As the world further integrates into one, the free flow of the information is less and less hindered by political or idealogical divides, but more and more hindered by language barriers.
A lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding between China and the US arise from inadequate and inaccurate translation of ideas, policies and intentions. Even the state-run media in China does not do a good job to effectively and diplomatically translate the Chinese policies into English. Sometimes, when I read the English version of Chinese news on China's official site like Xinhua and People's Daily, I can tell right away that the translator has never lived in the US and is not putting his or her heart into the translation. This can be a big problem for the harmony between the two countries.
Language is a bond. It enables us to relate to one another. Language is the art of diplomacy. When speaking to the American audience, the Chinese media should avoid quoting Marx or Lenin. Instead, quote Gandhi, Churchill, Shakespeare, etc. We need some truly bi-lingual and bi-cultural personnels in both China and the United States to facilitate the conversation, to take care of the fragile relationship between the two countries.
This is not just true for China-US, but for all countries and cultures. The world sees a urgent need to find a way to translate between cultures and continents at a low price and high efficiency. The market is huge, and I believe that the global translation industry will be a huge gold mine.
In fact, there are already enough resources around! Look at the millions of international students in this country! They are truly bi-lingual, and many of them are truly bi-cultural. They have a sincere willingness to facilitate better communication between their home country and host country. Why not mobilize the international students around the world?
The only thing we need now is a business model and a platform. And again, the world already offers such platform almost for free: the internet. So here's my idea: we can establish an online community for freelance translators to meet online costumers. For example, international students can register and create their profile, just like opening an online store. Then, the customers can come to the website and find translators to do the work. The pay will be determined by the qualification and speed of the translator. Then the translators will be ranked and recommended, like the Amazon Customer Review......
Translation can be done at home or in the dorms. Many college students can do the job very well at a much cheaper price. I believe it is a great business opportunity to create a real person, grassroot, online translation service. It has very strong social benefits, it increases the mutual understanding among different nations, and it generates revenue for college students studying oversea, it mobilize the idle resources and create value!