Some of the other winners

By Mei Jia ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-09-14 07:57:44

Some of the other winners

From left to right: Georgian Sinologist Marine Jibladze, South Korean translator Kim Tae-Sung and Latvian bilingual-dictionary compiler Peteris Pildegovics are among the winners of the Special Book Award of China for their contributions in telling Chinese stories to the world. Photos Provided to China Daily

South Korean translator Kim Tae-Sung, one of the 19 recipients of the 10th Special Book Award of China, who was recently honored at the Great Hall of the People, says he was a rebel at university when he started learning Chinese.

And it was only when he was pursuing his master's courses later that he finally understood the power of Chinese literature and began translating it.

Then, thanks to the geographical proximity of his country with China, he began to visit frequently to meet the writers whose works he was translating and introducing to readers in South Korea, he says.

Kim has translated the books of Nobel winner Mo Yan and Tie Ning among the more than 100 works he has translated.

The award Kim won was set up by then General Administration of Press and Publication in 2005 for foreign writers, translators or publishers who made contributions in popularizing Chinese books, or promoting cultural exchanges between China and the world.

This year's winners also included five awardees who were given the Youth Award, a category which was introduced last year.

Georgian Sinologist Marine Jibladze, who speaks Mandarin like a native Chinese TV news anchor, won an award in the youth category.

Revealing how he became so proficient in Mandarin, Jibladze says: "I spent a lot of time practicing the tone of speaking during my first year in China."

Jibladze, who manages the Confucius Institute in Georgia, says China's Belt and Road Initiative has led to more exchanges between officials and businesspeople from both countries.

Justifying her decision to focus on the language, she says: "I decided to learn Chinese for I could see a bright future for mutual exchanges."

Meanwhile tracing the history of the awards, Zhao Haiyun, deputy director of the Department of Import Administration at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, says: "As of this year, a total of 88 translators, sinologists, writers and publishers have been honored for their contributions in telling Chinese stories to the world. They include Howard Goldblatt, Ezra Vogel and Beijing-based publisher Jo Lusby.

"But we are still expanding our range and source of recommendations to look at more countries for candidates," says Zhao.

At the award ceremony, Minister of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, Cai Fuchao, says China has publishing links with more than 190 countries, 50 of which have established mutual translation projects with China.

Speaking about the awardees, Cai says: "These experts have made outstanding contributions to cultural exchanges ... and we look forward to their continued contribution to people-to-people links between China and their countries."

Among the other winners is Latvian Peteris Pildegovics.

Pildegovics, who has spent 50 years teaching Chinese in Latvia, and has compiled the only Chinese-Latvian dictionary, says his interest in China started in 1949 when his father showed him a magazine about a new country: China.

"I feel a bond with this country. It's my second home," he says.

Making a joke that he is not a retired cadre who plays mahjong to kill time, Pildegovics, 78, says: "I'd like to go on and do what I can for Chinese-language teaching in Latvia and for the Sino-Latvian friendship."

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