Iljaz Spahiu

现任阿中文化协会会长,曾翻译过《红高粱》《中国历史十五讲》等书。2016 年, 协助中国驻阿尔巴尼亚大使馆翻译《一带一路》阿文画册,实现“一带一路”图书首次在阿落地。


How did your career as a Chinese translator begin?


I’d like to say a few more words on this. After I graduated from high school in 1974, I was assigned by the government to study the Chinese language in China. To be honest, I was horrified by the news, because Chinese was like Greek to me. It’s too difficult to learn, in particular the Chinese characters. At that time, I could never imagine that someday I would be able to translate Chinese books, not to mention Chinese literature. After I finished my study in China, I had no contact with any Chinese for nearly 15 years due to diplomatic reasons, but I never stopped following news about China or reading the Chinese books I brought home and occasionallyI would listen to Chinese radio programs too. It’s not until the 1990s when our diplomatic ties were restored to normal did I have the chance to really use the Chinese language and start my career as a Chinese interpreter/translator. At that time, my job was mainly about interpretation. I interpreted for many high-level government delegations and occasionally translated some speeches or articles.

这个问题我想多解释一下。我是1974年高中毕业后被分配到中国留学,学习汉语专业。说实话,当时我得到这个消息时,瞬息间产生了一种恐惧感,觉得中文太陌生,太难学,特别是汉字。当时我连想都不敢想会翻译中国图书,尤其是文学作品。虽然毕业后,因为我们两国关系出了问题 ,我将近15年没有接触中国人,但是还是努力用各种方式跟踪中国所发生的变化,重温所带来的中文图书,和偶尔也听听中文广播。只有90年后,两国关系回复正常后,可以说我真正开始使用中文,也开始从事翻译工作,但主要是口头翻译,给许多高级政府代表团当翻译,有时候也翻译简短的发言稿或一些文章。

In 2002, I was hired by the Albanian embassy in China and after my contract ended in 2006 I stayed in Beijing until 2013. During the 11 years, Iwitnessed and experienced in person the dramatic changes to and development mode of China, and for the first time had the chance to immerse in the Chinese culture, literature, philosophy, traditions, lifestyle and thinking. But I never ventured the idea of translating Chinese books. In fact, it’s not until Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in literature did Ilight the spark of translating Chinese literature– it’s the catalyst driving me onto thewonderful yet tough journey of translation. Shortly after Mo Yan was declared the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, I got a phone call from Mr. Hudhri, the head of Onufri Publishing House in Albania, who asked me whether I would like to translate some novel by Mo Yan. A veteran in the publishing industry, Mr. Hudhri knew very well the importance of directly translating Chinese literature into Albanian. But I gave him a firm “no”:“Thank you, but I have no such a plan.”I knew that in addition to language competency, the biggest difficulty was to overcome cultural barriers and differences in thinking.


Nonetheless, I went to a bookstore the next day, bought some of Mo Yan’s books and started readingandweighingthe possibility of translating one of them. At last, I decided to challenge myself and chose Frogfrom the pile of books I had read. Of course, I received a lot of encouragement from outstandingtranslators like Zhen Enbo, a successfultranslator who had translated many Albanian literary works into Chinese.

尽管如此,第二天我去了书店了,好不容易买到了莫言的几本书并开始翻阅。然而我边翻阅边思考翻译某本书的可能性。 最后我还是决定考验自己,看了几本书以后选择翻译《蛙》。当然我还受到了曾经成功翻译了几步阿尔巴尼亚文学作品的中国阿文翻译镇恩波,等朋友和优秀翻译家的鼓励。到那个时候,我曾翻译许许多多的政治,经济,新闻,等方面的资料, 曾多次当过高级代表团的翻译,甚至出版了一部阿忠日程用于词典。但是在翻译《蛙》的时候我体会到了无比的快乐, 一种完全不同的凯旋感觉,就像爬山运动员爬到最高峰一样。

By then, I had translated many political, economic and news materials and interpreted for many high-level government delegations. I had even published an Albanian-Chinese dictionary of words and expressions for everyday use. The translation of Frog gave me immense joy, a feeling of triumph I never felt before –I was like a mountaineer who had just reached the summit. From that on, I could better appreciate and enjoy the artistic beauty and richness of the Chinese language while translating other Chinese literary works. So Iovercame the first challenge I encountered on my journey of translating Chinese books. The success of the Albanian version of Frog, the first Chinese contemporary novel translated into Albanian, was beyond my imagination – it was highly spoken of by literary critics and press and popular among ordinary readers. Later I translated another novel by Mo Yan - Red Sorghum Clan– and The 15 Lectures on the Chinese History and have just finished the translation of Li Yining’sEconomic Reform and Development: The Chinese Way. Translating Chinese books has become the biggest fun and source of accomplishment for me.




What do you learn from your translation experience? Anything impressive about it?


Translation itself is fun, but requires hard work and bears heavy responsibilities. It will show you the huge differences and great similarities between different cultures. I know very well that except for language competency and expression skills, the biggest challenge for a translator is to overcome cultural barriers and differences in thinking. Every book you translate will teach you more about this country, increase your love for it, and make you more Chinese. I can truly feel it.

翻译工作本身就很有意思,但同时也很艰苦,责任重大的工作。 在翻译过程中你会发现 不同文化差异如此巨大,又如此接近。我很清楚除了语言功底的深厚,语言水平和表达能力以外,最关键的是您能否克服文化和思维差异的障碍。你翻译的每本书都会增加你对这个国家各方面的认识,也增加对这个国家的爱,使你更中国化, 更“中国通”。这应该是我最大的体会。

What’s more, unlike interpretation, while translating a book, you must keep learning, increase your knowledge, observe patiently, analyze and study carefully because the book might cover topics in various fields, from literature to politics, from ancient culture to modern science. I also want to stress that I have received support and encouragement from my Chinese friends and relevant government organs throughout my translation. For example, while I was translating Frog, I once contacted Mo Yan in person to discuss the copyright issue. He was glad to learn that his novel was about to be translated into Albanian and asked his daughter Guan Xiaoxiao to help me with the copyright issue. When the translation was done, I visited his home and he encouraged him again to translate more of his novels and the works written by other Chinese writers.

另外,与口头翻译不同, 图书翻译要求你不断学习,扩大自己的知识,耐心观察,仔细分析研究, 因为翻译工作要涉及到不同领域,从文学到政治,从古代文化到科学题材。同时我想强调, 我的翻译工作自始至终受到了我的中国朋友和有关政府机关的支持和鼓励。 比如,我翻译《蛙》的时候, 我为了版权问题,曾亲自联系了莫言。他很高兴自己的书要翻成阿文并立即委托自己的女儿管笑笑帮我处理此事。 后来书翻完后,他在自己家里接待我并再次鼓励我继续翻译他的书和其他中国作家的文学作品。



What opportunities do you think the Belt and Road Initiatives would bring to the communication between China and Albania ?


Cultural exchange is like a bridge connecting people in different countries. I believe that its role shall not be ignored in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative which will bring China and the rest of the world closer, not just economically and politically but also culturally. I’m proud to say that the Albanian-Chinese Cultural Association, since its foundation in 2013, has done a terrific job in promoting our bilateral cultural exchange, in particular in promoting Chinese culture in Albania. Of course, all of this would not be possible without the generous support of the Chinese embassy in Albania. Since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed, we have organized a series of seminars, cultural and artistic activities, teenager exchange activities and media interviews. Through cultural exchange and tourism, the rest of the world will increase their understanding about and be readier to embrace the Chinese culture, paving the way and creating a harmonious environment for the unfolding of the Belt and Road Initiative.


What Chinese literature do people from Albania expect to read?


First of all, I want to say that despite our extraordinary diplomatic relations in history and our frequent contacts in culture, arts, sports, people-to-people exchange and in the movie industry, it has been a regret that Albanian readers have little access to Chinese books and lack knowledge about Chinese literature, in particular contemporary Chinese literature, and vice versa.

首先我想强调一点,虽然阿尔巴尼亚和中国有关一段非一般的有关好关系的历史,文化,艺术,体育,人文,电影等方面交流频繁,却遗憾的是图书翻译出版方面的交流一直是空白点,阿尔巴尼亚读者很少或者几乎根本接触不到中国的图书, 缺乏对各自国家文学作品,尤其是当代文学作品的了解。

We Albanians are book lovers. When the Albanian version of Frog came out, it received huge attention and praises from local readers and press. It was even voted as one of the three best translated works of 2013 by the Albanian Ministry of Culture. I’m sure that Albanian readers are hungry for more Chinese books, including contemporary literary works, books about ancient Chinese history, culture, traditions and philosophy, and books about today’s China – her development mode, lifestyle and values, etc. Remember that it’s only been years since the Chinese government initiated the program to introduce Chinese books to overseas readers. We translators and sinologists have the obligation to work harder with Chinese scholars to introduce as many outstanding Chinese books to non-Chinese readers as possible and give Chinese writers and publishers the status they deserve in the global publishing market, a status that matches China’s economic and political prowess in the world.

阿尔巴尼亚人爱看书, 所以《蛙》出版的时候,受到了当地读者和媒体的极大关注和好评。这部小说甚至被文化部评委2013年三部最佳译著之一。我可以肯定阿尔巴尼亚人渴望看到更多的中国图书,包括现当代文学作品,介绍中国古老文明历史,传统习惯,哲学思想以及中国现今发展模式,生活价值观等方面的图书。不要忘记,中国图书走出去,与外国读者接触,时间不长,所以我们翻译家和汉学家有义务与国内学者一道加倍努力把尽量多优秀作品带给外国读者以便中国图书在世界丰富多彩的图书文化宝库占据应有的地位, 使之与中国在国际上的经济和政治影响力想适应。

Please share your joy of winning the award with us.


It’s my great honor and pleasure to receive the Special Book Award of China. It’s an honor of lifetime. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chinese government for their recognition. I also want to thank the Chinese embassy in Albania, in particular Ambassador Jiang, for their support for the Albanian-Chinese Cultural Association. For me, the award is an encouragement and along with it comes the duty to continue to devote myself to translation, promoting cultural exchange between Albania and China, and introducing the Chinese civilization, one of the four great ancient civilizations in the world, to Albanian readers.

我获得中国图书特殊贡献奖,感到非常荣幸,也非常幸福。这一荣誉是我一生的大事。借此机会我感谢中国政府对我的高度评价 和对我所做的工作的肯定。同时我想感谢中国驻阿尔巴尼亚大使馆,特别是姜大使对我本人和我们阿中文化协会的一贯支持。我把这一特殊贡献奖看作是一种鼓励,也看作是一种责任, 要求我全力以赴,继续专心致力于翻译工作和促进两国人文交流,把世界四大文明之一,中国文明介绍给阿尔巴尼亚读者和民众。


记者:许惟一 编辑:李翔宇