Founding a Paper Republic

English.news.cn   2010-09-28 09:06:52 FeedbackPrintRSS

Translator Eric Abrahamsen

BEIJING, Sept. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- American translator Eric Abrahamsen is not only on the lookout for new Chinese writers, but also bridging the gaps between Chinese and foreign publishers to bring the contemporary literature of China to the world.

Abrahamsen's love for literature is the driving force behind Paper Republic, a publishing consultancy which aims to connect Chinese and foreign publishers, something that proves to be more complicated than his love for literature and language.

"I'm splitting my brain a little bit," he said, smiling. "One half just is the literature I think is valuable. The other half is what publishers need, what market potential there is and how Chinese and foreign publishers can cooperate."

"If you don't think about this then you can't convince anyone to accept [your translations]."

Abrahamsen came to Beijing to study Chinese in 2001. Though he had no intention of becoming a translator at that time, his long-term interest in Chinese literature eventually drew him to translate well-known Chinese writer Wang Xiaobo's popular collection of essays, My Spiritual Home.

Since then, Abrahamsen has worked as a teacher, editor, and freelance journalist. In 2007, he started his website Paper Republic with several native English speakers and translators to become a "full-time freelance translator".

"In the beginning we didn't have any big plans. We just thought it would be fun if we had a website. After about a year we realized people outside of China were checking it out," said Abrahamsen, whose work includes published translations of renowned Chinese writers Su Tong and Yu Hua in newspapers and magazines.

Though he has been offered jobs by Chinese publishing houses in the past, he feels foreign publishers have a better understanding of promoting abroad.

"Only they know how to promote a book in their own market," he explained.

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Editor: Lu Hui
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