Klaxon wrote: "i would dearly like to get a thread about sinorama going … "

Yikes! You mean somebody out there actually reads our purple prose? Well, here’s your Sinorama thread. As an in-house translator there, maybe I can satisfy your curiosity about a thing or two.

Dave M.

Does my old boss Anna Wang still work there?

Yes, she’s been the editor in chief since before I first started translating for them back in '98.

Yes, believe it or not, people actually read Sinorama. Some of the articles are interesting (Two recent stories that I enjoyed reading stick out in my mind: The story about city folks moving to the country, and a profile of a very old mainland painter, can’t remember his name - larger photos of his work would have been great!), but I have to say that the constant “Taiwanese going to China” stories, as well as the SE asian bride stories, are getting rather old.

Also, I know you translators don’t have much say over this, but the gushing story about Claire Chennault’s wife a few months back was way over the top. It reminded me of the stuff you used to see in the ROC yearbook and other KMT publications, the fawning, non-fact checked, ass-kissing profiles of bureaucrats, ambassadors’ wives, and the like. The vague rumor about her being miffed by the DPP coming to power, along with the claims about her doing everything under the sun to save Taiwan and improve relations, etc., was just too much. I mean, I know Sinorama has some standards, but it seems that most of them were thrown by the wayside for this profile, and there is no justification for that.

Also, is it just me, or has the focus of the magazine changed in the past five years? I remember the magazine used to have lots of Taiwanese pop-culture stories, but lately I haven’t seen too many of those, instead there are more “high Chinese/Taiwanese” culture stories.


About the Chennault story, it is on the Sinorama Website if you do a search for Chennault at this search form.

Originally posted by Klaxon:

quote[quote]Two recent stories that I enjoyed reading stick out in my mind: The story about city folks moving to the country. ...[/quote]

I liked that one, too. A monster typhoon hit eastern Taiwan a short while after that issue came out. I’d been wondering how the Taidong man’s dream house survived the flooding there and checked with the author recently. She said he and the house are both fine.

The “very old mainland painter” that Klaxon mentions is probably Wang Pan-yuan. The guy out in Ilan, right? Yes, that was a fun one to translate. Glad to know you liked it. I think Sinorama tends to be at its strongest with human interest stories like that. But you’re not the first to question the Chennault piece, and I can remember a few other egregious panegyrics that we’ve carried in the last year or two. I have no idea what sort of political pressures come to bear on a govt-funded magazine like Sinorama, but they’re there, of course.

…but I have to say that the constant “Taiwanese going to China” stories are getting old…

Yeah, we’ve pretty well carpet-bombed that issue. On the other hand, it certainly deserved some attention. A lot of people from Taiwan are going to the PRC and finding it very seductive, and I think Sinorama has given a nitty-gritty feel for what the seduction is all about.

As for pop vs. highbrow culture, I dunno, I feel like we’re still doing a lot of both. But going back five years is getting to before my time, so maybe I don’t have a real good feel for your frame of reference.

About Chennault, if this is a pro-government pub, why would Sinorama give such a gushing bio of a staunch nationalist? isn’t the DPP pulling the strings at the GIO now?

My No 1 suggestion to make Sinorama better: give more prominence to photos, perhaps with monthly photo essays on a Taiwan-related subject. Right now, photos get buried in a lot of text.

Thanks for listening!

The DPP doesn’t seem to be pulling many strings at Sinorama. I think we’re flying under the DPP’s radar. Politics are very local.

More pictures, less text? I’ll pass it on. The photographers will love your suggestion.

Sinorama folks, what is going on? The issue I received last week has got to be possibly the worst magazine I have ever read. I know the translators don’t call the shots with story assignments, but someone should have spoken up when the cover story for this issue was announced. I have a few questions about the issue:

  • What editor chose the cover story, “the politics of Taiwan’s think tanks”? I can not think of any more boring topic to highlight, except for a story entitled “Taiwan’s plucky insurance salesmen.” I mean, yes, think tanks might be worth a back-page column, but a series of three in-depth features on THINK TANKS?! What human being would find this topic remotely interesting, beyond the “experts” cited in the article? Is the editor a former policy wonk himself, or just totally clueless?

  • The cover art is embarassing. Granted, the artist did not have much to work with, but this primitive cartoon does not suggest think tanks or anything else remotely related to Taiwan’s political analysts. If anything, it looks like the type of public-safety poster you might find at an MRT exit, telling people not to go through the turnstile too quickly. Didn’t it occur to the editor that a more exciting image might be called for, like the picture of a political demonstration, or a sea of election posters?

  • Don’t even get me started on the photos that accompanied the think tank features: Guys in suits sitting around conference tables. I really feel sorry for the poor photographers that had to shoot this piece of crap. It truly must have been the assignment from hell for them.

  • Not related to think tanks was the general sloppy editing of the entire issue, starting with the first page of the magazine – The letter to the editor complaining about the end of the Spanish-language edition had a very prominent editor’s comment “(?not true??)” in the middle of the text, in bold, no less. What’s up with that?

  • On a more positive note, the articles about local art communities in Japan was interesting. Why wasn’t this the cover story?

  • Lastly, I am kind of puzzled why the Sinorama website has Taiwanese music as being the cover story for the may issue, while the may issue I have at home is the Think Tank issue. Are there two editions?