Fast-translate into Chinese
To fulfill its functions, Thinking about China will need in time to become not only a fully bilingual publication – meaning that every article will be available in both Chinese and English editions – but both versions should be prepared with careful attention to the quality of the language used. We are ambitious that the articles that appear here s be well-written, balanced and agreeably readable. We shall try hard to avoid obscure technical language or jargon, to ensure that every C/S article is open and available to the informed generally reader. More than that, we intend to present a wide variety of views and approaches, standing back and letting each in turn argue its own cause.
In the meantime the main language of Thinking about China is English. That is our limitation. To make these contents more broadly accessible to friends and colleagues who work primarily in Chinese, the contents have been linked to the increasingly well-performing Google machine translation engines that you will now find here. In each case all you have to do is click the language in which you wish to see the rough translation, and it will quickly appear on your monitor.
Attention please: I have to be brutally honest about these “translations”. They are almost always laborious, sometimes misleading, and at best hard to make sense of. If you are wedded to the beautiful precision and literature of your language, you are likely to have some problems with what these bring up. But if on the other hand, you have a flexible mind and are genuinely curious, well then YOU are going to find some use in the clues that these translations provide. It’s your choice.
In summary: To be used with caution and some imagination, but if you need to find out the principal thrust and main lines of any given posting, these quick machine translations can be a real help.
More on machine translations:
This is tricky, but very important. It is easy to have prejudices on this in terms of the violence of the translations can do to your language; but be patient, there is more to it than that. There is a language reality out there of which many people working in the field internationally are not necessarily aware. And that is that the bulk of the people on this planet who are involved in transportation policy and practice in any given place where English is not the primary language, simply do not have the time to devote to reading articles, even summaries of articles, that are in something other than their main working language.
That is a reality. But since our projects have the pretension of being a truly worldwide cross-cultural source, we have tried to figure out how to make some kind of inroads into this seemingly intractable problem. With that in mind and making use of this borrowed toolset, from our very first day of publication we have tried to take advantage of best available technology in order to provide workable translations for the roughly 6,000,000,000 people on this planet for whom English is not their main working language. For more on this, have a look at http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/the-fine-art-of-working-with-machine-translations-on-world-streets/
If you read the machine translation in parallel with the English-language original in front of you, in almost all cases you will be able to arrive at a pretty fair understanding of the thrust and main content of that particular article or announcement. It is of course not a substitute for a professional translation, but it can be extremely helpful for those who are ready to make an effort to use it with judgment.