Chinese Korchagin: Wang Zhichong, veteran translator of Russian literature, died at the age of 86

A photo of Wang Zhichong, a Chinese translator and writer who pioneered Russian-language literature Photo: Sina Weibo

Wang Zhichong, a pioneering translator and writer of Russian-language literature in China, died Saturday at the age of 86.

The news was announced by the Shanghai Writers Association in a post on its WeChat platform on Sunday. According to the message, Wang died on Saturday afternoon at his home. Suffering from spinal arthritis since the age of 15, this seasoned translator was famous for his Chinese translation of How steel was temperedwhich touched many readers in China.

Wang was given the nickname “Chinese Korchagin” after the protagonist Pavel Korchagin in the novel.

To find inspiration to fight her illness, Wang started reading Nikolai Ostrovsky’s socialist-minded novel How steel was temperedwhich follows Pavel Korchagin, a young revolutionary soldier, who survives the Russian Civil War thanks to his bravery and resilience.

The story inspired Wang to learn Russian on his own, which paved the way for his successful career as a translator as an expert in Russian-language literature.

In addition to Ostrovsky’s well-known classic, Wang also translated the novelist’s other work Born from the storm. Another collection of Ostrovsky’s letters, approximately 800,000 words, was also translated by Wang at the age of 74 and published in 2010. Featuring a total of 636 letters written over 22 years, it is ‘a complete collection of Ostrovsky’s letters to date. in Chinese language.

Wang once told the media, “Although I am over 80 years old, I still want to take steps forward. Even if I can’t run fast, I will still move, little by little.”

“Since I was little, my father has always pushed me to read How steel was tempered. I barely listened because the story was so far removed from my life. But, after learning Wang’s story, I want to read it again. Now I know its value is not just the story, but how it gives people spirit and hope,” said Li Liming, a 30-year-old reader in Beijing.