Saturday, 29 November 2008

Does this make me any Lhas-a man?

On Thursday, The People's Daily posted the following article on their English-language website:
Improvements made to Tibetan civilian residential housing
In recent years, central government has invested a total of 120 million yuan, and has finished renovating 67 dilapidated courtyards in the old part of Lhasa. The total area covers 140 thousand square-meters, and reconstruction has greatly improved the housing conditions of 2,668 households. Read the rest here.
Great news! And as one of the people behind this, I hope it's all true.
Now a week into my new job - translating, editing, and double-checking People's Daily and CCTV articles to be published on their respective websites - this is the first piece that I have dealt with that could be construed as being propaganda.
For this article, I was responsible for the third stage - double-checking to make sure that there are no inconsistencies with the original Chinese. One thing I questioned was a word in the first sentence: “国家 guojia” - which had originally been translated as "government". Literally, the word means "country" but translating the word in this way could be a tacit admission that Tibet more than just an autonomous region. However, I thought that by simply leaving it as "government", it could still be confused as being a regional government investment, so I suggested "national government". After some discussion, the phrase "central government" was decided upon.


Wainwrizzle said...

A week since this potentially risky blog article, we have heard nothing from the Webbmaster. Is he under house arrest? Has he been abducted? does anyone know?

Jez Webb said...

Wainwrizzle: The Peking Order appreciates such concern, and apologises - I have been super busy.
As for riskiness, whilst translating a horrific article on the "political clown", Sarkozy, a more risky article is on its way...

Anonymous said...


That is amusing, although it is not clear that you had to tell us what 国家 stands for.

I was recently helping with cleaning up the English for a particular Language podcast site and one item on Tibet required some delicacy. However, perhaps the most howl-worthy item was one dealing with the subject of women and money. The English was so sexist that it was beyond belief. Even if you believe what the English said, you don't say those things in polite company in the West :-)