Jobs' letter of love inspires creativity in his fans

Updated: 2011-11-05 08:20

By Mei Jia (China Daily)

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BEIJING - One month after Steve Jobs' death, his love letter to his wife for their 20th wedding anniversary has inspired a string of translations and retranslations as fans of the Apple co-founder search for the perfect words to express their appreciation.

Netizens including Luo Huiqiang, 30, known as Jonny_Law on his micro blog, were unhappy with the wording in the official Chinese version of the biography, Steve Jobs, which they said was plain and not touching. They set out to write their own versions.

"I use elaborate wordings to share my love for Jobs," Luo said.

The next day, nearly 30,000 micro blog users forwarded his version of the love letter.

"I felt surprised," Luo told China Daily.

Other fans have done translations in various Chinese literary forms and tones, including ones in the style of Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) poetry and in the Sichuan dialect.

The Chinese version of the biography has sold an estimated 1 million copies, with 678,000 sold in the first week after its launch on Oct 24, according to its publisher, CITIC Press, and has been the top seller in many online retailers.

Yet while fans are unsatisfied with the official translation, the publisher is arguing that they've done their best.

The Chinese version was launched simultaneously with multilingual versions worldwide, Yan Xiangdong, deputy editor-in-chief with CITIC Press, told China Daily.

Yan said they received the last part of the English text from US publisher Simon & Schuster only a month before the worldwide launch.

To fulfill the "mission impossible" as Yan said, which was hastened by Jobs' sudden death in October, the publisher hired five translators.

"When some people doubt the translators' qualifications and work, they didn't read the book and didn't know we have 50 editors from related areas to back them up," Yan said.

Wei Qun, 37, who translated the love letter for the book, said it was interesting that her translation triggered an entertaining campaign for everybody to try out their skills.

"But I insist on my style," Wei said. "It's simple and powerful, which resembles Steve Jobs and the impetus of his success."

The publisher has opened an online platform to collect readers' reactions and suggestions for reprinted editions.

China Daily

(China Daily 11/05/2011 page1)