The man responsible for developing the phonetic translations of Chinese characters is being celebrated this week by Google, with a doodle.
Zhou Youguang would be 112 years old Saturday. During his life, Youguang not only developed phonetic translations of Chinese characters — meaning, he’s the reason why you say “Beijing” instead of “Peking” these days, for instance — but also authored more than 40 books, and translated the Encyclopedia Britannica into Chinese.
Youguang was born in Changzhou in 1906, and showed an interest in linguistics early on, at the age of 12. He went on to graduate from his high school with honours.
Zhou Youguang: Meet the man who developed phonetic Chinese translations