

The Bard's sonnets find another chance in China

The book cover of Ye Xiumin's translation work Across 400 Years to Read You [Photo provided to China Daily]

"There have been few successful Chinese translations in the past century," Zhang says.

"The dozen or so existing Chinese interpretations were mostly done by academics (instead of poets), whose literal translations were rather faithful to the meaning and format of the originals. The problem is it lacks the poetic mood and aesthetic elegance, the very features that make poetry popular and memorable."

Zhang sees Ye's translations more successful because she adopted the approach of paraphrasing translations.

"Her work captured the key features of the original sonnets – the theme of beautiful and undying love, the elegance of the language and the sentimental and the enchanting mood/atmosphere created."

Ye's book first tested the waters through social media platforms. She received very positive feedback on Wechat, so was encouraged to present a book to a broader readership.

It seems that Ye knows the magic of language and style well. For every sonnet, she offers her translation, and also an essay recording her thoughts and ideas in between translations.

Her translations feature a smart mixture of modern Chinese with scattered expressions from the ancient poems. Her essay, also a combination of vernacular Chinese with some of the popular phrases created from the online community, spread among her friends and beyond.

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