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Learn Chinese in China

Upper education in china

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week two



All foreign students in the class are technically not even part of the system yet. What does this mean? I'm guessing it means we could literally not attend classes and no one would notice because we're not even technically registered in the course.


It's a bit strange. But I suppose I can understand. There are some classes that we 3 foreign students are not required to take. Such as the 政治 politics course, and the 中国语言文化 class. I also feel like I shouldn't even be in the 口译 class because it’s basically an English class, but I'm still attending these and just act as the teacher’s assistant when needed.


The Chinese democrat I mentioned last week has been telling everyone how stupid I am and picking apart my pronunciation. I don't care at all. It just makes it easier for me to ignore him because I didn't like him very much the first time I met him or any other occasion that follows. It bothered my friend a lot because she's in a group with him and she was like "OH next time I'm going to pick apart his English and make him feel stupid". I'm like It’s okayy I don't like him either. At least now I know the feelings mutual so I don't have to bother talking with him. haha.


I finally attended my other consecutive interpreting class last week (English-Chinese). It's quite different from the Chinese-English one because the professor doesn't want us to take notes at all. She wants us to focus on 1) presentation skills and 2) memorization. Some of the exercises in class consisted of having one student go up to the front and make a speech their own and present to the class. Afterwards, everyone had to record their own recitation of it. For now the professor said we should translate into our most comfortable language so naturally the Chinese used Chinese and I used English. But it's not as easy as you'd imagine. I found it quite hard to relay my translation of the speech while 30 other students were at the same time. I think this is good practice for more 'real life' interpreting. I also really liked the teacher who also seems quite 'western'. One of her requirements for the students is 'speak English', unless you're the 3 foreign students, in which case we all must speak Chinese. I think this is a little bit unfair on part of the other foreign students because their mother tongue isn’t even English.  


My other consecutive interpreting class (Chinese-English) has so far taught us short-hand. I find these a bit harder to remember, because I think short hand is a personal thing and some of the symbols don't feel personal to me at all. I included a picture under the description to give a small example of shorthand. I love the teacher though, he's very talkative and very cool kind of guy. Putting it to use is just as hard but the professor goes over it during class when we have translation exercises.


The homework this week was quite normal until my professor sent us a translation hw Friday night, due Tuesday night. Which is kind of stressful because she had a total of 3 days to assign us homework and waited until the weekend to give it to us. I caught a cold for the weekend so you can imagine I did not spend a single second on Saturday studying (mostly sleeping and mulling about miserably), Sunday was beautiful and I'm a bad student so I just went out for the pizza festival. I can see now how Chinese students have no life outside of school. D:


When I went into the office today I found out that we only need to take our foreign language class (I chose Spanish) for one semester. I find it a bit strange. It seems almost useless to bother taking it for one semester but that’s the schools requirements. Learning another language is hard enough as it is but learning it in Chinese is soo weird. My professor was going over this grammar point and I honestly understood nothing of it, I just looked at what she was writing and the pairings and figured out the grammar structure somehow by my own genius, but I can’t for the life explain the reason to you. 


Other than that the homework for most classes is pretty much the same. It’s something like 1) watch the news 2) prepare to present 3) prepare to translate. In about 3 or 4 of my classes it’s like this. I just have one teacher that prefers us to prepare different (not news) material to translate. I watch the news anyway but it's a bit more difficult to anticipate what your classmate will find as "the most important news of the week" is. Last week I prepared to talk about Irma only to find that was not the "most important" of the week.


Our first translation homework (a lengthy article on the housing bubble crisis) was put on the board for everyone to follow and discuss one student’s translation. It was one of the foreign students translation who was put up and I'm glad it was because she had told me before that instead of just having one person correct her translation, a total of 4 people decided to 'fix' it and they absolutely destroyed it and said everything she wrote was basically shit. When the professor went over the translation I was happy to find that the professor actually critiqued alot of the Chinese students 'fixes' and at the end advised everyone to not go into corrections as a mission to completely destroy the original, instead to just focus on one or two mistakes because a lot of the time the corrections were actually not correct at all. My friend has found a different partner to work on corrections so hopefully next time will be better.


Things I find confusing so far is that I have so many wechat groups that keep getting created that no one talks in. I'm not really sure what group I’m in most of the time and the banzhang is always pissed to have to answer. I just found out from one of my classmates that I was supposedly in their group and I felt so bad because a week or so ago he added me into a group but i wasn't sure what that group was for and the banzhang just put me into an entirely different group. I also feel bad because (and not to sound mean) but I really find it difficult to remember who my classmates are. Nobody uses their picture on wechat and they don't even use their names so I don't really know anyone even though many people have added me. I'm making an effort now to put a face to the name.


I made some friends with some girls who roll in about the same time as me to class all the time, we laughed about how we always seems to be late when we're actually early (1-5 minutes before class). And slowly but surely my classmates have been talking with me. :)


Oh if you thought foreign students were the minority in this class, you could also say guys are. I think there are only 3-4 male students in the interpreting class of mine, and the translation section might have about the same amount.  They're a bit odd but I liked the guy who studied simultaneous translation into japanese and english. He's a bit strange but very sweet.


Last thing:

Complaint of the day:

My teacher had a last minute thing so she wants us all to do a makeup class and miss another professors class to go to a lecture. I'm going to the lecture but not class. I wish I could say "I hope the professor doesn't notice" but being the only three foreigners in class means the professor is always going to notice when any one of us is missing. I signed up for an event at the embassy two weeks ago and I don't raell ywanna miss it but I'm torn. To follow my western virtues or go Chinese.

Any thoughts? haha.



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If the shorthand is what I think it is, you're basically learning basic note-taking, Chinese-style. Note-taking is actually very personal. After about the first month of doing note-taking, everybody pretty much comes up with their own style of note-taking. At least, they did where I studied. Not sure how these things work at BISU. They might be a lot stricter and have everybody do it the same way, but I suspect given enough time, you will come up with your own symbols that will help you remember things as well. To be fair, a lot of the symbols I use are fairly international amongst interpreters, but note-taking symbols also vary between language pairs!


Good luck with the WeChat group thing. I've started tagging people and typing in descriptions in the WeChat profile when I add people nowadays, so I can jog my memory. Maybe that could be helpful? Otherwise, I'm always guessing who is who, and I usually guess wrong!

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My bad yes, its note taking haha. I hope I can get more of a knack for it. Right now im just trying to force myself to use them more. 


tagging is a good idea, I usually edit descriptions but I think I should edit the aliases as well. 


Just added the attachment. I knew I was forgetting something... 

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Holy crap, that long ass list of symbols is really quite abstract. No wonder you're struggling to remember all of them. Does your instructor expect you to use those exact symbols, or are they just a "starter kit" for you to start from? My teachers all gave us similar starter kits, and we eventually all modified them at will. I use a lot of the symbols on your list, but some of them mean different things to me than the proposed meaning on your list! (Note-taking really is a very personal thing!)


For me, I do what a lot of interpreters do, and have a "root" symbol and then modify that symbol at will.  For example,  if a rectangle symbolizes country, then import and export (as presented on your list) makes sense because the rectangle represents the country, and then arrow in = import, and arrow out = export. But then I'd also go back to the base, meaning the rectangle = country, and then make more modifications to that symbol. So for instance, developing country would be an arrow pointing upwards within the rectangle, and then developed country would be an upwards arrow on top of the rectangle, and under-developed country would be an upwards arrow under the rectangle. And then, if I needed to do anything related to the concept of country, it would be represented by the rectangle, with modifications applied to it.


My classmates and I would practice together when we were learning note-taking, and then we would exchange our notes to see how we did note-taking, and then steal symbols from each other. Honestly, because they are symbols, you make them your own, so that they have meaning to you. Note-taking takes about a month to learn, and then you'll just keep on refining it as you go. Keep on chugging!



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I also feel bad because (and not to sound mean) but I really find it difficult to remember who my classmates are. Nobody uses their picture on wechat and they don't even use their names so I don't really know anyone even though many people have added me.

You can change user names in Wechat:

Go to a chat with the person.

Click the little 'person' icon in the upper right corner.

Click the person's profile picture in the upper left corner.

Click 设置备注和标签.

Change name and/or add notes.

Perhaps you already knew this, but if not, I hope it makes your life a bit easier.

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