Yue Fang 方悦 was born in Quzhou, Zhejiang, China, which is south of Hangzhou. She received her bachelor’s in horticultural studies from China Agricultural University and came to New York in 2012 to earn her master’s in leadership in community-based learning from Bank Street College of Education. Here, she’s responsible for localizing Juilliard Global Ventures’ digital products for Chinese users—translating all the English material into Chinese, finding product solutions to optimize user experience, and helping with content creation and marketing. She also assists with business correspondence for The Tianjin Juilliard School.
How did you end up working at Juilliard?
I started to take piano lessons after coming to New York and loved it so much, but it almost seemed too good to be true that music could be part of my work. And then as I was job hunting, it occurred to me that I could take a look at music schools for a non-musician job. I applied for a Chinese translator job I found on the Juilliard website and was called for an interview, and I have been here since November 2015.
What surprises you most about translating?
Translating names, titles, and punctuation marks—things that seem straightforward and simple—can be very time-consuming. Take the word grandma, for instance. In Chinese, the word for your mother’s mother is different from the word for your father’s mother; therefore, I have to pursue the original speaker or writer for clarification.
If your boss gave you the day off out of the blue, what would you do?
Be a J.G.V. fan and use the apps and check the social media channels with picky eyes. In switching roles, I might have some new thoughts and inspiration about my work. Also, I need to check in with myself from time to time about what my work would mean to someone else.
What are your hobbies?
Watching great programs and films with my husband, writing, playing the piano, reading, video editing, studying a difficult subject such as medicine or law on my own—I could go on and on.
What is the most memorable job you’ve had?
Prior to Juilliard, I did project management for Moey Inc., a technology design company primarily working on an exhibit at the New York Hall of Science in Queens. On the one hand, many of my interests came together: working with a cross-functional team, 2D drawing, 3D modeling, videos, etc. On the other hand, I was like a construction worker at times, carrying heavy equipment and crawling around. I even went up to a 50-meter-high [164-foot-high] catwalk, trying to install a computer. After the project was finished, I went to the museum as a visitor and was happy to see that many families were enjoying it. When a museum colleague saw me waiting to get in to the exhibit, he asked the customer service representative to let me in, saying, “She is one of the people who built it.”
What would surprise people about you?
I am very curious about the people I encounter in everyday life. I can be a people person, but I can also get extremely nervous about others— I am still trying to find a balance.
What are you reading?
Jin Yong’s wuxia(there’s a lot more to it than the usual translation, which is martial arts) novels like crazy. He is a prolific Chinese novelist and essayist who is knowledgeable, sensitive to human emotions, and a master of storytelling. I have not seen much of his work translated into English, which would be a giant, challenging project. I’d love to contribute to that.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about living in New York City?
My favorite thing, which has less to do with New York but also everything to do with it, is that now I have my own home with my dear husband. Though we are still renting and have not fully settled down, we now have our own base that we continually work on to improve. My least favorite thing is the subway system, especially when trains are not running normally.
Where would you most like to travel?
Outer space if it’s ever possible! I would like to be able to see the earth in its entirety and view it as something small and, as a result, not take myself so seriously.