Translating "The Economist" Behind China's Great Firewall

While researching Oscar screeners last month, I stumbled on a remarkable example of online collaboration in China that’s completely undiscovered here. In short, a group of dedicated fans of The Economist newsmagazine are translating each weekly issue cover-to-cover, splitting up the work among a team of volunteers, and redistributing the finished translations as complete PDFs for a Chinese audience.

It reminds me of the scanlation movement, in which groups of fans scan, translate, and redistribute manga into another language. But I’ve never seen it applied to a newspaper or magazine, especially one as high-minded as The Economist.

It’s an impressive example of online collaboration with simple tools, a completely non-commercial effort by volunteers interested in spreading knowledge while improving their English skills. In the process, they’re taking a political risk in translating controversial articles about their homeland behind the Great Firewall.

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Quake Live goes public beta — the private beta was a blast, but their server’s are exploding today and the plugin’s still Windows-only

John Hodgman on "meh"

I enjoyed this exchange with John Hodgman on Twitter yesterday, reminiscent of my own rant on “FAIL.

hodgman: Did I ever tell you people how much I hate the word “meh”? Nothing announces “I have missed the point” more than that word.

hodgman: It is the essence of blinkered Internet malcontentism. And a rejection of joy. Also: 12 hive mehs in the replies SO FAR

hodgman: By definition, it may mean disinterest (although simple silence would be a more damning and sincere response, in that case)

hodgman: But in use, it almost universally seems to signal: I am just interested enough to make one last joyless, nitpicky swipe and then disappear

wordwill: @hodgman Isn’t rejecting joy how one traditionally demonstrates one’s superior cool? Though, at the same time, to hell with that.

hodgman: @wordwill yes. It’s part of the toxic Internet art of constant callous one upsmanship. And it is a sort of art, but not for me.

Jandrew Edits — “a collection of humorously edited footage”