Movies translated into minority languages enrich rural life

As night falls in Bange village, located in Cangyuan Wa autonomous county in southwest Yunnan's Lincang city, a screen is set up in the square. After dinner, villagers gather there, and soon the area is packed with people to watch a movie. Tonight's feature is "Operation Red Sea." Even some of the older villagers, who aren't fluent in Mandarin, watch with great interest because the movie has been translated into the Wa language.

"It's just like watching a movie in the theater. The movie retains its original flavor despite the dubbing!" said villager Ai Kuai.

Scenes like these are common in the border villages of Lincang city, thanks to the dedication of the staff at the Lincang Minority Language Film Dubbing Center. Over the past 40 years, the center has organized over 46,000 screenings of films dubbed in minority languages, reaching more than 9 million viewers.

Movies play a significant role in enriching cultural life. In the late 1970s, films became popular throughout China. Tian Guangming, one of the first retired voice actors from the Lincang Minority Language Film Dubbing Center, recalled that in those early years, many people in minority villages couldn't speak Mandarin, making it difficult to follow the plot and understand the movies.

In 1979, the Lincang Minority Language Film Dubbing Team was established. Tian and his 14 colleagues took on the mission of dubbing films into minority languages.

In 1980, the first film dubbed in the Wa language, "The Gunshot of the Security Bureau," quickly became popular in ethnic regions. Tian remembered that after one screening, an elderly villager excitedly grabbed his hand and told him it was the first time he had fully understood a movie. The old man's words deeply moved him: "No matter how tough the conditions, we must continue this work for the people who love it!"

Translating, dubbing, editing, reviewing, revising… often takes the team at least two weeks to complete the dubbing for a 120-minute movie.

With updated technology and years of experience, the dubbing team now produces over 60 films in minority languages annually, including the popular ones like "The Wandering Earth," "The Sacrifice," and "Wolf Warrior" in the Dai and Wa languages. These films enrich the cultural lives of people in border minority areas, boosting their cultural confidence.

Source: People's Daily Online; trans-editing by Guo Yao