Pretty interpreter makes the news


New Express, March 16, 2010

When do interpreters become top headlines instead of the bigwigs they serve? One answer: when the interpreter is a pretty lady who can flawlessly translate a line of Chinese ancient poetry quoted by Primer Wen Jiabao.

Premier Wen is renowned for his stage management, and display of his erudition by frequently quoting classical poetry. At yesterday’s news conference, Wen once again quoted a line from the revered third-century BC statesman Qu Yuan (屈原), regarded by many as the father of Chinese poetry.

The line “亦余心之所善兮,虽九死其犹未悔” from Qu Yuan’s Li Sao (离骚), or Words of Departure was translated by some foreign press as, “My heart will always belong to my noble hopes, and for this I would have no regrets even if I died nine times over.” But people who are more versed in Chinese ancient literature will point out that the number nine is more likely used in a non-specific way, which means “quite a lot”.

A more precise translation is from Wen’s interpreter Zhang Lu (张璐): “For the ideal that I hold dear to my heart, I’d not regret a thousand times to die.” And a job well-done ascended the interpreter from obscurity to online stardom.

According to the Guangzhou-based New Express:

The People’s Congress concluded yesterday. Premier Wen Jiabao’s media conference became the focus of the media. With his wisdom and learning, as well as his literary answers to the questions, Wen charmed journalists from all over the world.

The beautiful interpreter Zhang Lu who was sitting beside Wen also won much applause from the billions of audience members and netizens. Yesterday, we found that the ranking of Zhang Lu on many microblogs was higher than Liu Xiang, who placed seventh in the recent world championships of the 100-meter hurdle.

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