The "Resident Translators Program" featuring four professional translators from East Asia and Europe will kick off on Feb. 5 in Taiwan as part of the National Museum of Taiwan Literature's efforts to drum up support for translations of Taiwan literature and promote the nation's literary wealth. Their translated works span across several generations of Taiwanese writers, including award-winning novelist Wu Ming-yi (吳明益) and the late Tainan intellectual Yeh Shih-tao (葉石濤).
The four translators — Pavlína Krámská from the Czech Republic, Lim Daegeun from South Korea, Sawai Noriyuki from Japan, and Gwennaël Gaffric from France — will participate in three public events, with the first being translator-to-author talks at the Taipei International Book Exhibition on Feb. 8 and 9, giving exhibition-goers a glimpse into the mindscape of both the authors and their partner translators.
Taiwan's nature-oriented literature has long been an area of focus for Czech researcher Krámská, who teamed up with illustrator Tomáš Řízek to launch Mi:Lù Publishing and provide their European country with a taste of written works from sub-tropical Taiwan. Her works include the Czech editions of Wu's "The Man with the Compound Eyes (複眼人)" and maritime author Liao Hung-chi's (廖鴻基) "Fisherman (討海人)."
Currently a professor with South Korea's Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Lim's expertise spans from Mandarin films to pop culture. He is the co-author of "Taiwan Literature Studies in South Korea" and the Korean translator for "Ginger Road: A Collection of Badai's Short Stories (薑路：巴代短篇小說集)."
Professor Noriyuki's research field covers contemporary Chinese and Taiwanese literature. His works include the Japanese editions of Yeh's "Guide to the History of Taiwanese Literature (台灣文學史綱)" and acclaimed novelist Chung Chao-cheng's (鍾肇政) "Rising Waves (怒濤)."
As chief editor of the "Taiwan Fiction" series released by French publishing house L'Asiathèque, Gaffric has translated Wu's "The Man with the Compound Eyes" as well as "Membrane (膜)" by Chi Ta-wei (紀大偉), a leading writer in Taiwanese queer literature, into French.
On Feb. 20, the translators will be at the Tainan-based National Museum of Taiwan Literature for a lecture on the oversea foothold of Taiwanese literature. At the three-hour event, the four will also shed light on how international markets, foreign readers, and the translators themselves perceive Taiwanese literature, especially from their respective European and East Asian backgrounds.
The last public event — a two-day workshop on the translation of Taiwanese literature — will kick off on March 1 at Taipei's Howard Civil Service International House. It will be open to translators, foreign students studying Mandarin in Taiwan, and students pursuing a master's degree in translation.
Apart from examining the existing subsidy policies for translation work and the current applications of translation tools, the workshop will delve into how to foster the exchange of ideas among independent and established translators and cultivate their understanding of Taiwanese literature.
During their residency, the four translators will meet with writers, literary scholars, and publishing professionals. Aside from indoor events, the four will also visit real-life sites and scenes that appear in Taiwanese literature in a unique chance to see the text written by local authors come to life before their eyes.
The Taipei International Book Exhibition, one of the most important book fairs in Asia, is set to run from Feb. 4 through 9 at Hall 1 of the Taipei World Trade Center.