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Watching U.S. presidential debates a “frenzy” in China

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Republican presidential candidates debating in Las Vegas on Dec. 15. A network of volunteer translators in China 

called the Guojiang Subtitle Group has been posting videos of the debates online with Chinese subtitles. 

Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

BEIJING — From his graduate student dormitory in the southern city of Guangzhou, Yin Hao works late into the night with an online network of about half a dozen other volunteer translators. Their task: to post the American presidential debates, with Chinese subtitles.

北京——在南方城市广州,殷浩待在自己的研究生宿舍里,与网上另外五六个志愿翻译一起工作到深夜。他们的任务是:发布美国总统竞选的辩论视频,为其添加中文字幕。

"Watching the U.S. presidential debates is like watching a football match," said Mr. Yin, 29. "You see a lot of moves and tactics by the candidates, but eventually it all comes down to who scores."

"看美国总统候选人的辩论,就像是看足球比赛,"29岁的殷浩说。"你看到候选人做了很多动作,采取了大量战术,但最终一切取决于谁能进球。"

Mr. Yin, a confessed politics junkie, is a member of the Guojiang Subtitle Group, which brings together about 70 volunteers from across the country who produce Chinese subtitles for primarily American television shows. (He asked that his university not be identified, to avoid associating it with the project.) His decision to translate the debates was motivated by personal interest, he said, but it was also a response to Chinese people's desire to watch what he described as a "frenzy."

殷浩自称政治迷,是果酱字幕组的成员。该团队汇聚了约70名来自中国各地的志愿者,主要为美国电视节目制作中文字幕。(他不希望公布自己大学的名字,以免有人将该校与这个项目联系起来。)殷浩说,他决定翻译这些辩论节目是出于个人兴趣,但也是因为中国人希望观看他口中的这项"疯狂赛事"。

"We translate all the candidates' speeches, but because it involves a lot of work, we're sometimes slow to update," Mr. Yin said. "Republican debates are usually quite intense and entertaining, and we especially focus on those candidates with good polling results and on things that are interesting."

"我们翻译所有候选人的演讲,但是因为工作量很大,我们更新的速度有时候比较慢,"殷浩说。"共和党的辩论通常相当激烈,很有娱乐性,我们特别关注那些支持率高的候选人,关注那些有趣的内容。"

Once the translations are completed, the videos are uploaded to the group's Weibo account and onto Chinese video-sharing websites like Sina Video. Its subtitled video of the first Republican debate, on Aug. 6, generated millions of views in the days after its release, said Zhou Qianyu, 18, a high school student in Beijing who started the group in 2014.

翻译工作完成后,视频就被上传到该字幕组的微博帐号,以及新浪视频等中文视频分享网站上。周千钰表示,他们发布的8月6日共和党首场辩论的带字幕视频获得了数以百万计的观看量。他是北京的一名高中生,今年18岁,2014年时创立了该字幕组。

So far, Chinese officials have largely refrained from commenting publicly on the debates, but the face-offs among the American candidates have made some waves online. Some Chinese users have poked fun at the encounters, saying that they are little more than entertainment.

到目前为止,中国官员大多避免公开评论这些辩论,但是美国候选人之间的对峙在网上掀起了波澜。一些中国网民取笑这些辩论,说它们像娱乐节目。

"Very sophisticated and wonderful fight," said a Weibo user with the name I am afraid of roller coasters. "It's as fascinating as watching a reality show."

"高水平的精彩撕*,"一个名为"怕坐过山车"的微博用户写道。"跟看真人秀一样过瘾。"

A person with the handle Whea_O wrote, "This is way better than an American TV series."

另一个名叫"Whea_O"的用户称,"这可比美剧好看多了。"

Others have voiced dismay at the level of discussion.

其他一些人则表示了对讨论水平的失望。

"There isn't that much discussion of policy issues," said Zhang Xueqi, 26, a former business consultant in Beijing, after watching a video of the Dec. 15 Republican debate. "Many remarks are just sensational."

看完12月15日的共和党辩论后,26岁的前企业顾问张雪琪(音)说,"没什么关于政策问题的讨论。很多言论只是耸人听闻。"

Donald J. Trump, who leads most polls among the Republican candidates, and Hillary Clinton, who leads among the Democrats, appear to be attracting the most comment.

在针对共和党候选人的大部分民调中领先的唐纳德·J·特朗普(Donald J. Trump),和在民主党内领先的希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton),似乎是被评论得最多的。

A user called Dr. Jiaxiaojia praised Mrs. Clinton's self-confidence and noted that she had support from a Democratic rival on the issue of her email, while relations in the Republican camp sometimes resembled a "civil war."

一个名叫dr.贾小贾的用户称赞了克林顿的自信,并指出她在电子邮件问题上得到了党内一名竞争对手的支持,而共和党阵营内部的关系有时候则像是在"打内战"。

Another commenter wrote: "I will watch these women in 2016: Hillary Clinton, Aung San Suu Kyi and Tsai Ing-wen," referring to the Myanmar democracy leader and a candidate for the presidency of Taiwan.

另一人评论道:"2016,看这几个女人。希拉里·克林顿,昂山素季,蔡英文。"后两人分别是缅甸的民主领袖和台湾的总统候选人。

"I really dig old Trump, whose head has a gigantic hole and who won't stop his sensational remarks," the user I am afraid of roller coasters wrote. "I suspect Hillary will become president."

"喜欢特朗普这老头,脑洞无限大,语不惊人死不休,""怕坐过山车"说。"今年的总统估计是希拉里了。"

Mr. Yin said that the Republican debates appeared to be getting more attention in China thanks largely to Mr. Trump, whose often unbridled remarks have earned him the nickname "big mouth" in China. He is also known as "broken bed," a homonym for part of his name in Chinese: "Chuangpo."

殷浩说,由于特朗普,共和党辩论在中国引起了更多关注,中国人因为他那些无所顾忌的言论给他取了个绰号叫"大嘴"。他还有个名号叫"床破",是他名字的中文音近字。

Mr. Trump's misstatements about China have prompted occasional mockery. During the Republican debate on Nov. 10, he called the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement a disaster and China the "No. 1 abuser" of the United States.

特朗普对中国的错误描述时常引起人们的嘲弄。在11月10日的共和党辩论中,他称"跨太平洋伙伴关系协定"(Trans Pacific Partnership,简称TPP)是一场灾难,而中国是"欺负"美国最多的国家。

"The T.P.P. is a horrible deal," Mr. Trump said, adding, "It's a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone."

"TPP是个可怕的协议,"特朗普说,"这个协议的目的就是给中国开一扇后门,他们一直就这样,然后所有人都被他们占便宜。"

One problem: China is not part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as Mr. Trump's Republican rival, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, pointed out during the debate.

然而正如他的共和党对手、肯塔基州参议员兰德·保罗(Rand Paul)在辩论中指出的,这里面有一个问题:中国没有加入TPP。

The user running bunny 007 asked of Mr. Trump on Weibo: "Are you joking on purpose? How could you not know? How can you be the big boss?" The comment concluded with an emoji of a sweating face.

微博用户"奔跑的兔子007"问特朗普:"你是在搞笑吗?你怎么可能不知道?你这样怎么当大老板啊?"评论的最后是一个流汗的表情符号。

Mr. Trump is not the only candidate to have criticized China. At the same debate on Nov. 10, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey accused China of online warfare against the United States and promised that his administration would retaliate with "cyberwarfare like they have never seen before" and release embarrassing information about the Chinese leadership. "We will make sure all the Chinese people see it," Mr. Christie said.

特朗普并非唯一对中国有批评言论的候选人。同样在11月10日那场辩论上,新泽西州长克里斯·克里斯蒂(Chris Christie)指责中国对美国发起了网络战,并承诺他的政府会用"他们闻所未闻的网络战"予以报复,并公布让中国领导人丢脸的信息。"我们一定要让全体中国人看到,"克里斯蒂说。

Another candidate, the former chief of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina, has argued that the United States should work with its allies to contain China, which she called a "rising adversary."

另一位候选人、惠普(Hewlett-Packard)前首席执行官卡莉·菲奥里纳(Carly Fiorina)则提出,美国应该和盟国携手遏制中国,她称该国是一个"正在崛起的对手"。

Many Chinese view such comments from their country's critics with a shrug. Hu Di, 33, who works in marketing at a solar power company in Beijing, said: "They have always treated China as a competitor, and their policy now is to contain China. They want to prevent China from overtaking their No. 1 spot."

对于这些针对其国家的批评,许多中国人不以为然。现年33岁、在北京一家太阳能公司做市场推广的胡迪(音)说:"他们总是把中国当竞争对手,他们现在的策略就是遏制中国。他们想阻止中国取代他们成为世界第一。"

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 54 percent of Chinese respondents believed the United States was seeking to limit China's rise, while 67 percent said China would replace or had already replaced the United States as a superpower.

皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)近日的一项调查发现,54%的中国受访者相信美国正在试图抑制中国的崛起,而67%的人称中国即将或已经取代美国成为一个超级大国。

But sometimes the candidates' remarks go too far for the translators at the Guojiang Subtitle Group.

但有时候,候选人的言论对于果酱字幕组来说有点过头了。

"When translating certain strong statements, we'll pay close attention, and if certain words are too strong, we'll tone them down," Ms. Zhou said.

"翻译一些强硬言论的时候,我们会特别注意,如果有的字眼太强硬,我们会弱化处理,"周千钰说。

At least once, the translators decided to go a step further.

至少有一次,译者决定采取更进一步的手段。

During the Dec. 15 Republican debate, Mr. Paul attacked the suggestion by Mr. Trump that the United States should block parts of the Internet to prevent the Islamic State from attracting recruits. Mr. Paul said: "Trump says we ought to close that Internet thing. The question really is, what does he mean by that? Like they do in North Korea? Like they do in China?"

12月15日的共和党初选辩论中,保罗抨击特朗普关于部分屏蔽互联网、阻止伊斯兰国招募成员的主张,他说"特朗普说我们应该关闭什么互联网。问题是,他究竟什么意思?像朝鲜那样?像中国那样?"

The Chinese subtitles replaced "China" with "other countries."

中文字幕把"中国"改成了"其他国家"。

2016-06-22

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