Note For Anyone Writing About Me

For anyone who wants to write about me
I am an Autistic person. I am not a person with autism. Don't call me one. FYI, also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore anyways.
My name is Alyssa, I'm a triple major in mathematics, mechanical engineering, and Chinese. I'm currently studying abroad in Tianjin. I have an About. I'm Autistic. I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Trying to Talk About Cross Cultural Communication and Neurodiversity

Part the first:
So on Wednesday a professor is going to talk to my class about cross-cultural communication.
I might be writing a thing about how this is TOTALLY APPLICABLE to Disability and Autistic cultures to send to my teacher and try and convince her to let me chuck it (figuratively) at said professor. Because yes. This is a thing that is happening, and cross-cultural communication applies to neurodiversity stuff and this is maybe also relevant to the paper I need to finish about essentially Neurodiversity 101 for Society for Disability Studies.
And yes, will put the thing I write on my blog once it's properly edited. But it's in Chinese so...

Part the second:
Right now the piece is 900 characters or thereabouts, and then there's my citations. Yes, I'm citing stuff. Including the only simplified Chinese academic article Google scholar turns up on neurodiversity. It's more how it applies to educational stuff, and it's really only 3ish paragraphs that actually have anything to do with neurodiversity, but still. This means someone else translated the word neurodiversity for me and I'm not the first person to think this is a thing worth talking about in Chinese. Which is kind of important considering that this other person is actually Chinese and I'm not.
I'm also citing the thesis that made "this is relevant" click for me, because I'd read it shortly before I found out about Wednesday's talk and directly talked about cross-cultural communication as being a useful idea for interaction between autistic people and allistic people.

Part the third:
I got some help from one of my teachers on editing this thing. She said that for language specific to neurodiversity stuff she won't know so much because it's not her field, but then... pretty much every neurodiversity paradigm word except "neurodiversity" itself I'm needing to invent the translations for anyways.

Her comments were mostly helpful (yay teachers!) but her initial suggestion for how to translate neurodivergence/neurodivergent is just. No.

神经岔开, my attempt at the translation, might not be right. It's the word for neurology (神经)followed by a word for divergent that I don't think has a negative connotation but I might be wrong because culture differences and while I know more about connotations in Chinese than most white USians, I'm definitely not an expert. I wouldn't be even a little bit surprised if it's wrong or even just something that's not the best, even if it works. But 特殊神经 (special neurology) is DEFINITELY wrong. Calling marginalized neurologies "special" is absolutely not what I'm going for here no no no. The idea that all the neurologies are special except for the neurotypical/close enough to neurotypical one is pretty much the opposite of what I'm going for.

Part the fourth:

But she says I can comment on stuff and send back because she knows this isn't her field so I'm doing that and she helped me figure it out! Looks like I was close, but I actually want 分岔 for divergence instead of 岔开 that I tried, and it was a parts of speech issue (I was fine on connotations.) 分岔 is apparently a noun, while 岔开 is a verb, to make neurodivergence, a noun, either want "adjective neurology" or "neurology noun". I was right about adding a 的 to change between divergence and divergent. There's still some language and expression stuff she's helping me with, but it's not neurodiversity paradigm specific "how do I translate this word that's never been translated before" anymore. Those are taken care of, so I should be good for tomorrow. [If it comes down to it, I'm OK with a professor of cross-cultural communication at a university focusing on foreign language seeing that my Chinese isn't perfect. I'm not OK with bad translations of neurodiversity terms being my fault.]

4 comments:

  1. Google translate translates your new word as bifurcation. I like that concept.

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  2. (Apologize for posting the same comment for the 3rd time...this is my first time using blogger and I don't know if my previous comments successfully went through..)

    Hi,
    My name is Vivien and I'm a Chinese student studying at UCLA. I took a class on Autism and Neurodiversity with Steven Kapp, and I came across your wonderful blog as I was working on my final paper.
    Personally, I don't think 神经分岔 is the appropriate translation. 分岔 can have a negative connotation. For example, we say 我的头发分岔了, meaning my hair has split ends.
    If i were to translate neurodiversity into Chinese, I'd probably go for 神经多样性 or 神经多元化.
    Hope you find this helpful!

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    Replies
    1. Hi vivien! Thanks for trying to help, and a conversation probably would be good because... well the person I talked to before is absolutely plenty good at Chinese (native speaker, trained to teach it as a second language) but definitely clueless about the autism/neurodiversity side.

      I'm not trying to use 神经分岔 for neurodiversity- that word already exists, because of this person/paper http://www.sinoss.net/qikan/uploadfile/2010/1130/9037.pdf, and I'm definitely not arguing with the native Chinese scholar who translated it first. He used 神经多样性, one of your ideas, and when neurodiversity is the word I'm looking for, I follow his lead.

      I want to translate neurodivergent, which is a word Neurodivergent K coined in English- supposed to be a neutral term that applies to a person for any kind of neurological difference, neurodivergence would be the difference itself. Any ideas? You can email me if you want, by the way- alyhillary@gmail.com.

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    2. 神经多样者?神经差异者?
      I found a Taiwanese document that refers to the LGBT community as 性别多样族群, and any person within the community as 性别多样者. I feel like using 神经多样族群 to refer to a group of neurodivergents would be ok, but calling one neurodivergent 神经多样者 is somewhat off-because it's implying that this person express multiple cognitive styles in him/her.
      I also gave some thoughts to 神经差异者, but again, there's a problem. Although 差异 stands for difference or divergence, the term 神经差异者 still carries the implicit message that this person has something wrong with him/her (I don't have cited evidence to support this, but i asked my friend- who's also a native Chinese speaker- what she thinks this term means, and she answers "just another way to refer to someone with a mental health problem")

      So...I think the term 神经别样者 would be the most appropriate. 别样 stands for difference. And 别养者 simply refers to someone who's different-I can't think of any negative connotation for this term.

      Hope this helps! Feel free to email me at vvn.yiu@gmail.com
      I'm glad to help with translation and any other stuff too, because I think that it'd be really beneficial for the autism-related community in China to learn about neurodiversity. I'm trying to get my instructor Steven Kapp (or someone else) to give a presentation on neurodiversity to some autism organizations in China e.g. 星星雨 (Stars & Rain).
      Let's keep in touch!

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I reserve the right to delete for personal attacks, derailing, dangerous comparisons, bigotry, and generally not wanting my blog to be a platform for certain things. As long as we stay within those ranges, discussion is AWESOME.