Goddess (and powerful son-in-law) invited to Central Kingdom

Beijing has invited Ivanka and Jared, and the way Chinese social media treats them, I’m not surprised. I lived in Taiwan for over a year, and one of my continuing interests was the fluidity of translating English idioms, technology, and proper nouns into Mandarin. My IR colleague down the hall who studies Sino-American relations has been telling me about how the Chinese on the mainland see the Trumps–in particular how their names (and nicknames) are translated, and they are more flattering than John Oliver was last year. There is a spare literalness that informs the rules of bringing English into Chinese, so Ivanka is typically “nu shen,” or “goddess.” Who didn’t get treated quite so well? Poor Kelleyanne Conway. The Secret Service call her “blueberry,” but in Chinese social media, she’s Kang Wei, or “healthy, leathery hide.”