On December 6, 2017, the "CCTSS Greek Language Expert Committee" held the establishment meeting in Beijing. Jiang Haoshu, director of the Communication Division, Bureau of External Relations, Ministry of Culture; and Liu Meijiang, cultural officer of the Western Europe Division, Bureau of External Relations, Ministry of Culture spoke at the meeting. Other experts and scholars attended the meeting, including Han Jihai, CCTSS consultant and former vice-president of the Central Compilation & Translation Bureau; Elena Avramidou, associate professor of history at Peking University; Luo Tong, famous director and producer, Greek translator ; Qian Yingchao, lecturer of Greek language at School of European Languages and Culture, Beijing Foreign Studies University; Cao Xiuyuan, intermediate Greek translator at China Radio International; and Ge Rui from Greek Language Department, Western Europe and Latin America Broadcasting Center, China Radio International. Setting out from their own areas of research, the experts proposed valuable advice on Chinese-Greek translation and cooperation, working methods of the Committee and the compilation of CCTSS Blue Book on Resources and Demands of Chinese Culture in Foreign Countries.
Director Jiang Haoshu first reiterated CCTSS's mission statement and goals, and gave overall briefings on the progress of and planning for major projects. Ms. Jiang expressed her hopes that the Committee could help China and Greece establish a regular, long-term, cultural exchange platform which could cultivate translation specialists to undertake translation of literary and cinematic works of the two countries. Director Jiang Haoshu stated that, currently, there are few Greek language specialists in China. Ms. Jiang hopes that in the future they will receive more support, and welcomed universities, academic organizations, and publishers both within China and abroad to join the Committee to advance cultural exchange and translation between China and other countries.
Ms. Liu Meijiang gave a detailed explanation of the current progress of cultural exchange between China and Greece. There is no doubt of either China's or Greece's status as one of the ancient civilizations of the world, and it is now a splendid time for cultural exchange between the two countries. Greece has responded especially well to Chairman Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative. The two countries have reached common understanding and expressed intentions to cooperate in theatre, music, culture, and literature. Many China-Greek cultural exchange projects are rolling out.
Elena Avramidou pointed out that whether or not translation between Chinese and Greek should be carried out directly or via a third language – such as English – depends on the specific circumstance and difficulty of the translation. She proposed a mentorship system whereby more experienced translators would enhance younger translators' linguistic and cultural understanding abilities through seminars, training courses, and other methods, thereby developing more young translators to take on translation work. Elena expressed her hopes that the people of China and Greece could be brought closer together through the power of culture, thus truly linking them together. Elena also relied on her personal experience to bring up the issues that many translated works lack the funding to be published, and that many published worked lack effective publicity and promotional channels.
Ms. Ge Rui spoke on Chinese and Greek cultural dissemination. She said that China and Greece have had friendly relations since ancient times, and that the two countries share many commonalities. Ms. Ge recommended that mutual translation between China and Greece should focus on the two countries' similarities as civilizations in order to play up what makes them interesting. Many people from other countries have outdated impressions of China, and efforts must be made to show the real modern China to them. This is where modern and recent works of literature are crucial. Additionally, Ms. Ge advised optimizing promotional methods and discovering ways of avoiding too directly spreading values when translating. She stressed the critical importance of respecting differences between China and other countries in cultural exchange.
Ms. Cao Xiuyuan mentioned that in China most Greek translations are limited to the classics. She went on to say that some of Greece's modern literature is fascinating, and that it may attract more of China's youth than the relatively serious classics. Ms. Cao stated that the Greek people are intensely interested in China and want to understand China better. As a translator hoping to enhance Chinese-Greek cultural exchange, Cao Xiuyuan expressed her desire to collaborate with other Greek language specialists and scholars through the CCTSS platform. Ms. Cao hopes that in-depth communication can help resolve problems that one encounters in translating, thus promoting Chinese-Greek translation and cultural exchange.
Ms. Qian Yingchao believes that selecting the right works is of utmost importance in Chinese-Greek translation. Ms. Qian noted that although cultural exchange between China and Greece is currently robust, the people of both countries are primarily familiar with each other's ancient cultures. Ms. Qian hopes that CCTSS could be used as a platform to select and translate positive, outstanding modern literary works that reflect the historical and cultural heritage of both countries. Doing so would show the modern society, economics, culture, and people of China and Greece to the people of both nations. Ms. Qian also suggested improving translators' proficiency and the quality of translated works by holding regular symposiums on special topics.
Ms. Luo Tong stated that Chinese-Greek translation helps the people of both countries understand each other's cultures better. Ms. Luo stressed that aside from translating literature, translating film, television, and theatre could utilize broader avenues of cultural exchange and dissemination. Ms. Luo also recommended spreading culture in more extensive ways, such as online and offline events that help popularize Greek culture. This will help viewers understand cultural works on a deeper level, thus further promoting Chinese and Greek translations and progressing translation between both languages.
Mr. Han Jihai, on behalf of CCTSS, expressed thanks to all attendees and presented Committee members with honorary certificates. Mr. Han expressed his hopes that attendees would participate in and support CCTSS's translation projects and, in doing so, collaboratively spread Chinese culture and the Chinese spirit, tell the story of China, and bring China closer to the international community, thus making contributions to the establishment of China as a strong cultural power.
The Greek Language Expert Committee aims to better service major projects like the "Modern Chinese Translation Program", strengthen the selection of special topics for Chinese-Greek translation, provide a platform for communication and collaborative practice between Chinese and Greek specialists, promote excellent cultural works, and link the hearts of Chinese and Greek readers. The meeting laid a solid foundation for learning between China and Greece and connecting the countries' people. The meeting did much to help promote Chinese culture to the world.
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