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UPDATED: November 30, 2009
Body of Renowned Translator Yang Xianyi Cremated
Body of Yang Xianyi, one of China's most well-known translators, was cremated in Beijing on November 29

Body of Yang Xianyi, one of China's most well-known translators, was cremated in Beijing Sunday.

Mourners lined up in the bitter cold at the condolence hall to bid farewell to Yang, who died on Monday at 95. He had reportedly been suffering from lymphoma cancer.

Yang was noted for rendering Chinese classics into English, including the 18th century A Dream of Red Mansions and the selected works of 20th century writer Lu Xun, and vice versa -- he and his British wife Gladys Taylor were the first to render Homer's Odyssey from the ancient Greek original into Chinese.

In September, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the Translators Association of China.

Huang Youyi, deputy director of the China International Publishing Group, said, "Mr. Yang was a greatly admired scholar. His translation works are classics."

Yang's grandson Yan Gongming said his grandfather almost never had harsh words or looks. "He had both Chinese wit and British humor."

Born into a wealthy family in 1915 in the northern coastal city of Tianjin, Yang went to Oxford to study Classics in 1936, where he married Taylor, who died in 1999.

Their daughter Yang Chi said, "My parents lived simply throughout their lives. They never parted no matter how hard life was."

The Yangs returned to China in 1940. They had been working for the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing since.

(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2009)

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