Since the last century, our country has seen an increasing exposure to foreign literature. However, not everyone has foreign language proficiency and can read these books. Hence, there have been a growing number of Chinese translation agencies that offer book translation services.
Book translation principles are mostly the same even for Chinese translation agencies. Fidelity, fluency and elegance comprise the standards for all translations, taking into account cultural differences. For example, in the book, "The Count of Monte Cristo," there was a duel between the characters wherein they threw gloves at each other. Without providing a cultural background for the story, some readers may not understand the reason behind that particular action or why dance parties were held one after another or why strangers were invited to the house.
Another important function of book translation is to improve sentences so that readers can understand them more easily. For example, the phrase "Where there's a will, there's a way" is translated to "有志者，事竟成". The translation conforms to the original text but is not too literal.
The most important function of book translation is to promote cultural diversity. Before Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, some people questioned why Chinese literary works never received the award. They surmised that poor translation could be one of the reasons. The translation was probably not good enough for international judges to understand and appreciate the five-thousand-year old Chinese culture expressed in these literary pieces. Now, with the improvement in book translations, more countries around the world have learned to appreciate Chinese culture . Confucius Institutes have been set up in many countries, allowing better understanding of Western philosophy as well. All these developments can be attributed to the efforts of Chinese translation agencies.