Today, thousands of sinologists are active in their special expertise in relation to Chinese culture, promoting the mutual understanding and recognition of western countries, and even the world. We put our eyes on 21 sinologists, discovering their personal stories with China.



  Nguyen Le Chi


  Popular translator. She has successfully promoted contemporary Chinese literature in Vietnam. In December 2008, she established her publishing company, or Vietnam Le Chi Culture &Media Co., Ltd., which has become a successful brand promoting contemporary literature from other countries to Vietnamese. She has exclusively interviewed Chinese writers such as Mo Yan, Liu Zhenyun, Wei Hui, Hong Ying, Annie Baobei, Chun Shu, and Mianmian. Meanwhile, she is the first Vietnamese to buy the copyright of books of authors such as Mo Yan, Liu Zhenyun, Qiu Huadong, Hong Ying, Mianmian, Pipi, Wei Hui, Chun Shu, Annie Baobei, Rao Xueman and Liu Xiao Ling Tong.


  Please tell us some of your stories with China and when did the tie begin?

  Since childhood, my family has had a lot of Chinese literary classics. My father used to read literature, teach literature and write screenplay at university. My mother is a dancer and choreographer. Influenced by the family, I am very interested in literature, particularly Chinese literature. I have found through these Chinese works that many things are related to Vietnamese culture, living habits, traditional concepts, etc., but there are more new things. These made me very curious to look for more Chinese literature to read in order to get a better understanding of Chinese life, Chinese people, and Chinese culture.

  what are the most attractive to me is that following the trend, Chinese culture contains both traditional flavors and new things in the new era, which illustrates why there are so many attractive elements. Therefore, I have chosen to learn Chinese and translate Chinese literature in order to learn more about Chinese culture and have more opportunities to read Chinese books. 


  How did your devotion to the long-term research of Chinese language and culture start and become a career for you?

  It started in 2001. Studying at the Beijing Film Academy (2001-2004), I felt it a great honor to be the first Vietnamese student to major in director of the film director department during the postgraduate period, and I was also the only Vietnamese student at Beijing Film Academy. Therefore, I do really cherish the opportunity, eager to translate all the movie books into Vietnamese, especially the movie books and materials that I used on campus, in order to provide reference for students in Vietnam who study movies and TV . For every major, such as director, photography, art, performance, script-writing, makeup, etc., I translated at least one or two books and sent them to students in the Vietnamese Film School used as reference materials. Some of them were selected by the Vietnam Film Institute and the Vietnamese Film Archive to be printed and provided as reference to the staff in the film roll. It was also during that time in Beijing that I read a lot of Chinese literature, especially taking delight in Chinese contemporary literature, and wanted to introduce it to Vietnam. Unintentionally, one novel after another was slowly translated and my hobby became a career that I pursue. When I was in Beijing, my translated book had already been published in Vietnam and was well received by readers and the media. I was very happy and worked harder to embark on the path of translating books.

  After returning to Vietnam, I went to shoot TV dramas and do planning tasks for a year, but I finally gave up and returned to work in books because I liked books too much. Called the first Vietnamese people to buy copyright of foreign books, I continued to translate novels. Four years later (at the end of 2008), I opened a publishing company myself mainly publishing literature works. Over the past 10 years, I have published more than 300 foreign-language translation novels, including specially promoted Chinese contemporary literature and introduction of many Chinese writers, including famous writers such as Mo Yan, Liu Zhenyun, Qiu Huadong, Annie Baby, Zhang Yueran, Wei Hui, Chunshu. whose works at that time had not yet been published in Vietnam.


  Concerning the works you translated or published, what was your way of presenting the development of Chinese culture and China in recent years authentically and objectively?

  Through my translation of contemporary Chinese literature, I can learn more about the thoughts of young Chinese people, the responsible attitudes of young people, especially those who are about to enter their life crossroads. In the four years in Beijing, I spent a lot of time observing people’s daily life, reading a lot of social news, literary magazines, newspapers, certain activities about Chinese culture, and going to watch many movies, operas, cultural programs, and so on. Through the real materials, I can learn more about Chinese culture and China‘s recent social conditions, which is very helpful for translating and publishing works.


  As far as your personal research work is concerned, what do you think is the difficulty of your current work?

  I am mainly concerned with publishing literature. There are readers with limited restrictions in the Vietnamese book market, so there are not many difficulties in doing it, mainly on the economic side. In addition, there are few Chinese language books sold in Vietnam, particularly literary works, which limits people who choose books. I would love to find more opportunities to help publish literary works. 


  China has been boosting its overseas cooperation and exchanges. What problems do you think China is facing in overseas translation and publishing?

  There are many problems, but they can be solved. The first aspect is about the selection of books. Some publishing houses sometimes promote the selling of Chinese books overseas, but they are not very clear about whether it is the best choice for the books to go into others’ market, whether it can exert influence, and whether it is in line with the hobby of others’ market. In addition, there are some books that I think are valuable, but they have not been promoted to Vietnam. Bookstores can‘t introduce works that can be valued by Chinese side, and I can’t help much neither. Under these circumstances, I still have obstacles when I want to cooperate . In the Vietnamese book market, Chinese side has not taken the initiative to do exchanges and cooperation overseas, so it is a pity that good works can sometimes not be introduced to the general public.


  With the continuous advancement of the “Belt and Road” initiative, what cultural opportunities and challenges do you think it will bring to China and your home country?

  Well, I want to take this opportunity to tell the general public that it is necessary to know more about others’ culture, find a sense of common sense, and understand each other through different cultural products such as books, movies, etc.