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Call for more Chinese shows to be translated

Updated: 2016-01-22 09:40:30

( China Daily Africa )

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Demand for Chinese movies and TV programs is keeping translators busy as cultural year kicks off with top-level visit

Chinese experts in Egypt are being called on to translate more Chinese movies and TV series into Arabic as interest in the Middle Kingdom spikes on the eve of President Xi Jinping's state visit to the country from Jan 20 to 22.

The visit also will see the start of a year of cultural exchanges between the countries, boosting interest even higher.

Cultural exchanges will mark the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the nations. The opening ceremony, with top performances from both sides, will be held in Luxor, Egypt. There will also be other cultural activities, including tourism promotion, food carnivals and cultural relic exhibitions, during the year.

"I hope the culture year will help boost the long-term development of cultural exchanges and friendship," Ahmed Rezk, Egyptian ambassador to China, told Xinhua News Agency.

Rehab Mahmoud, director of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Cairo University and also dean of its Confucius Institute, says she welcomes the initiative.

"Although Egyptians are very interested in China, they don't know much about the country. Meanwhile, Chinese don't know much about Egypt, either, except for tourism. The year of cultural exchanges can be highly significant for both nations," she says.

Mahmoud says Cairo University would hold a number of activities to contribute to the year of cultural exchange, including Chinese competitions, 10 seminars, a sports workshop and a Chinese movies week, from February to the end of 2016.

However, Mahmoud says none of these activities can be compared with Chinese movies or TV series to be broadcast in Egypt since they "can reach a much larger number of people than seminars or other activities that involve only 200 people or so".

"They can cover a much wider area and it's a much quicker means (to spread culture)," she says.

The Chinese movies and TV series translated into Arabic include the 40-episode television series We Love You, Mr Jin, also known as Jin Tai Lang's Happy Life, which features a story of a reporter who is a native Beijinger and his non-Beijinger wife, which was translated and broadcast in 2013. A Beautiful Daughter-in-Law Era, a 36-episode light comedy about a modern Chinese couple, was translated and broadcast in 2014.

"There aren't enough movies or TV series translated into Arabic. And for those translated, they fail to sufficiently show the real Chinese society," Mahmoud says.

She is in favor of a special committee consisting of members from both China and Arabic countries like Egypt to choose which movies or TV series to translate.

Omayma Ghanem, a Chinese professor from Ain Shams University, says there should be more programs on China on both radio and TV.

"China is such a large country and has had such big achievements in economic development. However, Egyptians have limited knowledge about China and there are limited programs to show to Egyptians," Ghanem says.

She says improving that will require the will of both countries. "Although it is not easy, there is a lot of opportunity."

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