“The New Mother” was translated and published back in September by China’s (and the world’s) largest circulation science fiction magazine, Science Fiction World. In fact, given the circulation, it’s entirely possible that more people will have read this version of “The New Mother” than the one I originally wrote.
Now the contributor’s copies have made their way across the ocean to me. Looking through it, though I can’t read the text, I notice a lot of interesting things.
- My name, when translated into Chinese, is 尤金 费雪. I’m told this contains characters for both “gold” and “snow.”
- There are many translation footnotes, most commonly for elements of the story dealing with acronyms and initials. All acronyms and initials are rendered in English characters in the text, then contextualized below. There is one footnote that, from context, is clearly explaining why, in English, a group with a condition called HCP might name their news magazine “The Hiccup.” More common acronyms, like DNA, are still printed in English, but not footnoted.
- In the English version of the story, the journalistic passages that made up every other section were distinguished from the narrative passages by italics. In the Chinese version there is clearly a typeface distinction going on, but I don’t know how to characterize it. I want to say that the parts that were italicized in English are here rendered in sketchier, less blocky looking characters. I don’t know if that’s just same typeface’s equivalent of italics, or something more like a different font.
- There’s a fantastic, manga-style illustration to open the story; a double page splash of angry people shouting across a hospital as young girls are pulled away from their mother, while in the center a religious figure with hooded eyes reads from a book while standing beneath a sign that says “KEEP QUIET.” Here’s the best scan I was able to get: