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Renowned literary translator dies at 94

(Global Times)

08:36, September 13, 2012

(File Photo)

(File photo)

Renowned Chinese translator Zheng Yonghui died Sunday morning, September 9, of illness.

Zheng was born in Haiphong, Vietnam in 1918, but his hometown was Zhongshan, South China's Guangdong Province.

He graduated from the Law School of Shanghai Aurora University at the age of 24. He then worked as an assistant professor at his alma mater.

Zheng later taught French at the Institute of International Relations in Beijing. His teaching career ended when he was in his 80s, after seeing off his last postgraduate student.

Zheng was respected as a professor and also for his remarkable achievements in literary translations, especially of French works.

Publishing his first translation in 1933, Zheng Yonghui worked on many of the world's most famous masterpieces. His signature translation include Nana by Zolaesque, Quatre-Vingt-Treize by Hugo, and Salammbo by Flaubert.

He also marked the translation mistakes found in Merimee's Colomba, translated by renowned Chinese translator Fu Lei (1908-66).

It was confirmed that there were over 50 mistakes in the translated version of Fu, including misinterpretations and clerical errors.

"We found mistakes when reading Colomba, but we never marked them down the way Zheng did," translator Yu Zhongxian said.

Zheng was awarded the Translation Fellowship of France's Ministry of Culture in 1987 and took home the Lu Xun Literary Prize along with the Honorary Award of National Outstanding Literary Translation in 1998.

"Zheng may be the translator who boasted the largest number of readers, due to the amount of translations he did," French literature expert Liu Mingjiu said.

"His children were not in Beijing with him, and his wife died several months ago. He was too old to recognize people, even to talk with them," Zheng's colleague Chen Xiaoqing said. The two have worked together for over 50 years.

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