The Marco Polo Project team is growing – and it’s your chance to join our amazing adventure!

We just opened exciting new roles in our business, engagement and editorial teams –  check our the full list on this page.

These roles are offered on a volunteer basis, but successful candidates will receive free mentorship from our founder, and work in a supportive work environment that encourages independence, learning and development.

We look forward to hearing from you and – maybe – work with you on the next phase of our project.

For any further information, please contact us at info@marcopoloproject.

Below is the May edition of the Marco Polo Project newsletter.
To subscribe, please contact us at info@marcopoloproject.org.
You can also follow us on twitter @mpoloproject.

 News

Our web development team has been working hard on a series of new features that will improve the translation experience dramatically. We’re testing them on our development site this very moment, and the next newsletter should invite you to trial them.

As a result, our project is growing! We’re seeking new volunteers to join our editorial, business and engagement teams. If you would like to be part of our project, or know someone who might, please have a look at this page , or pass on the word!

 Partnerships

In the last month, our readership expanded to new regions of the world. An interview with Sapore di Cina attracted readers from Italy, while this Russian version of a piece by Hacking Chinese on the use of translation for language learning attracted a number of readers from Russia.

Meanwhile, in Australia, we’re beginning discussions to develop stronger partnerships in Adelaide and Sydney, with universities and through workshops. These are still in early stages, but by the end of 2013, we hope to develop a stronger presence interstate.

 Highlights

Have you ever wondered about youth subcultures in China? This article introduces the ‘ShaMaTe’, a sub-cultural movement inspired by Western punk and Japanese manga aesthetics. ‘ShaMaTe’ culture can be interpreted as an attempt by rural migrants to integrate urban codes, and contrasted with the rich and urban ‘fresh young things’ movement.

Is there a topic you’d like to read about in translation? Suggest it at info@marcopoloproject.org.

 Help Us Grow

The Marco Polo Project is a living online community. Without you, we do not exist. Now we need your help to grow. So that a larger audience can learn about us, please talk about the Marco Polo Project around you, send a link to your friends, or share our translations on Facebook, Twitter, Renren or Weibo.
We are also looking for donations and sponsorships, to support further web development. If you think you can help, please contact us at Info@marcopoloproject.org.

The Marco Polo Project http://marcopoloproject.org

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Below is the March edition of the Marco Polo Project newsletter. To subscribe, please contact us at info@marcopoloproject.org. You can also follow us on twitter @mpoloproject.

 News
Our first wave of development is over. Back-end improvements have already made the work of our editors more efficient. On the front-end, a filter now allows readers and translators to select texts by language and level of completion.

Again, we would like to thank all generous supporters of our first pozible campaign. And we’re now looking forward to further improvements.

 Partnerships
Our online community has come offline, with regular translation workshops run in partnership with Language Connection. To join one, or for more details, look at LC’s facebook or meetup page!

In line with the success of these workshops, we’re now exploring possible partnerships with the Arrow Building on Swanston Street, Foundation for Young Australian’s ‘Young People without Borders’, and La Trobe University.

 Highlights
Are you curious to see the results of collaborative translation efforts? In our first two workshops, we translated this text about friends having small children, and this text about starting a PhD late in life.

Is there a topic you’d like to read in translation? You can email us a suggestion at info@marcopoloproject.org. If participants like it, we may choose it for one of our future workshops.

 Help Us Grow
The Marco Polo Project is a living online community. Without you, we do not exist. Now we need your help to grow.

So that a larger audience can learn about us, please talk about the Marco Polo Project around you, send a link to your friends, or share our translations on Facebook, Twitter, Renren or Weibo.We are also looking for donations and sponsorships, to support further web development. If you think you can help, please contact us at Info@marcopoloproject.org.

The Marco Polo Project http://marcopoloproject.org

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Our online community now has a regular offline presence in Melbourne!

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On the 23rd of February, we ran our first collaborative translation workshop, in partnership with Language Connection. These workshops now take place every Saturday, 12h30 to 2h30, at the Multicultural Hub on Elizabeth Street.

Why run workshops?

Our mission is to develop Chinese and China literacy. The model we propose to use is a collaborative model, based on peer-learning and crowd-sourcing.

We form a digital community, with a primary web-presence. But our learners and translators are not only ‘web-users’, and their desire to read and translate new writing from China is not restricted to their internet selves.

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Running regular workshops is a way for us to better understand our learners and translators, and improve the services we provide. For learners, it is an opportunity to meet new people sharing similar interests, and practice their language and translation skills in a supportive social setting.

How do the workshops run?

In each workshop, a group of participants work together on a Chinese text, and produce an English translation.

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This is how the process runs:

  • Before the workshop, we post a selection of texts on our meetup and facebook pages, so participants can choose a favorite, and have time to read it
  • On the day, we start with a few warm up activities, then break up the workshop into small tables of three or four, trying to balance native Mandarin and English speakers.
  • Each table is given one or two paragraphs to translate, and works on them for about an hour. The facilitator circulates, and helps each group deal with translation difficulties.
  •  At the end of the session, the facilitator invites each table to read their translation, and reflect on the process – what was hard, exciting, surprising, familiar, etc.
  • The translations are then uploaded to the Marco Polo Project website, and published.

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What are the learning benefits? 

These translation workshops benefit learners in the following ways:

  • All participants speak at least some Chinese and English, and practice both languages at their table while working on the translation.
  • Mandarin learners not only practice reading characters and encounter new vocabulary, but by looking in-details at the structure of a Chinese text, they develop a much better understanding of Chinese grammar and stylistic patterns.
  • These benefits extend to native Mandarin speakers learning English. Not only can they learn new vocabulary from other participants:  more importantly, when trying to produce an adequate translation, they develop a better awareness of the stylistic and grammatical differences between Chinese and English, and develop strategies to write and speak more idiomatic English.
  • Finally, the workshops are an opportunity for participants to make new friends, and gain motivation to study further from a sense of collective emulation.

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So, why don’t you come and join our next workshop – all details for the Melbourne workshops can be found on this meetup page and facebook group.

Or if you would like help to start a workshop in your city, please contact info@marcopoloproject.org, or send us a tweet @mpoloproject.

Below is the February edition of the Marco Polo Project newsletter. To subscribe, please contact us at info@marcopoloproject.org. You can also follow us on twitter @mpoloproject.

 News

Our website is getting more interactive! If you find a passage particularly difficult to translate, just send a tweet with #mppolo and a link to the text and paragraph number. Your tweet will appear on the website widget column.

Other improvements are under way. A text filter and Chinese tags will come up in the next few weeks, and back-end im-provements will increase our work efficiency..

 Partnerships

Starting Saturday 23rd February, Marco Polo Project will run weekly translation workshops in partnership with Language Connection, offering language learners an opportunity to deepen understanding of Chinese language and culture in a social setting. More details available on this facebook group.

A Taipei translation group is also starting soon. For more information, please contact hannah.theaker@gmail.com

 Highlights

Ever wondered about the writers of our texts? We’ve started developing biographies, a project led by Hannah ‘Shengui’ Theaker from Taipei. When you read a text, simply click on the name of an author below the title to find out who they are.

An author you’re interested in has no biography yet? We’re working on it – but you can help us by pasting a text in the comments section, or send us a suggestions via email: info@marcopoloproject.org.

 Help Us Grow

The Marco Polo Project is a living online community. Without you, we do not exist. Now we need your help to grow.

So that a larger audience can learn about us, please talk about the Marco Polo Project around you, send a link to your friends, or share our translations on Facebook, Twitter, Renren or Weibo.We are also looking for donations and sponsorships, to support further web development. If you think you can help, please contact us at Info@marcopoloproject.org.

The Marco Polo Project http://marcopoloproject.org

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We are currently running our first crowd-funding campaign on pozible.com. Please, have a look at our page and video at http://pozible.com/marcopoloproject and if you like it, consider supporting us, or sending the link around to your friends and networks.

We’re  hoping to raise $3000 by Christmas to pay for a full set of improvements. Our goal is to make our website more appealing to translators by gamifying parts of the translation process, as well as increase interaction among users and improve progress monitoring systems.

Over the next few weeks, we will post a number of posts on this blog to better articulate our vision and value-proposition, so keep an eye on this blog. All comments welcome!

 

Below is the first edition of the Marco Polo Project newsletter. To subscribe, please contact us at info@marcopoloproject.org

                                                                 August 2012

Welcome to the first edition of the Marco Polo Project eNewsletter

 News

In August, we launched our new translation interface. Our users can now translate directly from the front-page, with side-by-side bilingual text display. We wish to thank our programmer Guillaume Mauboussin for his work on this plugin.

We’ve also set up a twitter account, with the help of Fergus Ryan and Alex Gibson – you can follow us on @mpoloproject for updates – or like our facebook page, Marco Polo Project.

 Partnerships

In mid-August, the China in the World Institute at ANU launched the China Story, a web-based account of contemporary China. We’re very proud to collaborate with them through our translation work and weekly digest on danwei.com, and strongly encourage you to visit their website for high-quality analysis on contemporary China.

In September, Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris will start using our platform as part of their Chinese curriculum, so look out for more translations into French!

 Highlights

Our new contributor, Lesley McLachlan, submitted a series of editorials fromChina Newsweek  – follow 6 months of discussion on Chinese affairs in Chinese and English.

Looking for something original to translate? You could try a piece by Li Yehang, exploring religious issues in China from a Christian perspective.

 Help Us Grow

The Marco Polo Project is a living online community. Without you, we do not exist. Now we need your help to grow.

So that a larger audience can learn about us, please talk about the Marco Polo Project around you, send a link to your friends, or share our translations on Facebook, Twitter, Renren or Weibo.We are also looking for donations and sponsorships, to support further web development. If you think you can help, please contact us at Info@marcopoloproject.org.

The Marco Polo Project http://marcopoloproject.org

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Below is the first edition of the Marco Polo Project newsletter. To subscribe, please contact us at info@marcopoloproject.org

                                                                 August 2012

Welcome to the first edition of the Marco Polo Project eNewsletter

 News

The new Marco Polo Project website went live in February 2012. Since then, our developers have been working in the dark to make the platform more user-friendly. A significant improvement to our translating interface is underway, and should come up in the next few weeks. So get ready for a better Marco Polo Project experience!

Meanwhile, people are talking about us – with interviews on ABC Radio National’s lingua Franca, SBS Italian, and Jean-Michel Billaut’s blog.

 Partnerships

Since June 8, we have been publishing a weekly digest of the Chinese online magazine 1510 on the English language Danwei website. To listen in on conversations from the Chinese blogosphere, keep an eye on this column.

On July 18, we held our first Marco Polo translation workshop in Melbourne at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. If you are in Melbourne and would like to join, please contact us at info@marcopoloproject.org

 Highlights

A smoker’s frustrated Visit To Hong Kong, a reflection on Politics And Stability, or a personal meditation on Animal Suffering. Read about this and more at the Marco Polo Project.

Or if you would like to practice, why don’t you translate one of the stories from Shu Dong, and give non Mandarin speakers an insight into Chinese ways of articulating feelings and emotions.

 Help Us Grow

The Marco Polo Project is a living online community. Without you, we do not exist. Now we need your help to grow.

So that a larger audience can learn about us, please talk about the Marco Polo Project around you, send a link to your friends, or share our translations on Facebook, Twitter, Renren or Weibo.We are also looking for donations and sponsorships, to support further web development. If you think you can help, please contact us at Info@marcopoloproject.org

The Marco Polo Project http://marcopoloproject.org

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Fau-Zii and I decided to outsource some of the programming work, so that we could finally bring the website to an acceptable level – enough that we could start advertising, testing and recruiting users.

I guess we’re at this point now. Done. Ready to go. We’re on!

The Marco Polo Project wishes you a Happy New Year! We are entering our second year of existence, and looking forward to new developments ahead.

2012 will be a crucial year for our project: we will launch a fully operational version of our platform, actively seek sponsors and grants, and publicise our website extensively. So this is the test of reality coming for us. Will people commit to our vision, and trust us to deliver our program? We shall see.

But before this happens, we still have a solid month of preparation work – so get ready for January!