Culture\Cultural Exchange

Publishing house offers Eastern wisdom to Arabic speakers

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-05 06:42

 A publishing company based in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region in Northwest China is excited about taking Chinese culture to Arabic speakers.

"We have a long list of books waiting to be translated into Arabic, and orders are growing. It (the business) is just the tip of the iceberg," says Zhang Shirong, manager of House of Wisdom.

More than 700 titles, covering subjects ranging from Chinese celebrities and culture to economics, literature and philosophy, have been translated into Arabic and published since the company was established in 2011 by two Chinese and an Egyptian entrepreneur.

The company's publications now account for 80 percent of the Chinese-Arabic translation market.

"Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, our sales jumped to 10 million yuan ($1.45 million) in 2014 from 3 million yuan of the previous year," says Zhang, adding they have had 100-200 percent sales growth in recent years.

"Arabic speakers who want to do business in China are eager to learn about its policies, reforms and development patterns," says Ahmed Al-Saeed, the Egyptian partner.

"We publish a new book almost every week.

"Many of these new releases were translated two years ago and our translation and publication schedule is full through to 2021."

Arabic readers are also devouring autobiographies by Chinese entrepreneurs like Robin Li, Jack Ma, Pony Ma and Ren Zhengfei.

At the Cairo International Book Fair earlier this year, books about the Belt and Road Initiative were popular.

The translation team consists of 51 Sinologists from Arabic-speaking countries.

According to Ma Yongliang, an Arabic professor at Ningxia University and partner in the company, translators with knowledge of China are better at translating books into their mother tongue.

However, he says that a Chinese editor is always on hand to assist the translator.

Book publication accounts for less than half of the company's business, which also includes e-books, movies and TV shows besides comics.

"We are also translating Chinese films and television programs into Arabic, and expanding to offer content in Persian, Thai, Turkish and Kazakh, to spread Chinese culture to more countries along the Belt and Road," Zhang says.

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