Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Africa: You Probably Have a Number of Misconceptions about It

By Zander Rounds

Author: Kong Shuyao
Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 12/21/2014
Source: Chengdu Business News
Original Text (in Chinese):

Addressing common misconceptions about Africa, Kong Shuyao draws on personal experience living in Lagos and engaging with locals, adding depth and nuance to conversations about Africa. While this piece was written for a Chinese audience, it may be equally applicable to other parts of the world. 
----Zander Rounds (Translator)

“Look West, Look East” [a regular section for Chengdu Business News] authors have written about many places around the world. One day Kong Shuyao, someone who works in Africa, suddenly raised the question: where is Lagos? Where is Nigeria? We quickly got on the Internet to look it up. We had not considered that, as Kong Shuyao bluntly stated, no matter if you are using Google or Baidu, the information that you get when you search is either biased or outdated.

Lagos is Africa’s biggest city—that's right, surpassing Egypt’s Cairo and South Africa’s Johannesburg. Think for a second: Nigeria’s Lagos is equivalent to America’s New York, Europe’s Paris, Asia’s Tokyo. However, except for soccer and the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus, we seem to be not familiar with it at all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is Your Relationship with China Better than Mine?

By Hannah Ryder, Deputy Country Director, United Nations Development Program China

Just a few weeks ago, my sister got married. The wedding was beautiful, her husband is an absolutely wonderful man from Uganda, and my two other sisters and I were bridesmaids. But there was one problem. I found myself comparing her wedding to mine seven years ago. Either thinking “Oh, I wish we had done our flowers like that” or “I wish we had practiced our first dance a bit more”. It was when I turned to my husband to tell him yet another comparison that he reminded me of a famous phrase first coined by Mark Twain in the late 1800’s: “comparison is the death of joy”. And in so many words, he helped me curb my comparative reflection.

But comparison is an easy trap to fall in, whether you’re an individual, group, country – and even a region. Here in China last week, comparison was in the air as the first ever meeting between Chinese government leaders and Ministers of CELAC – a group of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries formed in 2011 – got underway. The comparison was with another region – Africa.

Translation Tuesday: Op-Ed: Don’t Forget Africa in Anti-Terrorism

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Chen Junxia
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 01/14/2015
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese):

This op-ed points out the potential negative outcome of imbalanced media coverage regarding Africa’s anti-terrorism, but it seems to blame only developed countries without interrogating the responsibilities of other stakeholders.
---- Laiyin Yuan (Translator)

In the beginning of the New Year, the terrorist attacks in Paris, France caught major attention from Western media, which not only allowed the world to sympathize and ruminate on this tragedy, but also left an extraordinary impression of the reporting capabilities of Western media.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Soft Power: Chinese Family Dramas across Africa

By Joseph Webster

Author: Jing Ya
Translator: Joe Webster
Published on: 12/07/2014
Source: Sina Weibo Entertainment
Original text (in Chinese): http://ent.sina.com.cn/v/m/2015-01-05/doc-iavxeafr9649321.shtml

The ability to attract and persuade, or what the political scientist Joseph Nye terms “soft power”, is a vital instrument of national power. The People’s Republic of China has an increasingly large commercial and trade presence in Africa, but it remains to be seen whether or not the PRC can overcome linguistic barriers and increase its political and cultural influence on the continent. Television dramas are one element of cultural power. As the article notes, some elements of Chinese culture, such as an emphasis on the family unit, have special appeal to Africans. There is a tension, however, between PRC soft power promotion and the Chinese state's overall attitude to international entertainment.
----Joe Webster (Translator)

Chinese Family Ethics television shows receive warm reception

In recent years, many Chinese TV exports to Africa have been welcomed by African people. Shows such as "Let's Get Married,” "Endeavor,” "Beijing Youth," and "A Beautiful Daughter-in-Law Era” have become hit series in Africa.

In 2011, the Swahaili-language version of "A Beautiful Daughter-in-Law Era" has, after its successful introduction to Tanzania, led to more Chinese TV series being aired in Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt, Senegal, Zambia, and other African countries. More and more Africans, through watching contemporary Chinese television program, are coming to understand Chinese society. In the second half of 2014, "Beijing Television African Broadcaster" aired in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, and other African countries. Along with "Let's Get Married," "Endeavoring," and "Beijing Youth," six other TV series were broadcast to African audiences.

According to reports, Chinese television dramas are in-demand by African audiences because their storylines feature strong family ties. Some of the characters feel familiar to African audiences, so much so that African audiences deal with family and social contradictions through watching Chinese television dramas.

The Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania stated in an interview with media that China's family ethics dramas are the most sought-after television shows in Tanzania. Moreover, because the themes easily resonate, aspirational dramas are also most popular among young people.

About Sina Weibo Entertainment (http://ent.sina.com.cn/)
Sina is a Chinese microblogging site that is roughly equivalent to a combination of Facebook and Twitter. It is one of the most popular sites amongst Chinese internet users, and it offers specialty sites to its diverse audience. The Entertainment site focuses on news affecting Chinese entertainment.