Interesting Career Path

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I’ve been helping Daisy, a Chinese graduate student, prepare for her thesis defense, the final hurdle for a Masters in Translation and Interpretation from Sichuan University.

Her thesis was based on her own translation, from Chinese into English, of a Chinese scholar’s paper on Buddhism. The original author made an interesting argument: that the pre-conditions for Indian Buddhism (its true origins) are found in Chinese primitive shamanism. I read the translated version. Trippy stuff.

Reviewing her paper about the actual task of translation, I thought it was brilliant, cutting-edge – except for the Asian English that people here like so much. I keep insisting that the following words are not really words (but no one listens!): researches, evidences, literatures, terminologies, etc… You can take a flamethrower to Chinglish, but it’s burn-proof stuff.

Soon Daisy is heading to Shenzhen, an ultra-modern southern city, for a month of intense training with a Chinese cell phone company. Then she is heading to Nairobi for a few years, to work with about 100 other Chinese people, marketing and distributing inexpensive but high-quality cell phones across Anglophone Africa – cell phones with enhanced photo and video capabilities.

Sounds good. And Africa is probably better off with Chinese rather than European or American influence, if it is to be influenced. (Chinese graduates who specialize in French are dispatched to Francophone Africa).

The company has not made any real inroads into Latin America but plans to. One Chinese representative landed in Mexico a few months back to bring samples, but he was hassled my Mexican immigration because his suitcase had dozens of new cell phones. Yeah, at first glance, that seems a little sketchy. The guy was eventually allowed in with his stuff, but he had some splainin’ to do.

Anyways. The Chinese business people, once in Africa, live together in shared housing from what I gathered.

Apparently, there is a possibility she will be assigned to India, but she is under the impression it will be Kenya.

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After two years, the company plan is to reassign people in this position to one more foreign post, and then back to China, where one is more or less expected to climb the corporate ladder, get married, and life happily ever after.  That should be easy for her.


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