Are you looking to develop a sustainable organisation over the long-term? Focusing on diversity may be your winning strategy – and for this, leaders will need to develop special skills, in particular a capacity to be inclusive and harmoniously bring together diverse teams, allowing multiple ideas to flourish and feed off each other.

Sounds fluffy? Well, the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants and Deloitte recently produced a report on this topic – now that sounds serious, doesn’t it? Check out p.18 for the ‘six attributes of an inclusive leader’ – all starting with the letter C: cognisance, curiosity, courage, cultural intelligence, commitment and collaboration.

These are precisely the types of attributes we’re looking to build through our online offer and workshops! So – if you’d like to get ready for a different future, and train to become a more inclusive leader, why don’t you browse the Marco Polo Project website, join one of our events – or organise your own if there’s none in your city yet!

Would you like to read more about inclusive leadership and diversity in the workplace? The full report is attached to this post:

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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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We’re expanding in China 

Last week, we ran our first Marco Polo translation salon in Nanjing. Twenty five translators gathered at the Banpocun Cafe on Qingdao Lu for three and a half hours of collaborative translation – together translating over 5000 characters. This event was held in collaboration with the Nanjing University Graduate Student English Club and the Australia China Youth Association. Participants were very pleased with their experience, and we’ve been invited to run future similar events by other local student clubs.

We’re also building new collaborations with Chinese web-organisations. We presented our project at the Shanghai Makers’ Carnival, and as a result, we’re now regularly working out of the Nanjing Makers’ Space. These contacts and co-working opportunities are precious for us to better understand the Chinese digital space, and better engage our multilingual online community. As a first step, we’re now active on weibo, and we’ll soon start our own weixin account. So follow us now – and join the conversation!

 
Multicultural Commission Grant

We’re pleased and honoured to announce that the Victorian Multicultural Commission awarded us an organisational support grant to run a series of workshops next year in Melbourne. We wish to warmly thank the Victorian government for their support, and all those who helped us along the way.

This grant not only shows recognition of the value we bring to Chinese learners and speakers, it also marks the growing importance of offline events to our overall mission. We’re currently developing a complete ‘event organisation pack’, allowing interested language organisations or language exchange groups to run their own translation events, using our website and contents as a base. If you would like to run your own Marco Polo translation marathon, or anyone around you would, please contact us at info@marcopoloproject.org

 
The Marco Polo Project is a living 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, Weixin or Weibo.

We are also looking for donations and sponsorships, to support further web development. If you think you can help, please contact us.

If you’ve come to our website before but got confused about how to use it, or if one of your friends would like some guidance in their first steps with us, our team put together three short videos explaining core features to new-comers: register, find a text, translate.

Please, let us know if you find them clear enough, and whether we should make more! Hey, we’re working on a Chinese version too.

Register

Find a text

Translate

Join the translation race on August 14!

We’re holding our first ‘all-you-can-translate’ event at the York Butter Factory, 62-66 King Street, Melbourne, on August 14th: a 2h30 Chinese to English translation race, featuring live and twitter collaboration, followed by drinks and food.

This event is part of our growing interest in developing offline events that offer  our website users – and indeed all China-geeks and aspiring translators – an opportunity to meet others like them, build up their language skills in a fun alternative way, and bring new Chinese voices to Western readers.

To register for the night, click here – or watch this video to learn more.

Thank you DFAT for supporting the first Aus-China Digital Lit Fest

In 2014, Marco Polo Project will run the first Australia-China Festival of Digital Literature. This event will present an exceptional opportunity to reflect on changes in the practice of reading, writing and publishing brought about by the development of a digital space. More broadly, it will allow Australian and Chinese online readers and writers to meet and learn about each other.

We will select three writers from each country –  balancing citizen journalists and fan-fiction enthusiasts with trans-media practitioners and twitter poets –  translate a selection of their work, and facilitate discussion among them and with a bilingual public through digital forums and a conference panel.

Bookmark your calendar: tentative dates for this festival are June 2014 for the launch of our collaborative translation process, and August 2014 for online and panel discussions.

We wish to thank our partners and supporters for this project, whose trust in our organisation have made our grant application successful, and whose support will make this project a success: the Wheeler Centre for Books and Ideas, Bookworm, Danwei, yeeyan.org, La Trobe’s Centre for Creative Arts, the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers Festival, Language Connection, Asialink, AALITRA and LCNAU. And DFAT for their support: we’re honoured to announce here that this project is supported by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia-China Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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.

Have you ever wondered what Marco Polo Project achieved in its first year online? Or would you like to share the awesomeness of our initiative with your friends at one glance? The amazing Glenn Stephenson put together this infographics for us – please share it around! Infographics

At our last board meeting, we spent some time reflecting about the core values that drive us and inspire what we do. We think it’s now time to share them in this post – and more permanently on this page.

Marco Polo Project values

Curiosity: we respect and encourage the desire to learn and explore new areas of knowledge.

Diversity: we believe in a world where multiple voices can be heard, multiple cultures can thrive, and multiple organisations can co-exist.

Collaboration: we believe in people and organisations working together to achieve their goals, building on each other’s strengths and supporting each other.

Below is the July 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

The new version of our website is live, with a fresh new design and more intuitive translation interface! Click here for  a quick tour through the changes. Our particular thanks go to Ross, Coliq and George, and to the generous supporters who made this change possible through their donations.

Everything should work properly by now, but if you notice anything odd, send us a line at: info@marcopoloproject.org

Partnerships

We’re very proud to be presenting the Marco Polo Project at the 2013 LCNAU conference in Canberra. This conference will bring together language and culture experts from around Australia. For us, it will represent a rare opportunity to discuss our model with Australian academics and language learning experts.

We also wish to thank Urban Garden for welcoming our new team of interns in their community space on Swanston Street.

Highlights

Our founder Julien Leyre will publish a piece about Sichuan Christian philosopher Li Yehang in a special issue of the French literary magazine NUNC.

While NUNC do their final edits on this issue, why don’t you contribute to the translation of Li Yehang’s piece on modern and traditional art, or to his description of a trip to Qinghai? And if you would rather get a foretaste of his writing, check out the completed translations of his moral apologues ‘My tour of Hell (a fable)’ and ‘shipwreck (a short short story)‘.

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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