Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Dvorak of China

Communist-path dependent, one might say. As told by Stanford's Thomas Mullaney;
"From the '50s onward, China was in a state of more or less perpetual political campaigns," said Mullaney. "The burden for a lot of this fell on typists."
Typists were responsible for reproducing the waves after waves of speeches, pamphlets and other political materials that accompanied massive communist efforts to reshape the country.
In this unique social climate, the announcement that one Zhang Jiying had managed to set more than 50 characters a minute garnered major media attention.
We wonder if he had to join the Chinese Navy to do that.
The feat made headlines in the People's Daily, the official party newspaper, and was quickly raised up as a model of communist innovation and efficiency. The typesetter drew film crews, took part in parades, coauthored typesetting manuals and toured nationally.
The record-setting accomplishment, which Zhang later bettered to nearly 80 characters a minute, was due to his revolutionary character arrangement.Most typesetters customized their character racks in one way or another, but Zhang had reorganized his into "natural-language clusters" – grouping Chinese characters that tended to appear together in sentences.
This meant that Zhang would reorganize his characters every time a new political campaign started up. During the Korean War, for instance, Zhang would prepare phrases like "Resist America, Aid Korea." When the government was emphasizing worker efficiency, he might prepare the character combinations for "production" and "labor."
How did he handle 'obsessive compulsive'.

No comments:

Post a Comment