Dateline: my Momís house in Boscobel WI, 30 May 2004
You probably wonít get that reference unless the phrase New Wave really rocks your memory of days gone by.
And yes, it does feel old to say that (I turned 42 on the 28th).
Last month I was so excited that a Japanese publishing house had bought the rights to The Pentagonís New Map because it just seemed so cool to think someday Iíd hold a Japanese-edition copy of the book in my hand. Getting your work translated into other languages is unbelievably cool. When the original Esquire article made it into a variety of other languages, I was ecstatic as only someone whoíd spent years learning a variety of foreign tongues (French, Russian, German, Romanian) could be.
With our upcoming adoption of a baby girl from China, Iím actually considering learning Mandarin Chinese. Most parents who adopt Chinese children have their kids later spend some time getting re-acquainted with their mother tongue so that they donít lose the simple ability of being able to wrap their mouths around the specific sounds demanded by that language, the idea being that youíre keeping the option of native fluency alive if the child someday decides she wants it.
Me, I consider it a great career move for anyone nowadays, because China simply offers such interesting possibilities for someone who can master the language. Even on the web, this can be a serious advantage. After all, within a few years Chinese will be the number one language on the Internet in terms of sheer pages of volume. So imagine what a huge advantage it would be to be able to blog in both English and Chinese!
Well, I just had that ability offered to me yesterday by one Claire Hong of Taiwan. My webmaster had told me just the day before that we were taking a lot of hits from Taiwan, or what Critt likes to call ìdeep looks.î Apparently, I didnít have to wait long to find out who was checking me out. Here is an edited version of the email Claire sent me yesterday.
Dear Mr. Barnett:As a student of foreign languages, Iím always simply impressed by anyone who can write so fluently in a tongue other than their motherís.
I would like to request for your permission to translate some of the Taiwan/China related articles on your personal weblog into Mandarin Chinese. Your view on the Globalization, world peace and the US role as a mediator between Taiwan and China appears to be quite fascinating and insightful to readers like me.
I would like to be your advocate and pass some of your messages to a wider Taiwan audience who do not have the best grasp of English but would appreciate reading your writing in Chinese instead. Hence this request.
With your gracious permission, I will post your original article and my translation to this following website: http://www.socialforce.org/phpBB/portal.php.
This is a non-commercial, non-profit public Internet discussion forum hosted and maintained by a group of very dedicated Taiwanese volunteers who care deeply about the future of their beloved island country. Many of us have taken part in the various movements that transformed Taiwan from the authoritarian state into today's Asian model of democracy & liberty . . .
Aside from watching the media and current affairs within Taiwan, our readers care about peace in Taiwan straits as well as the world. We have also started a movement to cover international news on our own by translating newsworthy articles and post them on the forum. This way we don't have to be manipulated and fooled by the local mass media on how the world is looking at Taiwan.
I plan to post my translation immediately beneath each of your original paragraph so the readers can refer directly back to your original. Your original publication site and your authorship will also be prominently placed on top of the posting . . .
I look forward to your permission to translate your past and future published articles (on Taiwan, China and related issues) on your weblog and distribute them in the Internet in the above described, non-profit manner. Again, you have my solemn promise that its use is strictly for non-profit, educational purposes. The original URL site and your original authorship will always appear in the most prominent position on top. Of course, I will always keep you apprised of such action.
We have asked Mr. John Tkacik from the Heritage Foundation and Mr. Tom Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute for similar permission and were fortunate to have earned their kind trust to translate a few pieces of their work already (on Taiwan presidential election and European Arms Sale to China). May I ask for the same privilege from you as well?
Thank you for your attention and I anxiously await your response.
International News Team of socialforce.org
While I have resisted offers to write guest pieces on other blogs (cross-posts on other sites are already driving traffic back here to the source) in general this offer is simply too good to pass up. I reach a bigger audience I could not otherwise interact with, and another connection to Chinese culture is born.
Someday perhaps Vonne Mei will exhibit the same drive and vision that Claire seems to possess in abundance already.
Being our daughter, this would not surprise me. But I will enjoy the wait.