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Weilin YE
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English to Chinese: Big Questions: Our Father, Where Art Thou?
General field: Art/Literary
Detailed field: Art, Arts & Crafts, Painting
Source text - English

A review of Anders Nilsen’s Big Questions. Limited edition signed and numbered hardcover, 7.25 x 9.25, colour, 658 pages.

Synopsis: A group of finches begin to consider the form of their sustenance and the structure of their lives; both of these governed by men who take on the stature of gods. One is a worldly, hallucinating fighter pilot delivering mystery in the form of a bomb — impatient, anhedonic, and destructive. The other is an “idiot” who takes what he can from nature; giving and removing life with the mercurial judgement of deity. An old and a new testament. The birds begin to take sides in keeping with their intellectual dispositions. The former figure attracts a complex theology, the latter, almost simple faith, trust, and finally devotion. There is a war of the gods and a hopeful denouement. The birds end up where they started, finally settling the big question they began with. Or have they…

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

Matthew 6:26

Those looking for an encapsulation of the ingenuity and promise of the 90s small press — that calculated rawness, that sense of adventure, that palm-sized aesthetic object — could do worse than read Ron Rege Jr.’s Skibber Bee-Bye. Anders Nilsen’s collected Big Questions ,itself a product of the 90s, re-imagines this for the new millennium — that slow, hesitating shuffle away from Fort Thunder and its adherents into a world of hefty Smyth-sewn tomes heavy enough to kill a small animal. This world is more laid back, engineered, and formal; as thick and traditional in its narrative as Dash Shaw’s Bottomless Belly Button (a younger cousin of sorts), yet more sprightly and clever, and difficult to envision in any form except comics.

This new edition of Big Questions is easily digested in a single sitting and is the only sensible way to read Nilsen’s work. The individual issues suffer from a certain brevity and disconnect wrought through drawn out publication schedules, yet remain ultimately necessary for those interested in supporting independent comics artists and their publications. It is, perhaps, only in this collected edition that the inter-species relationships of Nilsen’s comic thicken and caramelize, only here that the pitched battles acquire any degree of emotional tension, only here that the scope of the entire work can be appreciated.

Nilsen describes the genesis of Big Questions some fourteen years ago in his afterword, recalling an artist’s workshop where a “very simple story…emerged [involving] a lost soldier in a barren landscape, a group of birds, and a plane crash”. He describes the process of learning how to draw comics over the course of this project, and that growth is clearly evident even within the first 100 pages of this collection. It is within these pages that we see ideas introduced and then discarded as they are found to be less useful (the somewhat clumsily drawn squirrels replaced by more vicious carrion eaters for instance); something we find not infrequently in comics which begin in a more freewheeling spirit before gaining concentration and more straightened purpose. Long dissertations give way to space and silence; static points of view are replaced by movement across panels and the use of the full expanse of the comics page; hesitating stippled backgrounds progress to detail and increasing complexity. All this mirroring Nilsen’s increasing confidence and conviction as a storyteller.

The “talking birds” come to Nilsen quite early and form the cornerstone of the early issues and chapters of Big Questions. The imagery seems at first to thrive on the curious irony of having birds consider impossible mysteries. The first of these (reiterated once again at the close of Nilsen’s comic) concerns nothing less than predestination and free-will.

[The first big question]

Crystallized ideas and inquiries are pressed on the reader through this act of reduction. Our own wants are seen in the light of specks of indistinguishable food; our destinies seen more clearly and simply in the threads of fate that envelop the humble life of birds.

[Food and Life according to the birds]

Nilsen’s comic is a fable and parable asking us to reflect on where we are. The simplicity with which these ornithological forms and the distilled elements of their lives putting into sharp focus our own frailties and needs. The forms are delineated with a few strokes of Nilsen’s pen and brush but their direction, posture, and deployment suggest compassion, anger, and depression.

“I kind of like the idea that they are, in a way, all the same bird, just reacting to different situations and contexts. The sameness of the birds was an accident in a way, but ultimately I decided to embrace it as part of the book’s content.”

Anders Nilsen in an interview with James Romberger

These quickly drawn shapes almost never suggest the identity of the speaker. This can only be determined through deduction, dialogue and setting; a device which instills that sense of allegory which is itself reinforced by the author’s use of emblematic marks and legend. All this slowly coalescing into a grand narrative of interweaving lines — planned, symmetrical, and increasing in complexity — suggesting forms like a star of Bethlehem or the “Ley lines” and fractals which cut through nature; the meandering flight of birds; the by-ways of fortune.

At one point, an airplane (a bomber) casts a dark shape over a pastoral landscape — an outsized shadow of the birds and hence ourselves.

Much later we find a short journey into the underworld and Orphic myth.

When Nilsen recalls the places and settings of his tale in the final pages of his work, we find both symbols and a microcosm: an Arcadian field; a fallen tree; a bomb crater containing the shadows and bones of the fallen scavenged by crows and wild dogs; a snake’s burrow guarding the entrance to the underworld; a river which is both the Jordan and the Styx; and life in cold relief.

Religious themes punctuate the narrative consistently and continuously. The leader of a group of Messianic finches is called Zwingly (presumably after the reformer Zwingli), the proselytizing concerning the new religion is done by birds identified as evangelists. It is a mystery play with birds (Betty and Charlotte) standing in for the faithful-doubtful women kneeling at the foot of the cross or waiting faithfully at the empty tomb. There is an aged and kindly reptile guarding the gates to the underworld…

…and an erstwhile deity emerges like Wally Wood’s spaceman from the husk of a giant bird (a “miraculous visitation”) — a virgin birth; an Athena springing forth from the head of Zeus; a parthenogenetic celestial appearing before their eyes.

[“Jesus” by Wally Wood; “He Walked Among Us”]

A centerpiece of this exploration is the Lazarene miracle surrounding a finch called, Bayle. Raised from the dead even as he is killed by his faith — that ridiculous and dangerous longing to be held in the hand of an unknown force.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

There are other correspondences. The biblical narrative suggests that Jesus tarried for 2 days after receiving word of Lazarus’ illness (“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”) only then starting for Judea and Bethany. And so it is in Nilsen’s narrative, where death is almost an act of capriciousness and, more than this, devoid of compassion. Here, the author suggests that both life and death come from the same source, one so distant and unapproachable as to seem to emanate from an imbecile, monster, or saint.

Nilsen’s standalone illustrations often depict wastelands, roadside accidents, and dumps. Disemboweled bodies centered in image and yet anonymous in their deaths; touched by some unseen pastel hand or angel; a vision of our fickle lives.

[Illustration work by Anders Nilsen]

Of course, Bayles’ death (a drowning) is made doubly significant for being a baptism from which he rises like the Holy Spirit above his messiah’s brow.

[Piero della Francesca’s Baptism of Christ]

The ornitho-Christological theme is pressed to its limit: a feeding or, perhaps, a preaching to the birds by St. Francis occurs at one point; and a latter day Elijah is fed by the same winged beasts at journey’s end.

The doughnuts and crumbs upon which the finches feed become nothing less than the elements of the Eucharist, laced with the meat and blood of transubstantiation; a meal which is cursorily ridiculed as it has been through the ages.

Like Eurydice and her pomegranate seeds, the bread is tainted not only by innocence but war and regret. “You are what you eat, little bird.” proclaims a carrion crow,

Nilsen never answers the big question he begins with, only jabbing lightly at the fabric of existence. If there is an answer in his puzzle and construct, it is the answer provided by the lives which writhe and weave before us in his tale; now seen from a factual and atheistic distance. A world governed by intention, coincidence, accidents, and foolishness. We can see some similarities with the work of Kevin Huizenga in that artist’s own “sermon notes” comics, philosophical inquires, scientific discursions, and theological musings.

Plato’s Cave is for the birds

Neither is particularly dismissive but Nilsen is the true skeptic. He peppers his narrative with religious absurdities while occasionally leavening them with more kindly interpretation. His non-existent God is something which we feed and give life to, a concept which sometimes give us strength through blind chance and misplaced faith. As he states in his interview with Romberger:

“I think about that word, Asomatognosia, as a kind of metaphor for the religious impulse. I heard about the condition while listening to an interview with the neurologist Oliver Sacks. He described it as a condition where one loses one’s sense of ownership over a limb, usually an arm or hand…That sort of alienation from one’s own sense of control, our own agency, to me works as a kind of metaphor for the displacement of responsibility that a belief in the supernatural, or in god can sometimes entail. “

We can detect that appreciation for Sacks’ wry humor throughout this comic, not least in a skeletal evangelist reciting a Panglossian homily to a former friend.

“Everything will turn out right in the end…”

…and the triumph of worldly “faith” and enlightenment.

The flower pots arranged and rearranged making us more keenly aware of their fragrance and color; the investigations and queries handled broadly rather than in depth; removing mystery from life. Nilsen would be the first to admit this and does so in his interview with Matthias Wivel at the metabunker:

“Nilsen: No, I haven’t read a lot of philosophy…I’m just curious about the world. Most of what I read is non-fiction; not philosophy explicitly, but I’ve always been interested in those kinds of issues, the heart of the matter…So I don’t think I approach these issues with a lot of knowledge about what philosophers who dealt with them before me thought about them, I don’t have a strong grasp of the history of them, but they’re just interesting questions and I’m learning. Also, my grandfather, my mother’s father, was a Lutheran minister of a very universalist stripe, so I think that some of the issues that I’m interested in are theological and stem from that…

Wivel: Are you religious?

I’m not religious at all, but I’m interested in thinking about religious issues, the nature of the world, meaning, things like that.”

If there is a problem with Nilsen’s comic, it would be this marginal interest — not so strange and wonderful to behold as the belief bordering on insanity we find in films like Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, and yet not so supremely intellectual in its contempt as to engage the reader’s mind fully. What remains is the emotional and aesthetic core of the narrative: the gradual mastery of form and narrative; the heat of battle; the sweetness of conversation; the pain of parting; and that sadness spoken through animals. And, perhaps, this is just enough to make us believe.

Translation - Chinese


想看封装了纯朴与希望的20世纪90年代小人书的人——那种经过计算的粗糙感,那番冒险情趣,那手掌大小的美学物件——可以做出比读Ron Rege Jr.的《Skibber Bee-Bye》更糟的选择。安德斯·尼尔森的《大问题》合集本身就是90年代产物,为新千年重现了这一风格——那种缓慢犹豫的拖沓步伐从Fort Thunder艺术社区及其拥护者们那里移开,转入厚重到足以杀死小动物的史密斯装订大部头。这个世界更加轻松随意、设计精巧且注重形式;叙事和Dash Shaw的《Bottomless Belly Button》一样厚重而传统(可以算是兄弟之作),却更加活泼机智,难以想象将之呈现于漫画外的任何形式。








“有个想法让我很中意,就是它们从某种意义上说是同一只鸟,只是根据不同情境和背景做出反应。鸟儿们的同一性从某种意义上说是个意外,但最终我还是决定拥抱它,接纳它作为书中内容的一部分。”安德斯·尼尔森在与漫画家詹姆斯·容伯格(James Romberger)的一次对谈中表示。

这些速写的形象几乎从不显露说话者的身份,只能通过演绎、对话和背景进行判断;这种手法里灌输了讽喻,讽喻本身靠着作者对于象征标志和说明文字的使用得到强化。这些全都慢慢融入交错的叙事主线——经过设计、对称且愈加复杂——让人联想到伯利恒之星或“灵线”(Ley lines)之类的形状以及从自然中切过的断层分形;鸟儿们蜿蜒曲折的飞行线;命运的轨迹。





……还有往昔之神如漫画家瓦力·伍德(Wally Wood)笔下的宇航员一般从巨鸟之中破壳而出(一场“奇迹般的圣母往见”)——如同处女生子;如同雅典娜从宙斯脑袋里蹦出来;单性生殖诞下的天神近在眼前。

[瓦力·伍德笔下的“耶稣”,“他与我们同行”,将Jerome Kraft带到外星球上的飞船被小行星撞毁,两千年之后的4903年人们登上这颗外星球,发现当地人的项链和建筑上都有奇怪的形状,当地人解释这个形状是拉伸酷刑架,身为“Kraftians”的信徒都会佩戴,而建筑则是祭拜场所,用以纪念他们宗教的神,他曾因帮助穷人而被权贵施以酷刑,之后显灵,制造过很多奇迹。]


[“落在永生神的手里,真是可怕的!”(希伯来书 10:31)。]



[安德斯·尼尔森漫画《狗和水》法语版封面,Acte Sud出版社,2005年]


当然,Bayle的死(溺水) 还有第二层意义,这意味着一次洗礼,它如圣灵一般升空,飞到弥赛亚的眉毛之上。





尼尔森从不回答他自己一开始提出的大问题,只是旁敲侧击存在的构成。如果在他的谜题和构造中存在一个答案,那也是通过他故事里在我们眼前晃来晃去的角色之口点出;现在透过一段无神论式的真实距离呈现出来。一个由意图、巧合、意外和愚蠢支配的世界。我们可以看出与凯文·休岑加(Kevin Huizenga)漫画作品的异曲同工之妙,那种“布道辞”漫画,哲学疑问、科学漫谈和神学冥想。



“我想到‘自体感觉缺乏’(Asomatognosia)一词,用来比喻宗教冲动。听神经学家奥利佛·萨克斯(Oliver Sacks)访谈时我了解到这个疾病。他将该症状描述为某人对自己的肢体感觉缺失,通常是一支胳膊或一只手……那种失去自身机体控制力的异化感,对我来说就是一个人在相信超自然力或神明的情况下有时会产生的责任转移。”




花盆反复变换摆法会让我们注意到花香和色泽;探究和质疑在广度而非深度上展开;将谜题从生活中抽离。尼尔森会首当其冲承认这一点,在艺术史学家马蒂亚斯·威孚(Matthias Wivel)的博客“metabunker”上可以看到尼尔森在与他的对谈里如是说:




English to Chinese: Chinese Choices
General field: Art/Literary
Detailed field: Art, Arts & Crafts, Painting
Source text - English

Li Kunwu and Philippe Ôtié’s A Chinese Life is the kind of book I would normally resist reading; the chief reason being it’s overly familiar subject matter.

For a period during the 80-90s, it seemed almost impossible to escape the Cultural Revolution Industry. These were the scar dramas which followed in the footsteps of the scar literature; the subject de jour once Deng Xiaoping pronounced that period between 1966 to 1976 as being “ten years of catastrophe” (shinian haojie). As far as the Western sphere is concerned, one should not underestimate the effect the commercial success of works like Jung Chang’s Wild Swans had on this era. For Chinese writers and filmmakers who had stories to tell and willing publishers and financiers, the Cultural Revolution soon became ten years ripe for cultural monetization.

As far as Chinese contemporary art is concerned, a collector once laughingly told me that Chinese artists had discovered that the key to financial success was to make art which is “political.” Not an approach alien to the professional writer who understands full well that controversy sells, but here made more acute by the Western preoccupation with China’s political woes almost to the exclusion of all else (anyone read any non-political Chinese literature lately?).

The 2012 Nobel Literature prize winner, Mo Yan, presents us with the opposite side of the coin. The disgust with which some Western-based China watchers and dissidents greeted his elevation to the ranks of the literary “elite” was largely based on his poor politics and only secondarily his lack of literary merit. In short, he is perceived in some parts to be a party boot licker or at best a literary coward without a strong inclination to be exiled and imprisoned like a latter day Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn or, more precisely, the Nobel Peace laureate, Liu Xiaobo. Mo Yan’s novels are in fact frequently political but not in the way favored by Western journalists and academics. He is, in fact, the wrong kind of Chinese novelist.

A Chinese Life is a bit late to the party and passed with minimal notice in the year of its publication. Its contents would appear to be of a piece with the literature and movies which have inundated the West since the opening of the Chinese market. As a comic, it is solidly mediocre, the kind of “worthy” book some would point to if questioned concerning the suitability of comics for adults. It does gain some gravitas from its roots in autobiography but, as always, the failure here lies in the lack of narrative imagination and literary beauty—as history, it is far too shallow; as a work of literature, plodding and unemotive. It was, in short, an absolute chore to get through and ranks as one of the worst things I’ve encountered concerning China’s late 20th century history. The fault lies largely with Ôtié who fails to sculpt Li’s story into an engaging whole. All that remains is Li’s frequently interesting draftsmanship; he is a good artist undone by a poor storyteller.

If a reviewer like Rob Clough is made to wonder whether A Chinese Life is propaganda, it is simply the result of the largely unexamined and uninterrogated life which fills these pages—an approach which informs not only the third and final book of A Chinese Life (the one concerning modern China) but, for all intents and purposes, its entire length. If there is one exception to this rule, it would be Li’s thoughts on the “6/4” incident.

A Chinese Life_0001

A Chinese Life_0002

So what made me borrow and read this book? Well, it was this snippet from a review by Rob Clough:

“The whole philosophy of the book is very much “the past is the past”…we once again go back to the Deng doctrine of “Development is our first priority”. As Li describes it, it’s the only priority.

This leads to an interstitial scene where Li and Otie argue about how best to present his view on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Otie stresses to him the importance of this event to Western readers, and Li is resistant, because he said that he wasn’t anywhere near Beijing, only listened to the reports on the radio and has no idea what actually happened. Because he “didn’t personally suffer”, it wasn’t something that was really part of his story like the Cultural Revolution, Great Leap Forward…He notes that while he understands that lives were lost and people suffered, he considered the event within the context of Chinese history. Essentially, he was tired of China being a whipping boy for foreign interests and invaders. He was tired of instability. He was tired of being behind the industrialized nations of the world. The most salient quote is “China needs order and stability. The rest is secondary.” The past is the past. Development is the first priority.

It’s a statement that makes a degree of sense within the context of a countryman who suffered during the prior youth revolution (indeed, some women in his story fear the events of the protests as the potential return of the Red Guard)…It is disappointing, however, to see an intelligent man like Li who fancies himself a moralist in rooting out corruption to simply toss aside human rights and freedoms as expendable when the corporate well-being of China is involved. It is a kind of moral compartmentalization that reeks of hypocrisy, the same kind of hypocrisy he faced (and was part of) during the Cultural Revolution. It values dogma (or progress) over humanity.” [emphasis mine]

But what exactly does a word like a “progress” mean to a person like Li? His words are sparse, his actual intentions up for conjecture. When Li indicates that, “China needs order and stability. The rest is secondary,” should we take his words as those of a coward, a hypocrite, or one with little respect for “humanity?” Can there in fact be any conception of human rights in a state without order and stability?

What can it mean for a man like Li to hear of distant reports of protesters being killed when the reports in earlier times had been those of war and cannibalism; the evidence before his eyes that of people dropping like flies by the wayside. The past clearly isn’t the past for Chinese citizens like Li. If anything, it thoroughly colors their perception of China’s present day fortunes.

A Chinese Life_0003

Two other reviews online arrive at the same point as Clough in the course of their largely positive reviews:

“Li is far more a witness than a commentator. He declines to cover the events of Tiananmen Square because, he says, he wasn’t even there (but that scene with his co-writer Philippe Ôtié shows him wriggling apologetically to avoid it – it was obviously a bone of contention), and you won’t see Tibet mentioned once. He’s far prouder of what China has accomplished in thirty-five short years…” Stephen at Page 45

“Although this 60 year story largely ignores China’s fragile relationship with Taiwan and Tibet and only briefly mentions Tiananmen square, Li acknowledges these weaknesses by openly accepting that this is a story of his life, a single man, and no single man lives through all the history of his entire country (he didn’t know anyone affected by Tiananmen and therefore had little to say).” Hardly Written

The reviews which accompanied the publication of A Chinese Life seem more useful in revealing the differing attitudes of readers (presumably) from the West and the mainland Chinese; for Li’s attitude towards the Tiananmen demonstrations are hardly novel and have been ennunciated periodically over the years by the Chinese people. On the other hand, it is all too clear that the Tiananmen Massacre is one of the central prisms through which the West understands China, in much the same way the word “Africa” conjures up images of war, famine, and disease for the casual reader.

These reviewers would appear to be readers who have grown up in stable and ordered societies while Li has actually been one of those deluded and disappointed revolutionaries; one who has been recurrently attracted to mass movements. These experiences have clearly allowed him to entertain doubts concerning received notions of what is best for China and what human beings need first and foremost. And in this instance at least, ideology has come in second best.

Progress and human rights may not be mutually exclusive but it seems obvious that Li views the democracy movement and potential revolution of June Fourth as detrimental to the former and, as a consequence, to the latter. The prescription which America has recommended and administered to its client states has been political freedom (this word used loosely) before economic freedom, while Li clearly believes that the reverse is the surer course towards true liberty—patiently awaiting the creation of an educated middle class more attuned to the demands of a democratic system and who will, hopefully, make greater demands for political expression. Such has been the course for the former dictatorships in South Korea and Taiwan as well as the authoritarian democracy of Singapore.

What is the objective of political freedom if not the happiness of its people? For many Chinese today, mere sustenance, attaining a first world lifestyle (for all its ills), and the well being of their family members come before notions of a democratically elected government, especially when that tarnished model of democracy, the United States government seems effectively little better than the authoritarian one they are currently experiencing. The rampant capitalism which is America’s true essence, on the other hand, seems rather worth emulating; greed being altogether more attractive as far as human nature is concerned. Liu Xiaobo is a poor thinker when it comes to the history of the Western powers but he affords a somewhat different perspective when it comes to China’s economic “rise”:

“The main beneficiaries of the miracle have been the power elite; the benefits for ordinary people are more like the leftovers at a banquet table. The regime stresses a “right to survival” as the most important of human rights, but the purpose of this…is to serve the financial interest of the power elite and the political stability of the regime… […]…an autocratic regime has hijacked the minds of the Chinese populace and has channeled its patriotic sentiments into a nationalistic craze this is producing a widespread blindness, loss of reason, and obliteration of universal values…The result is our people are infatuated more and more with fabricated myths: they look only at the prosperous side of China’s rise, not at the side where destitution and deterioration are visible…” [emphasis mine]

A recent survey by researchers at the University of Michigan indicates that China’s Gini coefficient for income inequality could be as high as 0.55 having recently surpassed that of the United States. According to a report from Peking University, China’s Gini coefficient for wealth inequality comes in at 0.73 which is slightly lower than that of the U.S.. If there are lessons being learnt from the West, it would appear to be all the wrong ones. Consider the words of Liu Xiaobo in “On Living with Dignity in China” and see if they might not also be applied to the America we all know and love:

“In a totalitarian state, the purpose of politics is power and power alone. The “nation” and its peoples are mentioned only to give an air of legitimacy to the application of power. The people accept this devalued existence, asking only to live from day to day…This has remained a constant for the Chinese, duped in the past by Communist hyperbole; and bribed in the present with promises of peace and prosperity. All along they have subsisted in an inhuman wasteland.”

[I should note here that the 2013 BBC Country Rating Poll suggests that the citizens of China and the United States have equal amounts of antipathy towards each other.]

A Chinese Life

Given a choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, the American public chose the lesser evil—the man who has delivered some change and only marginally more murder—the man with no moral center. It is not hard to see that Li might view his own choice in a similar light. And he is living with his choices as are the rest of the Chinese people. As I sit in the comfort of my home, in all my life not having suffered one day of hunger, repression, and fear as severe as those experienced by Li Kunwu through China’s turbulent 20th century, I am inclined to be more understanding and less judgmental.
Translation - Chinese

李昆武和欧励行(Philippe Ôtié)的漫画 《从小李到老李:一个中国人的一生》(A Chinese Life)属于那种一般来说我会拒绝阅读的类型;主要原因是它的主题太老套。





像罗伯·克劳(Rob Clough)这样的评论家,注定要怀疑《一个中国人的一生》是一部政治宣传作品。可它不过是一部卷帙浩繁,但不带多少审视和反思的人生白描漫画——这样的手法不仅贯穿《一个中国人的一生》的第三册和最后一册(关于新中国的一册),实际上也无处不在地渗透了整部作品。可是这个规律里也有个例外,那也是驱使我借阅这本书的原因。




对于一名在之前的青年革命中(确实,他的故事中,个别女性担心这些示威最后会演变成另一波红卫兵回归的运动)饱经苦难的乡下孩子的人生大背景来说,这种说法是符合逻辑的。不过令人失望的是,李昆武把自己设想为一名铲除腐败的卫道士,却为了中国的集体福利,简单地将人的权利和自由可有可无地弃置一旁,这种道德双标是透着虚伪的。十年浩劫期间,他曾面对这样同一种虚伪。它将信条(或进步)置于人性之前。} [黄雪堂:这段引用里的加粗强调是我标的]







Hardly Written(



进步和人权并不相斥。但李昆武很明显把一些运动和某些事件中的革命因素看作是不利进步的因,“人权”引发的果。美国向其各大联邦推荐并实行过的处方是政治自由(political freedom,这里我们取它的广义)先于经济自由,而李昆武则坚信,反其道而行之才是通往真正自由的更安稳的道路——要耐心等待受过高等教育的中产阶级的产生,他们会更适应一套民主体系的需求,如果有幸的话,也会产生更多的政治表达方面的诉求。韩国、中国台湾以及新加坡模式的民主都是这样过来的。


在米特·罗姆尼(Mit Romney)和巴拉克·奥巴马之间,美国公众两害相权取其轻——他们选择了那个能带来一些改变,并最大限度地少造杀孽的那个人——“那个没有道德轴心的人”(。不难看到,李昆武对自己的选择有着相似的看法。而,和所有的中国人一样,他也要背负着这些选择活下去。当我坐在自己舒适的家中,想到自己有生以来没有任何一天遭遇过李昆武在20世纪中国乱相中所经历的饥饿、迫害和恐惧,我便愿意给予更多的理解,和更少的评判。
English to Chinese: a chapter from Museum of Secrets
General field: Art/Literary
Detailed field: Art, Arts & Crafts, Painting
Source text - English
Presumed Portrait of Gabrielle d’Estrées and Her Sister, the Duchess of Villars


Two naked women are sitting in a bath doing something
strange. This may be an erotic picture, but that is not all it
is: it had a symbolic role and there is far more to the two
sisters than first meets the eye. The picture was aimed
at King Henri IV and has a story to tell, for those able
to decipher it, about a particular episode in the history
of France. The allusions and hidden signs appeal to the
viewer’s wit and culture and make it more of an intellectual
work than a lascivious one.

On the right of the picture is Gabrielle d’Estrées, Henri IV’s mistress;
on the left, a woman who is almost certainly her sister, the Duchess
of Villars, is shown pinching Gabrielle’s nipple. This strange gesture
is generally interpreted as indicating that Gabrielle is pregnant by her royal lover; in the background, a servant is sewing what could well be a layette for the baby. In the foreground, the ring prominently on display could be a reminder of a promise of marriage made by the king.

What can have been the point of a picture like this, which makes such a play of the relationship between Henri IV and his mistress? To answer this we have to look more closely at Gabrielle d’Estrées and her fairytale romance with the king. Henri met her when he was nearly forty and she was only eighteen, and was immediately captivated by her extraordinary beauty. Though Gabrielle did not immediately yield to his desires, she eventually became his mistress
and remained so until her death in 1599, when she was still only twenty-six. She bore him three children, including a boy in 1594. It was this child that she was expecting when this picture was painted.

Confident of the king’s love, and empowered by having provided him with an heir, Gabrielle set about trying to supplant the famous Queen Margot, Marguerite de Navarre, who, unlike her, had not managed to bear Henri IV a child. The ambitious mistress had a tough battle on her hands, however: it was not easy to make a king divorce.

The picture was almost certainly designed to remind the king of his mistress’s finest assets, which included not only being young and attractive but also having produced a male heir. The king was renowned as a womanizer, and nicknamed the “Green Gallant” as a result, and the sensuality of the scene must surely have been calculated to sway him. Whether or not there was a deliberately erotic intention behind the picture, let alone a suggestion of a lesbian encounter, is quite another matter.
Translation - Chinese






基本可以肯定,这幅画的用意在于提醒国王,他情妇手上拥有了哪几张王牌,包括她年轻迷人,还能为他生儿子。国王被公认为极好女色,还因此有个小名叫“绿情圣”(“Green Gallant”)。这幅画场景中的肉欲成分一定是经过精心计算,有意要动之以情。这幅图背后是不是有预设的色情意图,甚或是对于女同性恋邂逅的暗示,在这里就暂且略过不提,因为这些都是另一个话题了。
French to Chinese: extrait de Bouvard et Pécuchet
General field: Art/Literary
Detailed field: Poetry & Literature
Source text - French
« D’abord une immense nappe d’eau, d’où émergeaient
des promontoires, tachetés par des lichens ;
et pas un être vivant, pas un cri. C’était un monde
silencieux, immobile et nu. Puis de longues plantes
se balançaient dans un brouillard qui ressemblait à la
vapeur d’une étuve. Un soleil tout rouge surchauffait
l’atmosphère humide. Alors des volcans éclatèrent,
les roches ignées jaillissaient des montagnes ; et la
pâte des porphyres et des basaltes, qui coulait, se
figea. Troisième tableau : dans des mers peu profondes,
des îles de madrépores ont surgi ; il y a des
coquillages pareils à des roues de chariot, des tortues
qui ont trois mètres, des lézards de soixante pieds.
Enfin, sur les grands continents, de grands mammifères
parurent, les membres difformes comme des
pièces de bois mal équarries, le cuir plus épais que
des plaques de bronze, ou bien velus, lippus, avec
des crinières, et des défenses contournées.

« Toutes ces époques avaient été séparées les unes
des autres par des cataclysmes, dont le dernier est
notre déluge. C’était comme une féerie en plusieurs
actes, ayant l’homme pour apothéose. »

Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard et Pécuchet
Translation - Chinese



Experience Years of experience: 10. Registered at Apr 2018. Became a member: Apr 2018. Certified PRO certificate(s) N/A
Credentials N/A
Memberships N/A
Software Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop, Indesign, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office Pro, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, SDL TRADOS

As a freelance translator specialized in English/French to Chinese (my native language), I offer my clients accuracy and clarity that comes from careful research of the subject area and terminology.

As a freelance translator specialized in
English/French to simplified Chinese (my native language), I offer my clients
accuracy and clarity that comes from careful research of the subject area and

Years of experience as a professional
editor in publishing houses have contributed to my sense of responsibility,
commitment to deadline, precision and considerable knowledge and skill in the
target language, simplified Chinese. My published translation works include artistic
comic books, Karl Lagerfeld’s biography, critique articles, as well as fun
introduction to art history and serious research on green development (CV
attached for more details).

Just as my curiosity of world cultures pushes me to
think outside of the box and learn new languages such as German, Italian,
Japanese, Dutch and Latin, I am willing to explore new areas upon my clients’

My translation related work includes:

* Jiangsu Phoenix Litterature and Art Publishing, Nanjing: editorial work and promotion copywriting for simplified Chinese version of Naruto novels and books by designer Kashiwa Sato;

* Editions FEI, Paris: assuring communication and cultural exchange between French scenarists and Chinese cartoonists in comics creating process;FR>CN translation of press articles on the house’s comic books;

* Edition de La Martinière, Paris: assistance in the Foreign Rights Department for multilingual coedition.

My published translation work includes:

Simplified Chinese version of The Museum of Illusions (Celine Delavaux,
Prestel, ISBN 9783791347776),
《幻影艺术博物馆》(ISBN 9787515512570) , 207 pages, 65k Chinese characters, art
critics, art, Gold Wall Press (
金城出版社), English to Chinese book translation;

Simplified Chinese version of The Museum of Mysteries (Elea Baucheron
& Diane Routex,  Prestel, ISBN
《神秘艺术博物馆》(ISBN 9787515512563), 171 pages, 55k Chinese characters, art critics,
art, Gold Wall Press (
金城出版社), English to Chinese book translation;

* Simplified Chinese version of Le Monde d'Edena, Tome 1: sur
(Moebius, Casterman, ISBN 9782203345201),
《伊甸园世界01:星之上》(ISBN 9787559601339), 61 pages, 11k Chinese characters, comic
masterpiece, art, Hinabook (
后浪出版公司) & Beijing United Publishing Co., Ltd. (北京联合出版公司), French to Chinese legendary
comic book translation;

* Simplified Chinese version of Le Mystère Lagerfeld (Laurent Allen-Caron,
Fayard, ISBN 9782213702087),
《卡尔·拉格斐传》(ISBN 9787540493660), French to Chinese fashion biography
translation, 304 pages, 103k Chinese characters, 2020;

* Simplified Chinese version of Financer la transition énergétique: Carbone, climat et argent (Alain Grandjean & Mireille Martini, Les Editions de l’Atelier, ISBN 9782708244986), 《如何解决能源过渡的金融难题》(ISBN 9787519042547), French to Chinese, green development, 263 pages, 154k Chinese characters, 2020;

* Simplified Chinese version of Léonard 2 Vinci (Stéphane Levallois, Futuropolis, ISBN 9782754824187), 《克隆达·芬奇》(ISBN 9787535691682), French to Chinese comic book translation, 96 pages, 17k Chinese characters, 2020;

* translation sample:
(4k Chinese characters, critique on Anders Nilsen’s comic book Big Questions
 Big Questions, art, source link:


Rates shown are for reference purposes and subject to negociation.

Keywords: French, English, Chinese, comics, art, culture

Profile last updated
Sep 3, 2020

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