“Translator Sophy Chen: To Promote Chinese Poetry Internationalization
By English Education”
Published by Chinese “Culture Monthly”
Written by Chinese Poet Dazang
Translator Sophy Chen: To Promote Chinese Poetry Internationalization by English Education
By Chinese Poet Dazang
目前在大陆以外，苏菲诗歌&翻译网和英语诗人苏菲在国际诗歌社区的影响力日渐彰显。印度圣乔治大学MuteMelodist学术艺术网和《澳门月刊》全文刊发了对苏菲诗歌&翻译网和翻译家苏菲的整体介绍，前者的网站首页还做了链接，苏菲陆续收到不少来自国际诗歌团体和着名诗刊、诗人的约稿函，如苏菲的英语诗歌《面对恐怖主义，诗歌是一无是处的是处》就曾入选POETRY AGAINST TERROR《反恐诗歌》2016意大利全球诗歌选本。同时，以苏菲诗歌翻译网和翻译家苏菲为纽带，目前已整合了国外包括韩语、阿拉伯语、孟加拉语、意大利语、法语等多语种诗歌翻译家，准备一起翻译（或转译）、推介更多中国诗人的优秀作品。
“Translator Sophy Chen: To Promote Chinese Poetry Internationalization
By English Education”
Published by Chinese “Cultural Monthly”
Written by Chinese Poet Dazang
Abstract: Art & Life Section, (semimonthly, June 2016), “Cultural Monthly”, directed by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, published a long article written by Chinese poet Dazang “Translator Sophy Chen: To Promote Chinese Poetry Internationalization by English Education”. Firstly, with the point of view of a culture observer, it reviewed the periodic process of poetry translation, and international poetry spread of Chinese poetry translator Sophy (Sophy Chen), it focused, quoted and expounded her concepts and ideas on Chinese poetry translation and poetry propagation, and it recalled her personal growth process from love foreign languages to a bilingual poetess and a bilingual poetry translator; combined with the current status of Chinese poetry collection’s translation, publication and circulation in the international arena, Sophy Chen, as a translator from her personal services in Chinese poetry, literary and artistic works’ international translation and promotion, made a practical and ambitious idea to promote Chinese poetry internationalization by English education.
“Translator Sophy Chen: To Promote Chinese Poetry Internationalization by English Education” published by Chinese “Cultural Monthly”
The article of Poet Dazang, mainly described Sophy Chen’s legendary history and translation dreams from the following five aspects:
Firstly, Sophy Chen: A “Black Horse” Soaring out of Chinese Poetry Translation Profession
Secondly, the Initial Attempts of Integration of Poetry Translation and Promotion
Thirdly, Chinese Poetry “Going out”: We Can Not Just Rely on Foreign Translators!
Fourthly, From Love Foreign Languages to Be a Bilingual Poetess and Bilingual Poetry Translator
Fifthly, English Education Industrialization Boosting Chinese Poetry Internationalization
Keywords: Sophy, translator, Chinese poetry, poetry translation, dissemination, promotion, internationalization, English education, industrialization
By the continuing voice of “going out” in Chinese literary circles, more and more Chinese poets gradually have not been satisfied with publishing their poetry anthologies in Chinese version, to exchange their ideas in Chinese poetry circles, because they want to be the international poets, wish to publish their own poetry anthologies abroad, and have some opportunities to communicate with foreign poets. Naturally, the poetry translation of these Chinese poets has become an urgent and important issue. So far, the translation work of Chinese poetry in main land of China is in the ascendant, however the professional translators in this profession are very few. — the C-E or E-C bilingual poetess, Sophy Chen, is a “wonderful flower” in the Chinese poetry translation field.
Sophy Chen: A “Black Horse” Soaring out of Chinese Poetry Translation Profession
In Chinese literary circles, many poetesses have aroused a lot of people’s attention, such as Shu Ting in 1980s, and Yu Xiuhua soared popularly last year, and etc. However they’ve written poetry in Chinese language, so we Chinese people rarely heard that a Chinese person has written poetry in English language and specialized in C-E or E-C Poetry Translation. The poetess, Sophy Chen, is such a unique poetess and poetry translator.
In May 2013, the famous Chinese poet Dong Dangzi, got the poetry award “Poetry & People ? Poet Award” established by Guangdong poet Huang Lihai, the specially printed booklet of its prize presentation, such as its preface, awards words and prize words translated accurately by Sophy Chen which first aroused Guangdong poets and poetry critic’s attention. Sophy Chen first attracted media’s attention was the “Dushan Legend” of the First Guizhou Poetry Festival in which she was invited to attend as a translator in late 2013, at the same time, the Top Interview Column of the “Guizhou Nation Newspaper” (“National Literature” Weekly), reported of Sophy Chen’s poetry and her poetry translation in the full-page of its first page as the title “Sophy Chen: the Chinese Poetry Translation Into Foreign languages Is Seriously Lagging Behind. In 2014 Sophy Chen was invited to attend the “Phoenix Singing in Spring Hill”, the Fifth Guangzhou Poetess Readings, her standard, fluent BBC English and beautiful, mellow and full English recitation shocked the audience, which showed the different magnificent color of English poetry and its recitation from the Chinese Poetry, and which was quickly spread in the network, and where its amount of video playback was up to 60 million times in total (according to Baidu video statistics), only two video recitation in Cool 6. In August 2014, the Reading Section of Guangdong “Information Times” interviewed with Sophy Chen, in a full-page, by the title: “Sophy Chen: From the Poetry Readings to Going into the Poetry World”, which was reprinted more than 150 media in mainland and overseas, including the website of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the China News, Sina.com, Phoenix News, and Taiwan News, etc. She emerged in the mainland poetry translation academia and international poetry forum. In October 2014, she was invited to attend the Second Taiwan, Mainland, and Western Translation Theory / Criticism & “Translating China” Symposium, the National Translation Philosophy & the First Translation and Poetry Symposium, and the First (Baoan) China International Poetry Forum & Famous Poets’ Lectures, as well as the “Hong Kong International Poetry Night” held by poet Beidao, in 2015, etc. In December 2015, she was invited to serve as the jury of the first “DCC Cup” Global Chinese Poetry Contest and to participate in a series of its activities, and she also was invited to issue the awards live to mainland of China and overseas for the first time, through her founded communication platform “Sophy Poetry & Translation Website”, which the local Chinese culture media reprinted it in flocks and on the first day in this news page views reached more than 2,000 times.
Born at the southern foot of Qinling Mountains, and graduated from the English Department of Xi’an International Studies University, Sophy Chen now is the editor-in-chief of “Sophy Poetry & Translation Website”, the member of Chinese Translation Association, and the Researcher of International Poetry Translation & Research Centre, as well as the guest editor of Multilingual Version “World Poets” Quarterly which is the only one international poetry magazine published in mixed languages. In her free time after her college English teaching, on the one side she provides E-C or C-E translation poems for the magazine regularly, on the other side she focuses on translating poetry of Chinese poets who are willing to publish their poetry collections overseas. At the present, Sophy Chen has translated six Chinese poetry collections of Chinese poets into English, published them in Chinese-English version and has translated more than 100 well-known poets’ master pieces of China and other nations, and also was invited to translate and do the English proofreading of the whole book Chinese-English Reader “Chinese Modern Poetry 300 (1917-2012) and the translation correction of “World Poetry Yearbook 2013”, “World Poetry Yearbook 2014” in English version and so on.
The Initial Attempts of Integration of Poetry Translation and Promotion
Mo Yan won the Nobel Literature Prize, which opened a window to the world for Chinese people. However, for a long time, due to the communication barriers of Chinese and foreign languages, the Chinese official literary and poetry circles have not established the strong international exchange mechanisms and effective international communication channels, so the private international translation is more like the sporadic raindrops.
Sophy Chen has deeply experienced that translation must combine with dissemination and she has also deeply understood the confusion and anxiety of millions of Chinese writers and poets in the process of their works promotion and dissemination. In an effort to translate the excellent Chinese poetry and promote its internationalization, at the same time, commit to the translation, dissemination and exchange of the international outstanding poetry, Sophy Chen founded the first English-Chinese poetry translation website personally in China — “Sophy Poetry & Translation Website” (http://www.sophypoetry.com), and its Chinese version website was first on-line in October, 2014, and in March 2016 it was established a website by the revision in English, and English-Chinese version, which was truly transformed into China’s first personal sponsored international poetry translation website. At the present, its Google’s search has amounted to ten thousands of pieces, Baidu’s search thousands of pieces, its highest daily reading has reached more than 3,000 times, and a single article viewed cumulative amount has been up to nearly 5,000 times. It has been launched as the representative of Chinese and overseas’ well-known translators such as Danis Mair, Zhang Zhizhong and Zhang Zhi, and the representative of Chinese famous poets as Yangke, YISHA and Xiaoxiao. Sophy Chen spent a lot of time for its content editing, successively uploaded the translation works of famous Chinese and overseas’ poets, widely shared them by the international community of poetry, and also uploaded the translated works and her original English poetry to poetry portals around the world for communication and interaction, which have achieved remarkable effects.
Outside of main land of China at present, Sophy Poetry & Translation Website and English poetess Sophy Chen have grown their manifest influence in the international poetry community. MuteMelodist academic art website of St. George University of India and Macao Monthly have published the articles on Sophy Chen and Sophy Poetry & Translation Website in the full text, the former one also made links on its homepage, and Sophy Chen have gradually received many poetry contribution letters from some international organizations, well-known poetry magazines, and the poets, such as Sophy’s English poetry, Faced with Terrorism, Poetry Is Nothings’ Nothing had been selected into “POETRY AGAINST TERROR”, 2016 Italian global poetry anthology. Meanwhile, by the link of Sophy Poetry & Translation Website and translator Sophy Chen now have incorporated the mainland and abroad translators, including Korean, Arabic, Bengali, Italian, French and other multilingual poetry translators, which are ready to translate and recommend more outstanding works of Chinese poets.
All of this Sophy Chen did, that is just to have a useful attempt to the integration of translation and dissemination with a sense of responsibility and mission of Chinese poetry. For the huge number of overseas and Chinese poets’ groups and the millions of original poetry every day, this is the only a drop of water in the sea, the more focused, extensive and effective dissemination and translation of Chinese poetry are awaiting more Chinese poetry translators and international groups to involve.
Chinese Poetry “Going out”: We Can Not Just Rely on Foreign Translators!
For the Chinese Modern Poetry “going out”, Sophy Chen has her own understanding. For a long time, Chinese classical literature has been regarded as the essence of Chinese culture, and even Goethe, Germany, Pound, the United States, had turned their eyes to China, and at that time the poetry translation was the essence of classical literature. In the process of translation, a large number of advanced Western thoughts and literature, experienced the “May Fourth Movement” the Chinese Modern Poetry has been growing up slowly as a toddler; now going through a century of development, the outstanding Contemporary Modern Poetry, as the most mature literature part of China, has accumulated the rich implication of ideological content and its cultural radiation is limitless, so it is reasonable to promote it actively, and make the readers around the world timely enjoy the splendid Chinese contemporary poetry civilization.
“Now more and more foreigners also want to keep abreast of the Chinese culture, and the Chinese contemporary poetry, in addition to the fiction, is the most audience attractive global literary genre.” since “Chinese Literature Hot” following by Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize. So far, Chinese Poetry translation is seriously lagging behind. Although in recent years, the translation of
Chinese poetry into foreign languages is on the rise, by contrast of current trends of economic, social, cultural development of China and communication and exchanges of poetry, it is seriously lagging behind. Sophy Chen said that if the Chinese poetry wants to go out, the Chinese translators must establish confidence to translate Chinese poetry into English, and the Chinese translators should assume the task of poetry translation rather than only put hopes on foreign translators. She believes that Chinese poetry, literature and even culture first should be promoted and carried forward by Chinese people themselves. Only Chinese people can understand our own cultural the most thoroughly and translate it the most perfectly. She said that she had read a lot of famous foreign translators’ translation text, after making a comparison with its original Chinese text, she still picked out a lot of mistranslation and blemishes, so she believes that “foreign translators are not necessarily reliable!” Her words are so confident, simple and straightforward.
However, Sophy Chen is not a conceited person. She knows that even the best translator, whose defects and omissions are inevitable in their translation works, so after completing some translation documents, she will find some universities’ peers, and fellow translators to correct their mistakes, and she often can not eat anything for they can not find their defects.
From Love Foreign Languages to Be a Bilingual Poetess and Bilingual Poetry Translator
Generally, we believe that poetry can not be translated, because there are different cultural background and language habits between different languages. But Sophy Chen has told us by her own personal experience that Chinese and Western cultures, thoughts and habits of languages are beyond.
When most Chinese people heard that they need to learn a foreign language, they are immediately muddled in their mind, but Sophy Chen is totally different. “English is God’s language really, so beautiful!” She loves the foreign language that is completely because she has sincerely appreciated the charm of foreign languages and their cultural, which made her not escaped. Sophy Chen revealed that her “secret” to learn foreign languages is to forget her native language, Chinese, and to learn the foreign language completely as her “mother tongue”. In college, she had recited some beautiful English articles every day in the National Garden of Xi’an International Studies University, from the most fundamental English, “New Concept English” to novels, and to English poetry. Usually, from 6 am to class to be ready, in summer or winter vacation she’d been read to 12 am, and she’d never stopped to do so. To be able to speak English nicely and fluently as BBC, a piece of BBC English news, Sophy Chen often would imitate and repeat a thousand times.
During college she read a lot of English original works, she often regards herself as its original heroine, along with to be happy and to be sad, and she completely immersed herself in the English language sense, which gradually eliminated the exotic cultural barriers in her body. She also focused on reading a number of English poetry, such as poems of William Wordsworth, Shakespeare’s sonnets, Whitman’s poems, etc., she did not allow her friends say Chinese, even deliberately circumvent Chinese books and magazines. Being insisted on it for a few years, it made her a person who could directly think in English and write in English. In a moment of her inspiration or desperation, what came out of her mind often is English rather than Chinese.
Love is the best teacher, which gives Sophy Chen endless fun of life. She said that after she had learned a foreign language to a certain extent, when she was appreciating of an English work, or reading a beautiful poem, praising and enjoying the beautiful language, at the same time, it would erupt into a kind of strong urge to transform them into Chinese, and later when she read Chinese works or poetry, she also had such impulses. She started going on the road of poetry translation, it is purely because she enshrines natural, beauty of language and art of poetry in her heart.
In general, poetry translation is the most difficult style in all literature. If a translator is a poet, his translation quality is generally higher than the non poet translator. How to bridge the gap between the target language and translated language, Sophy Chen’s experience is that only you can write poetry, not so bad, can you translate poetry perfectly, otherwise it would be so difficult to grasp the language of poetry, of course — If you can simultaneously write by two languages, it would be better. Sophy Chen is a poetess who not only can translate poetry but also can write poetry. Relative to her Chinese poetry writing, she is good at English poetry writing.
When Sophy Chen started to contact with poetry at the first year of middle school, she was attracted by the charm of pure poetry, whatever the modern poetry or ancient poetry she would like to recite them by heart, and then she ignorantly wrote her first poem. Later in the university, because it was to learn English, when she often read English poetry or other works, she always was impressed by the beautiful sounds of English language and its indirect rhythm. Now, among her poems, most of them are English poetry. Sophy Chen spent a lot of time to study meter of English sonnets and haiku, and she finally created her own English sonnets with harmonious rhymes and English haiku with unlimited implication. Now she not only can summarize their differences from European and American classic English poetry to her own English poetry, but also she can compare her English poems to English poems of different times and different authors, “because now she wrote many similar style poems himself, with more profound experience.”
To compare with original poetry and poetry translation, what the most important in her mind is her original poetry, Sophy Chen believes that there is no original poetry, there is no poetry translation. Since learning a foreign language, she wrote Chinese poetry relatively less than English poetry, in recent years, she has created a lot of Chinese poetry, and gradually rediscovered her original feeling of Chinese poetry writing, which makes her poetry translation works E-C even more accurate and perfect; at the same time, she often tries to translate her own original English poetry into Chinese, and again to translate her original Chinese poetry into English, in the original creation and translation process of two languages, Sophy Chen has profoundly experienced the creation secrets of two languages and ??nuances between them.
English Education Industrialization Boosting Chinese Poetry Internationalization
As we all know that if the translated poetry collections had not been published and well sold in the book market, and only spread at websites, WeChat, and etc, they were probably the humble “Personal Action,” in the people’s eyes of official institutions and probably not only the “small trouble to make,” but also unable to give further international exchanges and cooperation to provide resources for reference template. Thus, after translated and published six Chinese poet’s poetry collections and some representatives of Chinese poets and international poets’ masterpieces, Sophy Chen naturally initiated her idea to translate the Chinese poets’ and international poets’ poetry collections to publish and promote them in the international book market. Only embarking on translation, publishing, distribution, and “integrated” line of communication integration, Chinese literary and poetry can really find a foothold in the international stage. For this, Sophy Chen has a deep understanding in the past few years to exchange of ideas with Chinese and foreign poets. At present, in mainland of China, apart from those most authoritative official poetry anthologies, the most famous academic group of contemporary poets, as Bei Dao, Haizi, Shu Ting, and a number of modern poets, as Xu Zhimo, and Dai Wangshu, another poets’ poetry collections and the poetry yearbooks, are almost entirely at their own expense or find sponsorship to publishing. In the face of poetry’s recession, and poetry’s ecological reality of being marginalized, a translator who has only relied on a few thousand Yuan for a living, wants to launch the English translation collections of Chinese poets or international poets’ Chinese anthologies, even the soliciting contributions and translation is not a problem, well the cost of publication is the biggest problem.
In addition to poetry translation, Sophy Chen’s another social character is an English teacher, she will go Universities to have her classes in leisure and finish her classes in leisure every week. She once taught hundreds of people’s IELTS, TOEFL, postgraduate’s English examination courses, and even the college entrance English examination courses, which made her students’ regain their English learning confidence, enhance their English learning ability, and improve their English score rapidly in the very short time and even help the students whose original entrance exams were 50s, near the college entrance English examination only 30 days, by Sophy Chen’s profound taught, those students’ score were easily broken 120 points in the college entrance English examination. Now her students of her IELTS and TOEFL classes have mostly graduated abroad. The largest evaluation of her students is: the most proud of learning English with Sophy Chen is to have established their own self-confidence in English learning, opened the door to the mystery of English language and had a profound impact on their life.
Originally, this could be considered as Sophy Chens’ better English teaching experience, but it had been halted up after her poetry translation. In addition to finish the English classes provided by her school, she no longer teaches other students. Because she felt that poetry translation was a highly challenging thing, she must try her best to do and could not be distracted. If not for her plan of “Chinese Contemporary Poetry Translation Yearbook” (tentative name) has been unable to raise funds to sponsor the publication, she may never think of her talent in English education and develop her teaching talent.
Now Sophy Chen’s dreams are she hopes she can build her English education brand by the advantage of her English teaching, and raise funds for Chinese poetry translation, international promotion and exchange, and give her hands to Chinese poetry internationalization. It is always good to have a dream, but the key is that we need the effective approaches, methods and steps to realize it. In this regard, Sophy Chen has her own grand vision between her joyous words full of longing feelings. Now, she is hoping to rely on her own personal brand influence among poets’ circles, literary circles, English circles, and entrepreneurs’ circles, and gradually build Sophy education brand and give different English courses for different needs of students by online live or one-to-one teaching or small classes. In the near future, Sophy Chen would like to establish her own network teaching platform, and start her own online live classroom; she would like to develop and compile her own education materials from the every beginning, the zero based English foundation to IELTS, TOEFL and graduate English and even poetry translation; she would like to open up Chinese literature and poetry publishing and distribution channels in oversea countries by the international exchange and cooperation, so that make every poet or writer who wants to publish her or his works to improve his international influence; at the same time she would like to create the Poetry Translation and Research Center to cultivate the Chinese poetry translation talents and specialized and international Chinese culture spreading talents, and eventually flourish the works of Chinese outstanding writers and poets internationalized.
Sophy Chen said that her wish is to make Sophy Education a public company as “New Oriental”. Let us sincerely wish all of her dreams can be true!
2016-05-12 Guangzhou, China
Translated by Sophy Chen 2016-06-25 Guangzhou, China
Sophy Chen on Open Class of IELTS & TOEFL
Sophy Chen & Poet Beidao
Sophy Chen,Egyptian Poet & Translator SayedGouda,& HongKong Poet Peter Liang
The Judges of"DCC Cup"Global Chinese Poetry Contest
Sophy Chen is Reciting Shakespeare English Sonnets in the Garden
The Body Forward
The Flower Swaying