The organizing committee has chosen thirty contemporary Chinese short stories from famous Chinese authors such as the novelist and short story writer Guan Moye (generally known as Mo Yan), Shaanxi Opera’s author Jia Pingwa, and the chairwoman of Writers’ Association of Shanghai, Wang Anyi. According to Shi Zhanjun, editor-in-chief of People’s Literature Magazine, each piece was chosen because it represents the Chinese culture, yet contains easily relatable topics which can be understood on an international basis.
Each participant is to translate one of the thirty pieces into either English, French, Spanish, Arabic, or Russian. The first winner will get a prize of $5,000, and every awarded translation will be published in a book by The Foreign Languages Press. The judging committees will be made up of translators from all over the world, as well as members of important publishing companies. There will be one committee for each language, made up of at least five members. The list of members will be made public together with the results of the contest. Translators can turn in their translations until February 28, 2014.
Zhang Yanbin, director of the State Council Information Office, recognised the importance of translation in bridging cultures. In recent years, Chinese culture has been expanding and attracting growing interest all around the world. This is a consequence of both China’s development and the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, after which China decided to build itself as a cultural power. Translating a group of Chinese short stories is part of a process of cultural expansion through language, literature and translation.