I’ve the habit, when learning a language, of using classic poems as practice texts, alongside more modern works. With Japanese, I got a couple books out of this. Now with Chinese, I’m doing it again. So far I’ve translated 70+ poems, mostly from the Tang dynasty, mostly by working through 300 Tang Poems (唐詩三百首), but also other randoms as I stumble across them. The more polished work gets indexed in this post, with rougher drafts posted in this journal as I initially complete them. Feedback welcome at all levels and stages of work.
A friend and I are working through the Josh Whedon TV series Firefly and translating the Chinese phrases in each episode. We post video clips from the show and audio clips of us pronouncing the phrases along with our non-expert analysis of the word usage. We've posted everything from the pilot ("Serenity") and we're now working on episode 2 ("The Train Job"). Hopefully we'll finish up in the next month or so but I figured we mind as well share now as folks all over are already celebrating the show's tenth year anniversary.
This project grew out of a curiosity to find out what Chinese people think about their country and their future. In 2010, I traveled to major urban centers in eastern China stopping people on the street to ask the same two questions about their country and their future: "What does China mean to you?" and "What is your role in China's future?" The respondents filled out a one-page typewritten questionnaire that included these two questions and some basic information including name, age, and occupation. The questions were interpreted variously, and the responses range from prosaic to poetic, from rote to inspired, and from unemotional to patriotic. While it’s difficult to draw conclusions about the entire population, the people photographed here expressed a sincere love of country and optimism about the country’s future development and peaceful position in the world. The final project incorporates about 100 portraits/interviews and includes people of various ages, gender, wealth, and hometown. For each person in the project, between five and ten declined to be photographed or fill out the questionnaire. You can read more about the project here.