Today, we ran our first translation event in partnership with the Australia China Youth Association (ACYA) at Monash University. There were sixteen of us in an amphitheatre, and we translated over 2000 words in an hour.


Key learnings? Translation is the pathway to diplomacy. Some people write unnecessarily poetic prose. Translation can be fun.

If you’d like to know more about ACYA Monash, check out their facebook page.

If you’d like to work with us on organising event, send us a line at

Translating online is great – translating offline with buddies is even better! That’s what we figured – and so, in line with this insight, we decided to launch a regular Marco Polo Project Melbourne Meetup!

The first of those took place last Wednesday, March 20, at the Melbourne Multicultural Hub, in partnership with Language Connection.

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The Marco Polo meetup is a low-key get-together for Mandarin language enthusiasts to practice translation in small teams of three. During this first event, we translated the opening paragraphs to three pieces from China30s: From Harvard to the alpaca business‘, ‘Triathlon changed my view of life‘ and ‘A young man’s magic time machine‘.

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We’re planning to run these events on a monthly basis – so, help us spread the word – and come along next time!

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,, 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.

On the 14th of August, we’ll be holding our first all-you-can-translate event at to the York Butter Factory in Melbourne!

We’re gathering emerging translators and language learners for an evening of Chinese-English translation, followed by some food and drinks.

This is an opportunity to

  • practice translation in a stimulating setting
  • meet other China-geeks and language enthusiasts
  • help us bring more Chinese voices to the world.

There will be prizes for the most active and the most collaborative participants, and there will be time to discuss around a glass. So come along, and bring your friends!