National Cheng Kung University linguists on Wednesday released a bilingual version of Grimms’ Fairy Tales in German and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), complete with voice recordings accessible via QR code.
Grimms’ Fairy Tales, a German collection of about 300 stories published in the 19th century, has been translated into more than 100 languages worldwide.
Hoklo is now joining the list thanks to a project spearheaded by Tan Le-kun (陳麗君), an associate professor in the university’s Department of Taiwanese Literature.
The project, funded by the Rotary Club and with Avant Garde Publishing as printing partner, aims to translate children’s books into Hoklo to promote language education.
The fairy tale collection is the first in the series, to be followed by bilingual versions of French, Japanese, Russian, Vietnamese and US classics, among others, the university said.
“If language is a vehicle for culture, then writing is a repository for its dissemination,” Tan said.
Hopefully, the availability of literature can help Hoklo take root as a language and to no longer be treated as mere source material for slang, she added.
The book features favorite stories, including “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella,” “The Frog Prince” and “Hansel and Gretel,” in Chinese characters and Roman script.
Each story has a QR code link to a recording of a professional reading the story in Hoklo.
Chiu Wei-hsin (邱偉欣), a doctoral candidate in the department who studied at a German university for another doctorate, in biology, translated the volume.
In the world of Chinese writing, saturated with rewrites and adaptations, most of the works people encounter diverge from the original, he said.
Chiu said he wanted to create something as close as possible to the German version so that readers could feel the spirit of the original, while also giving play to the creative translation ability of Hoklo.
The illustrator of the book, Aya Kondo, lives in Japan and is the granddaughter of renowned Hoklo expert Ong Iok-tek (王育德).
It was a pleasure to be involved in meaningful work related to Hoklo, Kondo said, adding that she cannot wait for the next collaboration.
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