Beijing Header

Page Header

Translation Workshop (English and Chinese) with Julien Leyre

Marco Polo logo

Sunday, June 22nd, 3:00-6:00pm

(free entry BUT! limited seats, participation possible only by reserving seat with


The event will be part of the Marco Polo Festival of Digital Literature. The Marco Polo Festival of Digital Literature bring together six writers from China and Australia who have used the internet as a key element of their practice. Our goal is to better understand how the shift from print to digital has affected the way we read and write, and to build better connections and mutual awareness between writers, readers and translators in China and Australia – as well as the English speaking world more broadly.

“Melbourne’s own Marco Polo Project to take on the world”

From June 10 to June 24, a Melbourne-based organisation is taking an innovative translation concept around the world. As part of the first Australia-China Festival of Digital Literature, organized by Melbourne’s own Marco Polo Project.

Marco Polo Project is the brainchild of Julien Leyre, a recent French migrant to Australia. On first visiting the country in 2007, Julien was fascinated by the visible presence of Asia, and decided to learn Mandarin. Four years later, frustrated by the lack of fresh Chinese literature and non-fiction available for advanced students in translation or bilingual format, and inspired by his previous work as a language and translation teacher in Paris, he launched

Marco Polo Project publishes a selection of new writing from China on its website, and invites advanced learners to collaborate on their translation, in the manner of a wiki. For learners, this is a meaningful way to practice reading and translation. It also offers less advanced users a chance to access new voices from China including digital authors and independent journalists, which probably wouldn’t otherwise be translated. In addition, since 2013, Marco Polo Project has run ‘all-you-can-translate’ events in Melbourne and Nanjing that bring together native English and Mandarin speakers for collaborative ‘translation race’ events.

The Festival of Digital Literature is a logical development of Marco Polo Project: three writers from each country whose work has focused on the internet will interact through video conversations, and in panel discussions held as part of Melbourne Writers Festival in August 23-26 (Melbourne) and September 10-11 (Beijing).

The coming translation tour will be the first step in global audience engagement for the Festival. Working in partnership with China’s largest translation crowd-sourcing platform,, and with local partners Marco Polo Project will organise the collaborative translation of pieces from the Festival’s invited writers by bilingual communities in London, Leeds, Manchester, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Chengdu, Beijing, Tianjin

The pioneering Mr Leyre is thrilled to be realizing his Marco Polo dream that is X years in the making and is anticipating a successful albeit demanding world tour.  “I can’t believe how much support we received,” Mr Leyre said, “Not only universities, schools and cultural organisations, but also just simple passionate individuals, who connected with us through the internet”.

“The cities we’ve chosen for the translation events are cultural capitals in England and China. The Festival’s other events are scheduled to be in Melbourne and Sydney in August and September, respectively” Mr Leyre said.

“Marco Polo Project’s long-term vision is to make these events and the festival a rolling series of ongoing cultural events. Our ambition is to build broader cultural exchange between China and Australia, but also position Australia as a global centre for cultural engagement with China” Mr Leyre said.

The project is directly nurtured by Melbourne’s literary influence – it is after all a UNESCO city of literature. Australia’s European heritage and geographic proximity to Asia, as well as the multicultural nature of its population, make it an ideal meeting place for literary traditions of Europe and Asia. Australia’s remote location makes our writers particularly aware of the possibilities opened by the internet to build international contacts, and become a virtual middle-ground between China, Europe, and the United States.


Event brief

Marco Polo Project

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

The Bookworm Chengdu Download Map

Yujie East Road 2-7#, Ren min South Road 28# (玉洁东街2-7号,人民南路28号)

Tel: (028) 85520177