Catherine Yeung’s translation of Jiang Tianrong’s Chen Guangcheng tweets

Four areas where Catherine Yeung’s translation of Jiang Tianrong’s tweets about Chen Guangcheng can be improved

I’ll focus on the big rather than small errors. I offer this in the spirit of improving translations in a common cause. Accuracy is always important, especially in a case like this.

J = Jiang Tianrong
C = Catherine’s translation into English
K = Kevin (my comments on Catherine’s translation)

J: 关于光诚和纽约大学(六)光诚当然非常清楚、也极为感谢纽约大学及科恩教授对他及一家的帮助。不过,光诚是一个诚实并讲原则的人,尤其是对中共当局的这种伎俩,他不可能当作不存在,也不会帮纽约大学遮掩质疑。

C: CGC is mostly grateful for the help he and his family have received from the NYU and from Professor Cohen. However, CGC is also a very honest man with integrity. It is not possible for him to turn a blind eye to the dishonorable tricks of the CPC and to pretend that evil does not exist. He is also not in a position to shield the NYU against public scrutiny.

K comment: Chen is “extremely” grateful. I guess “mostly” is a slip, but not insignificant because it implies a qualification he is not making.

J: 关于光诚和纽约大学(七)光诚与科恩教授是10年的老朋友、忘年交。且于光诚而言,科恩亦是恩师。但光诚不是一个为尊者讳的人;而且,光诚所针对的是中共当局这种全世界破坏规则的恶行。但纽约大学显然很受伤,于是让科恩教授出面否认遭施压。

C: Professor Cohen has been a dear friend of CGC for the last 10 years. To CGC, Professor Cohen is both a friend and a mentor. But CGC will not lie or be silenced, not even for the person whom he truly respects. What was even more perplexing for CGC was that the NYU took offense at accusations meant to be directed only towards the CPC and its unruly behavior. Consequently, Professor Cohen was made to step forward to deny that the University had been put under pressure.

K translation: Guangcheng and Professor Cohen have been good friends for ten years, despite their age difference. And Guangcheng says that Professor Cohen is also his wonderfully kind teacher. But Guangcheng is not a person to be cowed by his seniors. What’s more, Guangcheng was pointing to the type of worldwide law breaking evil behaviour of the Chinese Commmunist Party authorities. But New York University clearly took offence, so made Professor Cohen front up and deny there had been any pressure.

J: 关于光诚和纽约大学(八)事情出来后,放到两党政治氛围下的美国,变得不简单。各方从民主党和共和党、从自由派和保守派的立场分析、表达,并相互解读;更重要的是,科恩教授首先说光诚受共和党和保守人士影响。于是,事情更复杂了。

C: This incident is further complicated by the politics the two major US political parties are playing against each other. Suddenly those from the Democrats to the Republicans, from liberals to conservatives, are all expressing their opinion on this matter and are promoting their views based on each other’s interpretation of events. Most significantly, Professor Cohen became the first person to accuse CGC of allying himself with conservative Republicans. The accusation adds another dimension of complexity to this incident.

K comment: the words “accusation” or “ally” do not enter Jiang Tianrong’s tweet. “科恩教授首先说光诚受共和党和保守人士影响.” should be translated as “Professor Cohen was the first to say Guangcheng had been influenced by Republicans and Conservatives.”

J: 光诚与纽约大学(十三) 光诚一直希望美国两党超脱党派之争,共同面对中共当局的压力,支持中国人权、法治、自由和民主;但实际上确实非常困难。此次争论中,光诚也希望美国各方面的朋友直面中共当局的压力,而不将矛盾指向科恩教授。

C: It has long been CGC’s wish that the two major parties in the USA could come to a bipartisan agreement of the need to face up to pressure from the CPC in their supports for human rights, rule of law, liberty and democracy in China. This is obviously not an easy task. In this dispute, CGC also hopes his American friends can face up to pressure from the CPC. Instead, Professor Cohen was put under tremendous pressure to resolve the disagreement.

K: I’d replace Catherine’s translation from the words “In this dispute..” with “CGC also hopes his American friends on all sides can face up to pressure from the CPC, rather than point the finger at Professor Cohen.” [I could be open to correction/persuasian on this point.]


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