Should foreigners participate in the Chinese Cultural Translating Competition Cup?

2 min read
Chinese Cultural Translating Competition

The 2020 CC Cup, or International Chinese Culture Translating Competition took place this October. For the many competitors, it was both a chance to hone our skills and compete for the tantalizing 10,000 RMB prize.

The competition separated the Chinese competitors from the international ones. As an American, I would be in the latter group.

The competition had two rounds: the first was intepreting passages about Chinese culture, from English to Chinese and Chinese to English.

The second was a speed round in which we were required to hit a button for the opportunity to translate a part of a Chinese saying, or poem.

The competition ran fairly smoothly- I snagged second place with a score of 84.43, whereas our international champion won with an impressive 98.81. The Chinese group champion had an excellent score of 96.

I was happy, relieved, proud. A mix of emotions, but all were positive. A happy ending, right?

Sadly, the next day we recieved notification that the international group had the 10,000 prize cancelled. Our winner would only receive the prize slates for the second best. The two third place prizes would now be given to myself, and the third place contestant.

Chen Ling, the Competition Organizing Committee Secretariat stated that our scores were not high enough, and that is why we were all demoted by one ranking.

While I was grateful for the opportunity to improve my own skills, I cannot deny that the ending was rather upsetting. Why was it okay to demote the foreigner group prizes, when the Chinese group was unchanged? In what sense did our group’s winner, an incredible interpreter by both my opinion and the judges scoring, fail to live up to the standards?

We asked for an explanation, but were told that the decision was final. Additionally, even our prize booklets were empty. We sat through the lovely awards ceremony, but it felt rather hollow to me.

For a competition tying themselves to China’s treasured culture and language, they should be very conscientious of how their actions may be percieved by others. Chinese people work hard to give other people the best impression of this lovely country- a private competition should do its part to honor its promises, especially when they tie themselves to China. A few contestants who should have left proud and happy, instead left the competition feeling tricked.

I wholly recommend language learners find competitions and opportunities to challenge themselves. The Worldnese Translation group, however, I do not recommend due to their bait and switch with the prize money. This competition was not free, and to cancel the largest prize on a whim is a shady move.

To end on a more pleasant note, I will add: I met lovely people, and felt more inspired to improve my abilities. Congratulations to the all the efforts by the Chinese students, hosting university, judges, performers and my fellow contestants.

Tony Simon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *