On December 13, the Information Office of the Guangzhou Municipal People's Government held an interview activity for friendly exchanges between China and Arabic countries.
This interview focuses on the friendly exchanges between China and Arabic countries, inviting Arabian and Chinese in Guangzhou to tell friendly stories between Guangzhou and the Arab region. Its purpose was to help build a China-Arab community with a shared future facing the new era. Niu Zimu, GDUFS school Deputy Dean of Faculty of Asian and African Studies and Associate Professor of the university’s Arabic Department; and FatenZanaa, a foreign teacher in GDUFS, participated in this interview.
The interview spot
Language is an important cultural bridge
More than 1,000 years ago, a wooden ship named "Suhaer" sailed thousands of miles from Oman to Guangzhou relying only on wind power. It became a symbol of the opening of a maritime trade route between Arabic countries and the Tang Dynasty, and opened a classic chapter in China-Arab cultural exchange. A thousand years later, modern Chinese and Arabian people engaged in exchanges in language and literature, economics, and scientific and technological communication gathered together to tell friendly stories between Guangzhou and the Arab region.
Our foreign Arabic teacher, Sun Xiaofang, is from Jordan. She lived in China for 20 years, including Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao and many other cities, and finally came to reside in Guangzhou. Sun Xiaofang believes that language is the medium of cultural exchange. We can experience the beauty of cultural differences by learning foreign languages. "My profession is teaching Arabic to students. I should convey the expressions of the languages, its way of thinking and the world of Arabic culture to students in the process of teaching."
Why learn Arabic? Sun Xiaofang reminded the crowd that there are 22 Arabic countries which speak the Arabic language. If Chinese students can master Arabic language, they will surely become important resources to society. Of course, it is difficult to master this language, but students should not be put off by this. Sun suggested that relevant education departments could establish a more complete exchange system to realize mutual visits between teachers and students of China and Arabic countries, so that students can learn in an immersive way.
Translation of classical books shows in-depth cultural exchange
"Chinese classical literature is the focus of China-Arab translation." During the visit, Niu Zimu, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies and Associate Professor of the Arabic Department, described the development of China-Arab cultural relations in her eyes based on her experience in studying and teaching Arabic for 20 years. In 2002, Niu entered Beijing Foreign Studies University to study Arabic. As she deepened her studies, she began to encounter serious literature from Arabic countries. During her postgraduate period, she provided language services to many famous writers and intellectuals from Arabic countries visiting China. Later, under the guidance of her tutor, she began to translate various works between China and Arabic countries.
"During my doctoral studies, I was impressed by the blossom of works in translation between China and Arabic countries,” Niu said. She believes the joint work of Chinese and Arabic translators has set a standard for high-end translation. In recent years, China-Arab translation works have not been limited to conventional social science works and contemporary novels. "Chinese classical literature is the focus of China-Arab translation,” Niu said, with particular focus on classics such as the Analects of Confucius, The Tao Te Ching, Mencius and other classics.
Why does this happen? "Cultural exchanges between China and Arabic countries have reached a certain level," Niu said. She believes that this phenomenon is the result of deepening cultural exchanges between two countries. The translation of classical Chinese literature and other books with strong professional characteristics proves that many Arabic readers have a certain understanding of Chinese culture and expect to have a deeper experience of more wonderful aspects of Chinese culture. "Today's China-Arab relations are the result of continuous efforts from both sides for a long time." In her study and work over 20 years, Niu Zimu has seen the development and deepening of China-Arab relations. She expects and believes that China-Arab relations are looking forward to a bright future.
This interview also invited many Chinese and foreign friends engaged in economic, trade and scientific and technological communication activities in Guangzhou to witness this important moment in the friendship of China and Arabic countries, having traveled over 1,000 years together.