The other day I helped a friend translate some paragraphs of Wang Xiaobo’s work. I used to think translating as the most tedious job on earth and I would never have the patience to do that. But now I realized translating the works that you really admire for is a great pleasure, a bliss, also a very efficient way to learn and improve the translator’s own writing.
I’m thinking about doing it from time to time in the future. : ) Below is what I’ve done.
One day I went to help my friend moving. I dressed shabby on purpose for I knew I would be doing heavy works. As expected, I came back with some dirt on my forehead, a stained shirt, and some extra clumsiness for lifting refrigerator the whole day. Along with my innately dark face, I looked perfectly like an “extra-provincial man who just arrived in Beijing”. Wearing this image as I took a bus home, both the bus conductor and passengers glanced at me in a way that they didn’t even bother to hide their disapproval of my presence. Dejectedly distracted by those unfriendly gazes, I bumped into someone as I walked back home. Before my apology could slip out of the lips, I was yelled into the face that “Haven’t you got your eyes?!” The language got even more offensive then, I guess I’d better leave out the worst part here. I quickly sloped off getting too afraid to say a word.
I would be fooling you if I said I got so resentful that the next day I rode a tricycle onto the street to sell breakfast carrying a honeycomb stove and a bucket of dirty water. But I do feel it, the causation that if others show no respect to me, I am unable to respect them either. If everyone else kept looking and yelling at me that way, I would literally be doing however awful things.
What I’m saying is, if one is able to feel the dignity of being an individual in both living condition and interpersonal relations, one would act decently in accord with the standard of a dignified man; otherwise, it would be ineluctable for one to behave in an undignified way, which eventually will turn one into a villain.