Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Translation of the press' viewpoints

The New York Times has recently published an article about a group of Chinese volunteers' efforts in translating almost the entirety of each issue of the Britain-based magazine The Economist into Chinese and publishing them online without authorization of either the Chinese government or the magazine.

Read the full text:

(I am still unfamiliar with the intellectual property law of the States. Is it legal to paste a link to an online article, say, a news story of The New York Times, that is copyrighted?)

Even though at a conservative estimate, one fifth of Chinese population, that is, 200 million people, have learned or are learning English, many of them have very basic and limited English skills. Reading English newspapers is beyond both the capability and patience of them. But it does not obstruct people's urge to learn more about English speaking countries and how they view the world, including China. They want an edition of foreign news publication with parallel text of both English and Chinese to improve their English, and Western perspectives conveyed by translation to improve their understanding. This group of voluenteers say they love the style of the magazine, according to The New York Times.

Another volunteering group in China is doing almost the same thing, but out of the opposite reason., established by a Chinese university student, gathers all kinds of Western journalism reports about China and translates them into Chinese, while analyzing how prejudiced the Western press is when it comes to coverage of China. The name comes from resentment an indignation ignited by a CNN report about Chinese suppression of riots in Tibet that is believed to use an elaborately cropped picture and mismatched captions to "vilify China," according to the Web site. It is determined to find solid evidence of the Western bias, not only that of CNN.

What I try to say is not whether any press is biased or not, but editorial decisions as small as cropping of a picture can even affect the viewpoints of one nation towards the other. Don't forget that many foreign language learners use journalism as a tool to familiarize themselves with the language and the culture.

1 comment:

  1. you may post a link, no problem. And you may quote from an article if you give credit.