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Parenting by the book

By Meredith Rodriguez (China Daily)

09:06, June 19, 2012

An Yanling says not being an English major has been an asset for her as a translator: She favors small words and short sentences that are easy to understand. Liu Zhe / China Daily

Learning how to be a parent led one new mom to the world of translation, and she tells Meredith Rodriguez that she's learning a lot about herself, too.

Many of her old classmates called An Yanling when they saw her name on the cover of a bestseller in China. They had to make sure it was really her listed as the book's translator. English was never her best subject in school.

"I was interested in mathematics as a student," An says. "Translating books was far from my mind. I thought it was for people who major in English."

But while working in an 18-year career as a communications engineer at a multinational company in Beijing, she discovered the parenting book that would lead her to translate and run workshops - what she calls "education for parents".

Anxiety after the birth of her first and only child in 1997 motivated her.

Like many of her ambitious capital-dwelling peers, An's parents were far away in her hometown in Shanxi province and not around to help two working parents raise their son. Adding pressure was her feeling that she had only one chance to get this parenting thing right, and in a culture much more complicated than the world she grew up in.

An began reading any parenting book she could find, including foreign books. She and five other work colleagues eventually started a parenting club, meeting once a week.


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