Sarbottam Shrestha: China-Nepal Cultural Ambassador


作者:王富丽 徐冬皓


  Sarbottam Shrestha is a man with multiple occupations. Having graduated from the Wuhan University School of Medicine in 1995 with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Neurology, he is now a well-respected Neurologist. As President of the Arniko Society of Nepal, an alumni association of scholars and experts who have graduated from universities in China, he has made positive contribution to the China-Nepal cultural exchange. As a translator, he translated the 1986 TV show Journey to the West into Nepali. In 2016, with the support of the Chinese Embassy in Nepal, he and his colleagues in the Arniko Society of Nepal finished the translation and dubbing of the TV show and aired it on Nepalese television.

  Here is Mr. Shrestha’s interview with the CCTSS at the Shanghai Event of the 2017 Sino-Foreign Audiovisual Translation and Dubbing Workshop & Symposium.


On Occupations: I’m a Doctor and a Translator

  I am Sarbottam Shrestha from Nepal, a doctor and a neurologist. I am keen on literature, film & TV. These are my hobbies that I have had from long ago.

  Nepal is a small country located between China and India with a total population of around twenty-eight million. It has many ethnic groups. Half of the Nepalese population speaks Nepali, the official language. Despite our one thousand four hundred-odd-kilometer-long border, our two countries have long been kept apart by harsh geographical conditions. What’s more, there are few Chinese people in Nepal. All these factors have resulted in a lack of foundation for Chinese culture in Nepal, and that is exactly the main difficulty in promoting Chinese films and TV shows in Nepal.

  The Arniko Society of Nepal is a friendly alumni association of scholars and experts who have graduated from universities in China. As Nepalese with the experience of studying in China, we think it is our responsibility to do our part in promoting the China-Nepal cultural exchange through translating. Therefore, although we are not professional translators or dubbing staff, we are still working hard to help facilitate cultural exchanges between our two nations.

  Chinese films and TV shows in Nepal are still promoted through nonprofit events and cultural exchange programs due to lack of commercial projects. It takes time for cultural markets to mature. Therefore, before the market reaches its full maturity we must encourage all those who can translate literature, film & TV shows to do so.

  Nepali isn’t a language with a vast number of speakers. As far as I know, in other countries with a similar language situation, Chinese films and TV shows are also translated by nonprofit agencies such as the Confucius Institute. So we are not alone. We need to keep on pursuing this cause.


On Film & TV: Journey to the West is Popular among Nepalese

  We should translate Chinese Film & TV into Nepali through various channels and air them in Nepal.

  Unlike the cooperation we see frequently in other areas, there is still much room to explore in cooperation over the translation and dubbing of TV shows and films between China and Nepal. It is imperative to promote such cooperation mainly at the national level since NGOs are usually not financially strong enough to broadcast dubbed Chinese TV shows and movies on Nepalese television.

  Only two Chinese TV shows have been dubbed into Nepali up to now. One is Camphor Tree, dubbed over 10 years ago in a national project. I personally participated in the translation of this show. The other is the 1986, 25-episode, TV show Journey to the West, translated and dubbed by the Arniko Society of Nepal. Journey to the West is quite popular among the Nepalese because such a story about Buddhism resonates in a country with a Buddhist majority. What’s more, its leading character Xuanzang is also recorded in our history and known by a lot of intellectuals, and in this show, Liu Xiao Ling Tong plays the role of the Monkey King superbly with his impressive performance and Kung Fu. I am also looking forward to introducing more Chinese shows about martial arts, history and modern life to Nepalese audiences by translating and dubbing them into Nepali.

  After Journey to the West aired in Nepal, we held a Chinese Film Festival in our country. During the Festival, we exhibited some Chinese films that were either subtitled or dubbed into English in China. No Chinese director or actor was invited to the Festival. There wasn’t a single Chinese film dubbed into Nepali either.


On Literature: Planning to Translate more Chinese Literary Works

  Since the Chinese population in Nepal is very small, and our two countries have vastly different cultures from being in different cultural circles, few Chinese works of literature, film & TV have been translated into Nepali.

  After talking with translators from other countries, I have learned that many Chinese literary works have been translated into major languages, attracting regular readership overseas. But, this is unfortunately not the case in Nepal.

  To my knowledge, only half a dozen Chinese works have, ultimately, been translated into Nepali. The introduction of these works, though, date back to several decades ago, and they were not directly translated from Chinese into Nepali. All these factors leave Chinese literature unknown to ordinary Nepalese. If any Chinese novel were to be translated into Nepali, most Nepalese would consider it representative of Chinese literature without realizing that there are possibly countless Chinese literary works on hundreds of subjects written by tens of thousands of authors.

  Under circumstances such as these, I believe we’d better publish a book collecting literary works by different authors or several works of a single writer so as to provide Nepalese readers with an opportunity to get an overall understanding of Chinese literature.

  After Mr. Mo Yan became a Nobel laureate in literature, some Indian publishers translated his works into English and some Nepalese literature lovers started to read them. But, most Nepalese readers would prefer to read Nepalese versions. So, they could not read Mo Yan’s works, though they were fully aware of the existence of the English version.

  We already have a plan to introduce his works, though. We have contacted him and asked him to provide us with his works of more than one million Chinese characters, preferably excerpts from the diverse selection of his works.

  The collection of Mr. Mo Yan’s works will be the third book about Chinese literature we are going to publish, following my translation and publishing of When Hearts Leave the Bird’s Nest by poet Cao Jianxun from Wuhan and a collection of essays by over ten Wuhan writers called “The River of No Return,” to be published at the end of this August or beginning of this September. When talking with authors about introducing their works, we will touch upon the issue of copyright, and will only choose works whose copyright is held by the author.




  审校:Sam Bowden