Translating “The Economist” Behind China’s Great Firewall discovered a group of about 240 Chinese fans of the Economist Magazine who voluntarily collaborate each week to translate the full contents of the magazine into Chinese and distribute it online:

In short, a group of dedicated fans of The Economist newsmagazine are translating each weekly issue cover-to-cover, splitting up the work among a team of volunteers, and redistributing the finished translations as complete PDFs for a Chinese audience.

It reminds me of the scanlation movement, in which groups of fans scan, translate, and redistribute manga into another language. But I’ve never seen it applied to a newspaper or magazine, especially one as high-minded as The Economist.

It’s an impressive example of online collaboration with simple tools, a completely non-commercial effort by volunteers interested in spreading knowledge while improving their English skills. In the process, they’re taking a political risk in translating controversial articles about their homeland behind the Great Firewall.

The Ecocn forum is here.

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