New Chinese blog, and translating my thesis to Chinese

December 20, 2010, [MD]

Ever since I began the research on my MA thesis on the Chinese Top Level Courses Project, I was aware that I wanted to get the thesis translated into Chinese. Not only because I believe it's the only ethical thing to do – when so many people in China have gone out of their way to help me in my research (see my thoughts about this), but also because I want my thesis to be a part of the scholarly discourse in China.

Almost nobody in the West have even heard about this project, so they are not in a position to judge the veracity of most of what I present. The real test is having the people who research and work with the project on a daily basis read my thesis - if I have gotten things wrong, I hope they will let me know.

Unfortunately, I have to pay for the translation out of my own pocket, and I had to wait until I could afford it. I spent quite a while looking for someone who were willing to do it for the little money I could offer, but still do a good job - I was offering about 1/3 of the going price among professional translation agencies.

Through a friend at South China Normal University, I was extremely lucky to find someone who was not only deeply immersed in the literature on open education, but was also a very solid translator. He has already translated the first chapter, and I am very impressed by the fidelity to the original, and the naturalness of the language. When the whole thesis has been translated, I hope to work with some Chinese students to extract an article or two, to submit to Chinese academic journals.

I am eager to get the translation done, and be able to send it out to all my contacts in China. But it occurred to me that there is no reason to wait until I have the complete translation, before I begin sharing it. I serialized my thesis in English on this blog, but that was when the thesis was already done. In this case, I thought I'd serialize the Chinese translation as each piece emerges from translation.

I also thought that it would be nice to have a place to showcase my other Chinese-language resources, for example the Chinese presentations I have done. So I set up a Chinese blog, and began by posting the chapter that has already been translated.

I am very curious about the reaction - I sent the link to the English thesis to all my contacts in China, and although I received much appreciation, I did not receive a single substantive comment on the contents of my thesis, which makes me think that many did not end up reading it. (I don't blame them - if you send me a 100-page academic thesis in Chinese, I have to be very motivated to read it). It will be interesting to see if the availability of the Chinese version changes this.


Stian Håklev December 20, 2010 Toronto, Canada
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