Found in translation

By Mei Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-04 08:52

Found in translation

Chinese scholar Dong Qiang is selected as a tenured correspondent in the general section of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in Paris. [Photo provided to China Daily]

He was introduced by the literary giant as someone whose spoken French was awesome.

Dong still remembers how difficult it was to apply to study under Kundera. He succeeded because then he had just published an article on comparative study in French.

During the lectures, they discussed Kundera's essays on The Art of the Novel. Later Kundera entrusted the translation of the book to Dong for a Chinese version.

Dong also translated the Olympic Manifesto and The Dictionary of Paintings into Chinese and The Analects of Confucius into French.

He says he became labeled as a "French translator" and "French literature expert", but the honor from the academy now helps him to work and explore a broader spectrum without being categorized.

Delphine Halgand, a culture official from the French embassy in China, says her colleagues have worked closely with Dong and were not surprised when he became the first Chinese correspondent.

"He has tirelessly served Sino-French cultural collaboration and has helped to bridge the gap between the two countries," Halgand says.

Dong was born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in 1967. At age 16, he enrolled in Peking University, majoring in French.

After graduation, he went to France and stayed for 12 "really hardworking" years.

Besides earning a doctorate from the University of Paris VIII, he held exhibitions, helped establish China Blue Press and gave lectures on Chinese culture.

"Many of my fellow students from China switched to business, but I stuck with literature and culture," Dong says.

"I happened to find ways to support myself, and I just couldn't let go easily. I was there to understand and study France and its culture. How could I give up without mastering it as much as possible?"

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