chinaSMACK provides non-Chinese language readers a glimpse into modern China and Chinese society by translating popular and trending Chinese internet content and netizen discussions from China’s largest and most influential websites, discussion forums, and social networks into English.
Anatomy of a chinaSMACK Translation Article
The majority of chinaSMACK articles feature translations of Chinese internet content as they were at the time a chinaSMACK translator came upon them. To help readers differentiate between what a chinaSMACK translator is saying and what the chinaSMACK translator is merely translating, such articles are typically formatted and presented with the following conventions:
Text that is indented like this are typically English translations of Chinese internet articles, videos, or the first/original post starting a Chinese discussion forum topic. In other words, it is typically what Chinese netizens are reading or seeing and may subsequently comment on.
Text that is blockquoted like this are typically English translations of Chinese netizen comments or microblog posts. Chinese netizen comments are usually indicated by having the Chinese netizen’s username displayed above and outside the blockquote surrounding the text of their comment. Microblog posts, however, are usually indicated by having the microblogger’s username prefaced with an ‘@’ displayed at the front of and within the blockquote surrounding the text of their microblog post. Often, their username is also linked directly to their original Chinese microblog post.
[Any text within brackets like this found within a translation are typically clarifications, explanations, or asides inserted by the translator or editor to help with comprehension. Normally, this should also therefore be indented or blockquoted.]
Above a piece of translated (indented or blockquoted) Chinese internet content is a bolded and linked citation of its source, which is typically a major Chinese internet media website, web portal, or social networking site. Note that sometimes the links may be “broken”, leading you to a webpage that no longer exists. This is usually because the source has subsequently been moved or possibly deleted. If a source disappears after it has been translated but before the translation has been published, we will usually indicate so with a note such as “(no longer available)”.
Regularly formatted text like this are typically introductions, background information, summaries, paraphrasings, explanations, or comments in the translator or editor’s own words, rather than translations of any originally Chinese text from any originally Chinese source.
Hovering your mouse cursor over translated text will typically reveal a pop-up showing the original Chinese text that has been translated. This is provided as a convenience to readers who wish to compare our translations to the original language and may be useful for language learners.
Text that is italicized may indicate romanizations of foreign language words, typically Chinese words rendered in Chinese pinyin. Often, these are fun Chinese slang or internet memes and linked to their respective entry in our Glossary in case you’ve forgotten what they mean. Sometimes we romanize Chinese words because there is no adequate English equivalent and other times, we do so because we think chinaSMACK readers will enjoy gradually becoming familiar with such terms that are commonly found in Chinese internet culture.
Finally, please note that chinaSMACK does not endorse the statements or opinions it translates. The emphasis of our translation articles is “how was this presented on the Chinese internet and how were some Chinese netizens reacting”. Likewise, chinaSMACK cannot vouch for the veracity of the information it translates, only that it was the information as presented in the cited source at the time of translation. It is not uncommon that conflicting or new information may be published elsewhere or subsequently, especially since it takes time for something to become popular and then translated.
Started in July 2008, chinaSMACK began as a personal project for Fauna (coyly pictured above), a young Shanghainese girl committed to improving her English language skills by translating the Chinese internet stories, pictures, and videos that were popular online. Despite English being taught to nearly every schoolchild in China, she knew her English would never be functional without daily practice.
She hopes you’ll never go back and judge her earliest translations.
Over the years, chinaSMACK has grown into one of the most popular, trafficked, and regularly cited English-language group blogs covering a nation undergoing unprecedented development and change boasting the world’s largest number of internet users.
Remaining true to its roots, chinaSMACK focuses on sharing through translation the news and topics that mainstream Chinese netizens are actually talking about, which has–for better or worse–earned chinaSMACK a reputation for being edgy, sensational, and controversial.
In addition to popularizing coverage of Chinese internet culture and trends, chinaSMACK is also famous for featuring a selection of translated Chinese internet user comments and reactions along with each article, allowing chinaSMACK readers to get an idea of what some Chinese netizens think or feel.
chinaSMACK’s editorial mission therefore is to make the Chinese internet more accessible to anyone interested who cannot read Chinese, through a naturally engaging and unapologetically raw format, with a minimum amount of editorializing to allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
Today, chinaSMACK’s staff and contributors include both Chinese and non-Chinese individuals of different backgrounds, both in and outside of mainland China, who share a common passion for what Chinese internet culture can reveal about Chinese society today, and the belief that what is revealed ultimately shows that Chinese people and “foreigners” are not so different after all.
chinaSMACK has been featured and referenced by many media publications and personalities, including:
- NPR (a href=”http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/08/30/216426869/too-weird-to-be-true-in-china-you-never-can-tell” title=”Too Weird To Be True? In China, You Never Can Tell” target=”_blank”>npr.org)
- CNN (cnn.com)
- MSN (msn.com)
- The Next Web (thenextweb.com)
- The Colbert Report (screenshot – clip)
- The Korea Times (koreatimes.co.kr)
- Dashan aka Mark Rowswell (weibo.com)
- Daily Mail (dailymail.co.uk)
- CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- The Straits Times (straitstimes.com)
- The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com)
- The Times Of India (indiatimes.com)
- MSNBC (msnbc.com)
- The Economist (economist.com)
- Global Times (globaltimes.cn)
- AsiaOne (asiaone.com)
- The New Yorker (newyorker.com)
- Agencia EFE (efe.com)
- Gizmodo (gizmodo.com)
- The Independent (independent.co.uk)
- International Herald Tribune (nytimes.com)
- AFP (afp.com)
- BBC News (news.bbc.co.uk)
- New York Times (nytimes.com)
- CNN (cnn.com)
- Liberation (liberation.fr)
- Slate (slate.com)
- Advertising Age (adage.com)
- Harper’s Magazine (harpers.org)
- China Daily (chinadaily.com.cn)
- CNNGo (cnngo.com)
- The Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
- La Voz de Galicia (lavozdegalicia.es)
- El Universal (eluniversal.com.mx)
- Le Monde (lemonde.fr)
- The Atlantic (jamesfallows.theatlantic.com)
- CNET Asia (asia.cnet.com)
- Youku Buzz (buzz.youku.com)
- The Times (timesonline.co.uk)
- The Telegraph (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- People’s Daily (people.com.cn)
- City Weekend (cityweekend.com.cn)
- The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com)
- That’s Shanghai (shanghai.urbanatomy.com)
- France 24 (observers.france24.com)
- The Sydney Morning Herald (smh.com.au)
- The Guardian (guardian.co.uk)
- The Australian (news.com.au)
- Time (china.blogs.time.com)
- Danwei.org (danwei.org)
- Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)
- The Wall Street Journal (blogs.wsj.com/chinajournal)
If you’ve seen chinaSMACK somewhere not listed above, please let us know!