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Boston magazine unveils Chinese-language edition

Issues aimed at investors, students, tourists

Boston magazine’s Chinese-language edition.

The bosses at Boston magazine have clearly been reading their own headlines.

Ten months after a cover story declared that Boston is “China’s Town,” citing a massive influx of money from the Far East, the magazine’s first Chinese-language edition is about to hit newsstands.

The debut issue is a translated version of the annual Best of Boston listings, plus special content from previous editions including the roundup of best restaurants and a smattering of lifestyle coverage. It’s aimed at Chinese tourists, students, and investors who come to Boston with money to spend — and at the advertisers eager to reach them. Going forward, the magazine will publish two issues in Chinese per year.


“It’s definitely an experiment for us,” said editor Carly Carioli. “We don’t know of any other city magazine that’s doing this.”

There are, however, other news outlets experimenting with a targeted approach to translation.

In May, The New York Times published a series exposing deplorable working conditions in the nail salon industry, translating the stories on its website into Korean, Chinese, and Spanish — the native languages of many workers featured in the articles. The Times has been translating select stories into Spanish for six months on a section of its site that’s called NYT América.

“The goal is for readers to have as high quality an experience as someone reading in English,” said deputy international editor Lydia Polgreen, who is overseeing the pilot translation project.

In June, journalists from The Guardian spent a week filing reports from Moscow, which the British newspaper published in Russian.

Even smaller publications, such as The Democrat & Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y., have recently translated stories to reach more readers. The paper published portions of an extensive report on Latino students with disabilities in Spanish this spring.

“The project extended our reach to the people who are affected most and are not regular readers of our report,” said Karen Magnuson, the newspaper’s editor.


Translating select articles or editions could be the future of bilingual publication, said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla. Publishing every story of every issue in multiple languages can be time-consuming and costly. Even if done well, it may still fail to account for cultural differences.

“The history of trying to do it has more failures than successes,” Edmonds said. “I think you’ll see more of a case-by-case basis.”

A call for advertising posted on the Boston Magazine website promises the Chinese edition will offer exposure to an “already large and growing group of travelers and students in the city.”

A total of 35,000 Chinese copies of the Best of Boston issue will appear this month on newsstands at Logan Airport, in hotels, on college campuses, and at tourist destinations. The newsstand price is $6.99. The price for the English version is $4.99.

Lou Ureneck, a journalism professor at Boston University, called the magazine’s decision to publish in Chinese a “wise strategic move.”

“From my own experience, I have many Chinese students who often come from affluent families, and those families often buy real estate here for the students,” Ureneck said. “Boston magazine is making an astute observation. This makes their publication more inclusive, more of a voice for the whole community.”

Callum Borchers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.