Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Monday, August 11, 2014


Going through my drafts and doing some editing as I go to get stuff scheduled, make sure I really do start posting again. The Chinese quote is something I saw on August 27, 2013, for reference. (That was my 21st birthday, here is what I published that day.)


I saw that as someone's background for their laptop on the train to the airport to orientation for my study abroad program almost a year ago (omg.) I've actually got a tag for things about China/Chinese, and another for things that are in Chinese

Anyways, this was translated as "Different people value success differently." Which is true. It's not exactly how I would translate it- my understanding is that this is about what people think success means more than how they feel about success, but it works. [I am not saying the translation is bad or wrong. The meaning I think the original is saying is one of the meanings the translation can have, it just seems easier to get a different reading from it than the one that I think is intended. Translation is subjective, and it's definitely easier to translate into one's native language than out of it.] I'd have translated it to "Different people have different ideas of what success is."

There's a couple directions I could have been going from there [I wrote down to the end of the last paragraph on the train on August 27, 2013, and I'm writing this on November 5, 2013, so I'm not sure which way I was going to go.]

I could talk about how translating stuff is complicated and interesting. It is. Translation isn't a word for word deal, and I've run into this a few times since. I saw someone say that the social model of disability didn't translate properly into Chinese because one of the sentences that's apparently fundamental to the English version, “Disability is a social issue” or something of the sort, doesn't translate well. The translation I think of, and the one thought of by the person claiming this, is more along the lines of disability being a social problem, or a burden on society. That's kind of the opposite of what we want to say.

残疾是社会问题 is the translation I think they were thinking of, by the way. And honestly... the reading implied by that is one you can get out of the English version too, which is part of why I don't actually use that as my first explaining sentence for the social model.

Also, this is translation! We can be creative! In fact, we should be creative. Telling Chinese people with disabilities which model they should use to look at disability (or even assuming that their views will fit any of the main USA models) is a problem, and I'm not going to do that. But I'm also not going to say an idea can't be translated, especially when it's just not so. 


There. All I had to do was take a different core-ish sentence describing the social model of disability and see if it translated better. The one I went for was “The worst problems Disabled people face don't come from our own impairments, but from society's barriers.” That's a sentence I'm more likely to use introducing the ideas of the social model in English than “Disability is a social issue” anyways.

In the end, translation is... I've been told it's like a dance between the translator and the original author. Let's just say there's a reason that anything of mine that gets translated into a language I speak (English to Chinese is the only example that seems likely, though I suppose that Chinese to English is possible since when I write in Chinese I don't normally do it by writing in English and then translating into Chinese,) I want to be heavily involved in the translation to make sure that the ideas come through properly. I don't mind if the words get messed up a bit, or even if whole sentences get lost, but the ideas need to be the same.

Oh, and that's why I'm slightly mistrustful of the English version of “The Reason I Jump.” The translator and the author almost certainly have extremely different views of autism- one is a parent, and one lives in an autistic mind-body, and I'm aware of how basic worldview differences between translator and author can lead to differences between the translation and the original.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I reserve the right to delete comments for personal attacks, derailing, dangerous comparisons, bigotry, and generally not wanting my blog to be a platform for certain things.