Newsletter #14 – Merry Christmas – 2013 in review

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Christmas is a time of giving – but we’ve already been given a lot this year. We will take this last newsletter of 2013 as an opportunity to thank those who contributed to our efforts – and be grateful.

First, we would like to acknowledge the work of the Marco Polo Project team, more particularly that of our web development manager, Ross Ensbey. Under his leadership, we launched a new gamified version of our website with improved side-by-side translation, and shifted our hosting to the cloud. We would also like to thank Fau-Zii Chan and Serge Soudoplatoff for donating space on their servers, and significantly reducing our operating costs as a result. Let’s not forget the generosity of our graphic designers – particularly George Galanis who redesigned our website, and Glenn Stephenson who created an amazing infographics and RSAnimate to present our project.

Our editorial line has grown through the work of our interns Sarah and Mansi. We added an ‘easy read’ column to our front page, while continuing to source diverse, high quality non-fiction from the Chinese web. Writers have been remarkably supportive in granting us license to republish their texts, and we’re looking forward to working more closely with some of them in the future.

Marco Polo Project is now registered as a charity, thanks largely to the support of our legal advisors, Seeyan Lee and Jenny Wu. We received our first government grants from the Victorian Multicultural Commission and theDepartment of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Their support will allow us to run the first Australia-China Festival of Digital Literature in 2014, bringing together readers, writers and translators from both countries. This success, and the success of the coming festival, are not ours alone, but come from the support of many people and organisations who have put faith in us, particularly Yeeyan,DanweiAsialinkLanguage ConnectionBeijing BookwormThe Wheeler CentreMelbourne Writers FestivalEmerging Writers FestivalAALITRA,LCNAUFYAPozibleHub Melbourne.

Finally, we would like to thank our community. Together, we translated thousands of characters, and with each new sentence, we made the bridge between China and the Western world that little bit stronger. Our twitter following has grown to beyond 500, our facebook fans above 1500, and we’re building a Chinese-speaking community through Weibo – with plans to bring these various groups more closely together in 2014. We are also growing offline, with translation workshops and all-you-can-translate events running in Melbourne and Nanjing (largely thanks to the efforts of our interns Beate and Zhou), and hopefully soon Shanghai, Beijing and Sydney.

In short, this has been an epic year. Thank you for support, all of you – and we’ll see you for more in 2014!

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Marco Polo Project translation events

The Marco Polo Project is looking for partners to organise all-you-can translate events in and outside China.

Translation events bring together native speakers of Chinese and/or English for a 2h30 translation race, followed by discussion. They’re a great opportunity to read good writing, improve language skills, and make new friends.

All-you-can-translate events are extremely cheap to run – you just need a space with good WIFI, a few computers or tablets, and a small group of people willing to spend time together reading and translating Chinese. If you’re interested in organising your own, send us an email at info@marcopoloproject.org, post a comment on this page, or contact us through facebook, twitter or weibo. We will send you a full event pack, including pdf handouts, and help you set up your first event.

The video below introduces our event – if you can’t access it, this link will take you to the youku version, accessible in China.