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26 July 2017 Last updated 7 hours ago

Shanghai ALS patient translates one million Japanese words into Chinese

Feng Jinyuan Feng Jinyuan

A man from Shanghai suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who passed the top-level Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) through personal studies, has so far translated nearly a million Japanese words into Chinese. Born in 1985, Feng Jinyuan has not been able to walk because of muscle weakness.

Currently, his eyes and two fingers on his left hand are the only parts of his body he is able to move. Though his parents have done everything to get him treated, the disease still has no cure.

According to associate chief physician Chen Yan from the neurology department of Huashan Hospital under Fudan University, ALS patients end up suffering from amyotrophy of the whole body, which eventually affects swallowing and breathing.

Feng’s mother invited tutors for him when he was 7, enabling him to complete primary and middle school curriculums without stepping out of his home.

Thanks to his broad knowledge, Feng has an enriched mind and loves music, online games and chess. Feng began studying Japanese sometime in 2000 after reading a romantic story between a Taiwanese and Japanese.

After three years, Feng passed the N1 level of JLPT, the highest level of Japanese aptitude certification, coming amongst the top 20 of the 5,000 participants!

Following this success, Feng became a freelance, translating Japanese material for some companies and media. He has so far translated a million words.

Nevertheless, he imagines himself losing the ability to swallow, talk and even breathe some day. “I will be like Stephen Hawking then, controlling the computer with eye movements!” Feng said.

However, he doesn’t worry about his future very much, believing that an ALS patient who has lived for 32 years is already a miracle. “I’d rather take more time studying and working instead of bothering about ineffective treatment,” Feng noted, adding that people should make their lives more colorful in the limited time they have.

Apart from his academic and professional achievements, Feng has also donated money to help construct schools in Tibet and taught Japanese to orphans.