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  • Former Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Chen Mingming Talks at Peking University


    24/05/2018 – Peking University hosted former Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Mr. Chen Mingming, a senior diplomat and a distinguished expert in Chinese-English translation. On Thursday 24th May Chen Mingming presented a public lecture to PKU faculty and students as well as scholars and students from other local universities. The event was co-hosted by New Zealand Centre and the Office of International Relations at Peking University. 


    Chen Mingming, who was Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand from 2001 to 2005, was invited to visit Peking University on 24 May 2018 and present a public lecture on Chinese-English translation, with special reference to translating political and diplomatic documents from Chinese into English. Chen Mingming is currently senior expert translator specializing in Chinese-English translation in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairman of China Translators’ Association. 
    As Director of New Zealand Centre at Peking University, Professor Liu Shusen chaired the lecture of Chen Mingming. In his introductory remarks, Professor Liu briefed what Peking University has remarkably achieved as the historic cradle of translation in early modern China, in addition to highlighting the pivotal role translation has been playing in the social developments of almost all the countries worldwide including China. Accordingly, Professor Liu further stressed that in the present age of economic globalization, translation of various types including AI translation and interpretation devices are playing an increasingly important part to make peoples and societies more closely and interactively engaged as a common community of shared interests and future. 


    Chen Mingming Talks in Chinese & History Building 


    As a senior diplomat and a distinguished translator with extraordinary expertise and experiences, Chen Mingming acted as interpreter for China’s national leaders such as Deng Xiaoping, Hu Yaobang, Li Xian’nian and others in the 1980s. He is now the chief expert translator to proofread and finalize the official Chinese-English translation of political and diplomatic documents of the Government of China at the national level. 

    Greeted with a rousing ovation of more than 130 attendees, Chen Mingming presented his lecture entitled “Striving for Seamless Communication: On the English Translation of Xi Jinping’s Report at the 19th CPC National Congress”. In his lecture, Chen Mingming first interpreted the major principles and strategies available in Chinese-English translation of political and diplomatic documents, including their common advantages and inevitable disadvantages, and explained how they can be used in the officially required process of translation. Then on the basis of case studies, he explored how to improve the quality of translation and avoid mistranslation, undertranslation and overtranslation. He emphasized that Chinese political discourse is derived from China’s unique socio-political context and its cultural and historic heritages. To better facilitate the international communication of Chinese political concepts, he proposed taking more culture-oriented consideration in translating, instead of being weighed down by literal meaning of the text. Besides, as typical lessons, he also showcased why some literal English translations of Chinese political terminologies could hardly be understandable or recognizable to native speakers of English.
    With comparative and textual analyses of core political concepts drawn from Xi Jinping’s Report at the 19th CPC National Congress, Chen Mingming stressed the importance of making use of flexible translation strategies to break cultural and narrative barriers and enhance the effect of intercultural understanding and communications. He urged young translators to take on the big challenges of cultural exchange and to contribute to a better global understanding of Chinese politics.


    From left to right: Professor Zhang Yongxian of Renmin University of China, A/Professor Liu Hongzhong of Peking University, Professor Wang Jihui of Tsinghua University, Mr. Chen Mingming, and Professor Liu Shusen of Peking University 


    Chen Mingming’s lecture highlighted practical strategies and skills of translating on the basis of detailed and convincing case studies, which is what the faculty and students highly expect. His lecture enjoyed an enthusiastic reception and ended up after an animated Q&A session and open discussion. 


    Chen Mingming Discusses with a Visiting Scholar


    In 2007 Chen Mingming was invited to attend the launch of New Zealand Centre at Peking University. Prior to his lecture, Chen Mingming had a meeting with some of the members of NZC and reviewed the productive development of the strategic partnership between China and New Zealand. 

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