It feels like forever ago, but Bird’s Nest has been operational now for almost two years, when we began beta-testing the site in March 2010. Since then, we’ve been a witness to some extraordinary events in Mr. Ai’s Twitter history, from the demolition of his studio to the premiere of his show in London, to his shocking disappearance and the happy day when he returned to Twitter. Despite formal restrictions against using social media, he continues to tweet, and both his followers and ours have grown enormously, with regularly news agencies turning to us as a source of information.
At the same time, we’ve faced a challenge: Tumblr, and therefore Bird’s Nest, is now blocked in China. The same day Mr. Ai began tweeting again with some regularity to protest the tax case against him, we began translating. Within two days, as noted here, here, it appears that Tumblr was blocked in China (even while it was accessible as early as April 2011). We can never be sure why Tumblr was blocked, but the fact remains that it’s difficult to access our site on the mainland.
With a growing site and readership, what’s a translation site to do? Bring in new talent of course! I’m pleased to introduce André Holthe, our new associate editor! André has been on the team as a translator since our early days and has been quite active with some fantastic work as both a translator and cultural ambassador.
André Holthe is a freelance translator and sinology graduate of Oslo University currently pursuing a M.Sc. degree in civil engineering at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway. He has spent several years in China navigating the language and culture of a country half a world apart his own. As the information technology revolution of our time still struggles with language barriers, he wants to use his expertise to get different language communities to join the same conversation, at last creating a truly globalized and interconnected world, one tweet at the time.
We value accuracy, openness and timeliness, and we’re looking forward to continuing that with André’s leadership. A true polyglot—he mixes English, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese and Russian with ease—and an active Twitterer in the Chinese-language sphere (follow him on @houan!), he’s uniquely qualified to help bridge the big language gap between Chinese and English online. Plus, Jen and I met him personally in Beijing, and we can attest that he’s a really cool guy.
We’re in great need of translators, and I’ll be posting about that soon as we bring in more people to the team. At the same time, I’m working on some technical and design solutions to improve the site and make it more accessible to more people. Thank you all for your continued support! We hope you’ve been enjoying the translations and site.