Recently The Little SAS Book reached a major milestone. For the first time ever, it was translated into another language. The language in this case was Chinese, and the translator was Hongqiu Gu, Ph.D. from the China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases at the National Center for Healthcare Quality Management in Neurological Diseases at Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University.
To mark this achievement, I asked Hongqiu a few questions.
Susan: First I want to say how honored I am that you translated our book. It must have been a lot of work. Receiving a copy of the translation was a highlight of the year for me. How did you learn SAS?
Hongqiu: How did I learn SAS? That is a long story. I had not heard of SAS before I took an undergraduate statistics course in 2005. The first time I heard the name “SAS,” I mistook it for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Although the pronunciations of these two words are entirely different for native English speakers, most Chinese people pronounced them as /sa:s/. At that time, I was not trying to learn SAS well, and I simply wanted to pass the exam. After the exam, all I had learned about SAS was entirely forgotten. However, during the preparation of my master’s thesis, I had to do a lot of data cleaning and data analysis work with SAS, and I began to learn SAS enthusiastically.
Susan: Why did you decide to translate The Little SAS Book?
Hongqiu: Although I highly recommend the SAS Reference Books for learning SAS, most beginners need a concise SAS book to give them a quick overview of what SAS is and what SAS can do. There is no doubt that The Little SAS Book is the best one as the first SAS book for SAS beginners. However, it was not easy for a Chinese SAS beginner to get a hardcopy of The Little SAS Book because it was not available in the Chinese market and the price was too high if they shopped overseas. Another barrier is the language. Most beginners still want an elementary book in their mother language. Besides, lots of R books had been introduced and translated into Chinese. Therefore, I believed there was an urgent need to translate this book into Chinese. So I tried several times to contact SAS press to get permission to translate it into Chinese, but no reply. Things changed when manager Frank Jiang from SAS China found me after my book, The Romance of SAS Programming, was published by Tsinghua University Press.
Susan: How long did it take you to translate the book?
Hongqiu: First, I must state that the Chinese version of The Little SAS Book is a collaborative work. Manager Frank Jiang from SAS China together with managing editor Yang Liu from Tsinghua University Press did much early-stage work to start this project. We began the translation in early April 2017 and finished the translation in July 2017. After that, we took more than three months to complete the two rounds of cross-audit to make sure the translation was correct and typo errors were minimized.
Members of the translation team include Hongqiu Gu, Adrian Liu, Louanna Kong, Molly Li, Slash Xin, Nick Li, Zhixin Yang, Amy Qian, Wei Wang, and Ke Yang.
Members of the audit team include Silence Zeng, Mary Ma, Wei Wang, Jianping Xue, and Sikan Luan.
Susan: What was the hardest part of translating it?
Hongqiu: The book is written in plain English and easy to understand. We did not find any particular part that hard to translate.
Susan: Are there a lot of SAS users in China?
Hongqiu: There are a lot of SAS users in China. I’ve no idea what the exact number of SAS users in China is. With the increasing need for SAS users in medicine, life science, finance and banking industries, SAS users will become more and more prevalent.
Susan: Thank you for sharing your experiences. Perhaps someday we can meet in person at SAS Global Forum.