a question and a vagrant writer

February 8th, 2009

Just how do you translate book titles? And the titles in question don’t strike me as being those of books that would have been translated into English…. Oh well, I guess there’s always google and baidu and all that lot and probably fruitless search results.

What prompts this question? The vagrant writer. 新京报/The Beijing News has what’s little more than a piece of fluff by by Han Meng about a chronically ill writer who’s spent the last 16 years roaming the countryside gathering materials for books. Two have been published, one’s about to be published, and now he’s off to collect material for more writing in the drought-stricken areas of provinces like Hebei, Henan, and Anhui.

And yes, based on the itty little bit of information in Han’s article, part of me envies him his lifestyle. Apart from the illness, naturally.

Anyway:

流浪”作家赴旱区农村取材

Vagrant” writer goes to drought zone villages to collect material

身患“软癌”16年来走访全国200多个农村,已出版两本农民读本

Suffering “soft cancer” travels around over 200 villages across the country for 16 years, already published two farmer’s readers

昨日,48岁的“流浪”作家戴忠金从东直门医院出院,接下来将赴河北、河南、安徽等旱区农村,收集写作素材。在过去16年里,患“软癌”(再生障碍性贫血和溶血性贫血)的戴忠金走访了10多个省市200多个农村,目前已出版两本农民读本。

Yesterday, 48-year old “vagrant” writer Dai Zhongjin checked out of Dongzhimen Hospital and will now head to drought-stricken villages in Hebei, Henan and Anhui to collect material for his writing. Over the past 16 years, the sufferer of “soft cancer” (aplastic anaemia and haemolytic anaemia) Dai Zhongjin has visited over 200 villages in more than 10 provinces and municipalities. To date he has published two farmers’ readers.

戴忠金出生在江苏盱眙县一个农民家庭。他告诉记者,自1992年患病后,他在单位办理了病退手续,开始走访全国各地农村收集写作素材。过去16年里,他走访了10多个省市200多个农村,目前已出版了《新农村新农民读本》和《参选村干部必读》各20万字的农民读本。

Dai Zhongjin was born to a farming family in Xuyi County, Jiangsu. He told your correspondent that when he fell ill in 1992, he went through the formalities of early retirement due to health problems and began to travel around villages across the country collecting material to write about. Over the last 16 years he has visited over 200 villages in more than 10 provincs and municipalities, and to date has published two farmers’ readers of 200 thousand characters each,  New Countryside and New Farmers’ Reader and Essential Reading for Village Officials Standing in Elections.

[uh, yeah, that translating book titles thing. Help?]

由于患“软癌”,多年来戴忠金一直在东直门医院进行治疗。他说,今年1月23日,他从医院办理出院手续后,赶赴河北、河南、安徽等省市多个农村,了解农民们的耕种情况,“多数农户反映,因干旱,估计今年庄稼收成不是很好。”

Because he suffers from “soft cancer”, for several years Dai Zhongjin has been receiving treatment at Dongzhimen Hospital. He said that on January 23 this year, he went through the process of checking out of the hospital and quickly went to several villages in provinces like Hebei, Henan and Anhui to get to know the situation farmers face in cultivation. “Many farming families said that because of drought, this year’s harvest probably won’t be so good.”

1月31日,戴忠金因病复发回京。昨日,结束治疗的他再次从东直门医院出院,乘车离京赴河北旱区。

On January 31, because of his illness, Dai Zhongjin returned to Beijing. Yesterday, when his treatment was finished, he once again checked out of Dongzhimen Hospital and took a bus out of Beijing to the drought-stricken area in Hebei.

戴忠金表示,目前他正在修改即将出版的第三本农村读物《新农村新干部读本》,他将在书中花较大篇幅来介绍遇上干旱、洪涝等自然灾害时的应对方法,为村干部支招。

Dai Zhongjin said that at present he was revising his third farmers’ reader, New Countryside and New Cadres’ Reader, which will soon be published. He will devote more space to advising cadres on methods of responding to natural disasters such as drought and floods.

Yet another rough-as-guts translation. Corrections and constructive advice are, as always, welcome.

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