Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Economist in Chinese

China has the world's largest blogosphere and online discussion community. A group of dedicated Chinese netizens has taken it upon itself to translate The Economist  every week and to publish a bilingual edition online. Andy Baio of the Waxy blog reports:

They call themselves The Eco Team, a group of about 240 passionate Economist fans led by a 39-year-old insurance broker named Shi Yi. The ECO China forum was originally founded in May 2006 by a mysterious character named "nEo," though he's no longer involved with the site. On their About Us page, nEo delivers the mission statement:

"Like the forum name says, producing a Chinese version of The Economist is our goal. But we're still young and immature; very amateur, not professional. So what? Because we are young, we have the fervor, the enthusiasm, the passion. Because we are amateurs, we'll double our efforts to do our best. As long as we wish, we can be successful and do a good job!"

Every week, in their Weekly Topics forum(translation), a moderator creates a thread linking to every untranslated article from the newest issue on Here's the list for this week's issue, published on February 21.

Volunteers choose their stories in the comments, while the moderator keeps track of assignments. As each story's translated, it's posted as a new thread in topic-specific forums, like Special Reports or Science & Technology.

Each article weaves together paragraphs of the original text and its translation, while other volunteers suggest their corrections in the comments. The lead editor incorporates all the comments, eventually arriving at a final draft ready for publication.

The Finished Product

While the Eco Team works on translating every article as soon as each issue hits the stands, the Eco PDF Team bundles up finished translations into Eco Weekly, a bi-weekly PDF with two complete issues for forum members to enjoy and share.