Xu Yuanchong (Chinese: 許淵冲),( born April 18, 1921 in Jiangxi, China) is a translator of Chinese ancient poets into English and French. Xu took foreign language studies at Tsinghua University after he studied abroad. And after that, he became a professor in English and French.
His translation style is characterized by favouring domesticating translation. Xu introduced the Creation for Loss and the three beauties-concept to translation theory: the idea that a translation should be as beautiful as the original in three ways:
- semantically (the -deeper- meaning)
- phonologically (the style like rhyme and rhythm)
- logically (amongst others: length)
According to Gao, "he advocates that the versions of poems should combine visual and aural beauties together, and they should reproduce the fusion of pictorial composition and musical arrangement."
Xu Yuanchong was born in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province. His mother, who was well educated and good at painting, had great impact on Xu in his pursue of beauty and aesthetic feeling. His uncle Xiong Shiyi was a translator, who translated the play "Wang Baochuan" into English, which put on in the UK and caused a hit, and then Xiong was invited by the British dramatist George Bernard Shaw. Xiong's achievement made Xu have a strong interest in learning English. When he studied in the best local school Provincial Nanchang II, his English had been outstanding. And in 1938 with excellent grades, Xu was admitted to the National Southwest Associated University, Department of Foreign Languages. In 1939, as a freshman, he translated Lin Huiyin's poem "Do not throw away" into English, which was published in the "Literary Translation News": Xu's first translation.
His 30 Poetries were selected as teaching materials by foreign universities. After reading his English translation "Selected Poems of Li Bai" (1987), Qian Zhongshu said: If you live in the same age with Li Bai, you'll become good friends. The British Press, "Romance of The Western Bower", which is thought as great as "Romeo and Juliet" in terms of artistic and attractiveness. British publishing company Penguin has published Xu Yuanchong's "300 China's immortal poems" (1994), which is launched in Britain, USA, Canada, Australia and other countries. That's the first time that the publishing company publishes a Chinese translation. Apart from translating the classical Chinese poetry into foreign languages, Xu Yuanchong also translated many of the British and French classics into Chinese. In his seventies, he was still involved in translating Proust's masterpiece, "Remembrance of Things Past" (1990) and translated Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" (1992), Stendhal's "Red" (1993). At the age of 78 years old, Xu also published a voluminous long masterpiece, the translation of Romain Rolland's "John Kristof" (1999). Xu was awarded the "Lifetime achievements in translation" from the Translators Association of China (TAC) in 2010.
- My Most Beloved: Tang & Song Verses
- Selected Poems and Pictures of Song Dynasty
- Laws Divine and Human and Pictures of Deities
- Gems of Classical Chinese Poetry
- Romance of The Western Bower
- Selected Poems of Li Bai
- Selected Poems of Su Shi
- Zhang Zhi-zhong (2005). "A Close Study on the Revision of Poetry Translation by Prof. Xu Yuanchong". Journal of Southwest Jiaotong University (Social Sciences) (4). Retrieved 21 December 2011. abstract
- "Xu Yuanchong". China Book International. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- Wenfen Yang. "Brief Study on Domestication and Foreignization in Translation". Journal of Language Teaching and Research 1 (1): 77. doi:10.4304/jltr.1.1.77-80. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- Wang Feng-xia (2008). "The Representation of Cultural Genes in Poetry Translation—A Case Study of Excursion on Eastern Fields Cheerless by Xu Yuanchong". Journal of Xihua University(Philosophy & Social Sciences (2). Retrieved 21 December 2011. (abstract)
- Chan Sin-wai (2009). A Chrolonology of Translation in CHINA and in the WEST from the legendary period to 2004. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press. p. 216.
- Dai Kai-hong (2006). "Translation of Poetry Approached by the Principle of"Beauty"—A Review of X.Y.Z.'s Translation of Grief beyond Belief". Journal of Huaihai Institute of Technology (Social Sciences Edition). abstract
- Lei Gao (January 2010). "\He advocates that the versions of poems should combine visual and aural beauties together, and they should reproduce the fusion of pictorial composition and musical arrangement.". Journal of Language Teaching and Research 1 (1): 84–89. doi:10.4304/jltr.1.1.84-89.
- name of the website
- Chen Meng (translation) (20 May 2010). "Lifetime Achievement in Translation". EveryChina.com. Retrieved 21 December 2011.