NB: This text was originally posted to soc.culture.mongolian
in December 1996 but the author thinks the referenced
information may be useful for some, at least.
The question whether Marco Polo really was at the Yuan court in
China or not has been discussed recently, and there are certainly
sincere arguments on both sides.
I do not wish to restart that debate. Instead, I just want to
mention the Chinese translation of "Marco Polo's Travels" which I
happened to spot on the shelves of my library. I opened it and had
to find out that I had bought the book 13 years ago. so it's not a
"Make Boluo Youji", a translation by Chen Kaijun, Dai Shuying, Liu
Zhenqiong and Lin Jian. 281 p. Published by Fujian Science and
Technology Publishing (Fujian Kexue Jishu Chubanshe), Fuzhou,
Deguixiang 27 hao, (1981) 1982. Second edition, total printing
The book is a translation from English, The Travels of Marco Polo
(The Venetian), ed. with introduction by Manuel Komroff,
illustrations by Witold Gordon, Garden City Publishing Co., Garden
City, New York. (c) 1926 and 1930.
I found the book interesting for several reasons:
1) Throughout the book, all personal and geographical names are
first rendered in Chinese, then in romanized version. Thus, the
modern days Hangzhou can easily be associated with its former name
Jingshi and Marco Polo's Kin-sai.
2) The book is not a slavish translation of the original. The
lengthy foreword of the original is omitted altogether (the
translators justify this act with numerous repetitions of facts from
the main part) but there are numerous footnotes throughout the text
giving more information on names, places etc. Sometimes obviously
misconceived facts are corrected in this way.
3) The book was translated shortly after China's beginning of the
Opening Policy. The beginning of the 1980 saw the production of a
multi-part TV series on Marco Polo's travels (I think it was even an
Italian-Chinese coproduction - I may be mistaken). The author of the
foreword, Shang Ming, praises Marco Polo "as the builder of the
bridge of friendship on which the two nation's peoples will walk for
eternity. Suzhou and Venice hae become partner cities. The flower of
friendship will blossom forever on the soil of the two nations."
The unusually high printing volume indicates a vague chance that one
can still find the book somewhere (more by accident, I am afraid...).
Also, some libraries may have it.