Monday, April 16, 2012

Call Me "Bao La"

It is kind of cool to be able to make up a new name for yourself when you are learning a foreign language. A few years ago, along with my students from Peking University, I had some fun coming up with my Chinese identity.

I've discovered, though, that with such a blank slate, others can make up their own names for you. Take, for instance, when my book was translated into Chinese. The translator referred to me as "Ba La," simply transliterating my English last name.

Now along comes a Chinese-language website, where some comments I made on Chinese politics were translated into Chinese. This time, the transliteration process has left me with the name "Bao La" (the bolded characters below)...

乔治华盛顿大学政治学教授史蒂芬?鲍拉(Steven Balla)一直在从事征询民意过程的研究。他说,“这反映出中国政府开始尝试引入民众参与。”他补充说,尽管公众意见对草案过程能产生多大的影响“真的很难说”,“但这些意见产生重大影响是存在可能性的。”

Hey, it's not just me...The Chinese name for the president is "Aobama." And before that, it was "Bushi."



At 6:46 AM, Blogger Anne said...

"Aobama" 奥巴马 is "Oubama" 欧巴马 in Taiwan and HK. "Xilali" also has an alter-ego across the strait. It just comes with the territory(ies).


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