Chinese Translator Spotlight: Dongxing Yu

Coursera GTC allows me to learn, contribute and develop continually. The talent and hard work my GTC colleagues have often impressed me a lot.

Our translator spotlight this week is on Dongxing Yu, a Chinese (Simplified) Translator and Reviewer for the Global Translator Community (GTC).

Please introduce yourself

My name is Dongxing Yu and I currently live in Shanghai, China. I am a PhD Researcher and I have been a member of the GTC since 2015. I am currently a Translator and Reviewer of GTC’s Chinese (Simplified) community.

What motivates you to translate for Coursera?

There are many reasons why I volunteer to translate for Coursera.

My mother once told me that she wanted to learn something new and get some new ideas from good knowledge providers like Coursera. My mother does not know any English and she needs the content to be available in Chinese. My mother is not alone; many people in her age in China after retirement have no interest in Square Dancing, they would rather enrich their own spiritual world by learning something new.

I have also felt translating Coursera courses can improve my translation skills. Moreover, I believe strongly in Coursera’s mission of providing universal access to the world’s best education. For this reason, good Chinese translation is indispensable.

What courses have you helped translate?

I have helped translate:

Marketing in a Digital World” offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

Corporate Finance Essentials” by IESE Business School;

Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics” by Universiteit Leiden, Meertens instituut (KNAW);

and “沃顿商务基础毕业项目 (中文版)” by the University of Pennsylvania.

What is one of the most difficult aspects about translating from English into your language?

Like Sisyphus, the difficulties for a translator is endless. It is hard to say what is the most difficult, but I can enumerate a few:

Some words have a lot of overlap in their respective Chinese and English definitions, but nonetheless have a mismatch in certain contexts. Other words might have an implied value judgment in one language but not in another. Sometimes the source or the target language has much more precise words to describe something because Chinese and English make use of potent metaphors in different ways. There are idioms to describe a very specific phenomenon or sensation, which have rough equivalents in the other language.

English has inherited from German the ability to make some verbs phrasal, or add a preposition to indicate direction or completion. In fact, Chinese allows more verbs to be phrasal and some are composed of two characters which inherently have a complement indicating direction or completion. So, how to translate phrasal verbs is a something of a headache.

What do you want people to know about the work that the GTC does?

Coursera GTC allows me to learn, contribute and develop continually. The talent, enthusiasm and hard work my GTC colleagues have often impressed me a lot.

I would like people to know that GTC needs more volunteers that are capable to join and help make the world’s best education accessible in other languages!