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翻译点滴 (Challenges in Interpretation)
Thread poster: David Shen

David Shen  Identity Verified
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NOTES OF A TRANSLATOR 【翻译点滴】 Nov 7, 2018

What I recognized as being important in self-study for a translator
《译人心得又一滴》

多看书,少看幕,遇上难句来回踱。
读求外,写求母,翻译贵在洋还土。


戊戌立冬
D.S.2018.1107.a

[Edited at 2018-11-07 22:29 GMT]


 

David Shen  Identity Verified
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Contemporary US History Viewed in 50 Slides Nov 8, 2018

美国回顾半世纪,今非昔比五十例

50 ways America is different from 50 years ago
Katherine Gallagher 9 hrs ago

这篇文章只做简单陈述,有助于了解美国当代史。看来他们也是摸着石头过河的。一路上还捡到不少河蚌和河蟹。

BBOVnsk.img?h=1080&w=1920&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f&x=362&y=328
一加仑汽油平均还不到五十美分 © evankirby2 // Wikimedia Commons


[Edited at 2018-11-08 17:35 GMT]


 

QHE
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【翻译点滴】 DIFFERENT APPROACHES Nov 21, 2018

11.jpg
Characters in Jin Yong’s Novels (HongKongPost)


I translated Chinese writer Louis Cha ‘Jin Yong’
Here’s why he never caught on in the West
by Graham Earnshaw



I am not a professional literary translator, and I learned Chinese on the streets. I started translating the book to help improve my Chinese, but after a while other ideas impinged on the process. Maybe it could be published in the West, I thought, and become a big success like Eric Van Lustbader’s The Ninja and James Clavell’s Shogun and a bunch of other popular novels of the era with intensely Asian themes.

It did not happen, although the OUP edition sells steadily in small numbers. The main reason, I think, is the style of the storytelling. Which is ironic, because in Chinese terms, Cha’s writing was a huge leap in the direction of Western literary methodology compared with his forebears.

Apart from the subject matter – often dramatic events from Chinese history that mean nothing elsewhere – the amount of description and the things described and not described, I think, make it difficult for Western readers to relate to Cha’s work.

Cha was writing for a Chinese reader who could visualise scenes and clothes and situations that would require significant explanation to be clear for a non-Chinese reader.

The rules of dialogue were also somewhat different and the story arc did not necessarily match what a Western reader would expect. Some of the fight scenes go on and on and on. Some culturally specific plot developments, which made sense in Chinese terms, wouldn’t necessarily make sense to those who did not grow up in the culture.

… ...

So I tried to be as faithful to the spirit of the original as I could be, and simplified some elements of the story and the writing to make it more acceptable to an English-reading audience. I of course checked this with Cha and he agreed with my approach. As a result, there are some differences between the original and my translation, but they are differences only of omission. In other words, I have added nothing.

It was different with The Deer and the Cauldron. I cut and simplified, while John embellished and changed. There was once a discussion between John and myself at the Hong Kong Translation Society where I had been invited to speak on my translation of B&S. I have a recording of it.

Basically, John’s view was that the translator had a responsibility to enhance Cha’s work to make it acceptable for publication in English. I disagreed with this approach. The problem with it is that the reader cannot then know what is Cha and what is John Minford. With my approach, you can at least be sure that everything there is Cha.




 

David Shen  Identity Verified
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The answer is in the pen Nov 23, 2018

QHE wrote:
...
I translated Chinese writer Louis Cha ‘Jin Yong’
Here’s why he never caught on in the West
by Graham Earnshaw
...


We all know that the melodramas in Jin Yong's novels are so Chinese that they require some knowledge of history and a certain level of cultural background in the reader to enjoy reading.

That being said, the answer to the question of why Louis Cha's novels never caught on in the West is clear and simple to me: The English translation is not good enough!

The answer is in the pen of the translator, just like a better tasting turkey depends on the chef and how he/she controls the oven. Once the turkey is already on the table, there is not much you can do about it, except adding gravy. A tender, juicy and well cooked bird does not have to have gravy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

___

“我主要从事文学翻译,用汉学这个工具,但并不是为了纯粹的学术,而是创造令人阅读愉快的文学作品版本,令英语读者阅读时无障碍的版本。” ——闵福德


金庸用典隐喻多,
不谙出典是难读。
闵氏手法当推崇,
润色加注不嫌足。

2018.1123.a


Culture is the “Slate” in “Translation” – An Interview with British Sinologist, Professor John Minford






[Edited at 2018-11-23 17:18 GMT]


 

QHE
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Local time: 11:32
English to Chinese
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好评、中评、差评 Dec 10, 2018

wherestip wrote: Disappointed

David Shen wrote:

情节如何?

wherestip wrote:

After seeing the movie at the theater - hoodwinked by the hype icon_frown.gif

Steve,

Now that you've seen the "big-shot" of Hollywood's Asian movies after a long while. Is it basically a romance/love story or is it more of a flashy fashion gala show of luxury of the affluent few among Asians?


David,

It's more of the latter - all glitter and no substance.

However, it does try to depict one of the more sensitive generational relationship subjects in traditional (or stereotypical, depending on how you view it) Oriental culture, namely 婆媳关系. The future mother-in-law, Nick's mother Eleanor, and the family's matriarch Ah Ma, Nick's grandmother on his father side, do not welcome Rachael into the family, and some friction ensues. Eventually, Nick's mother does relent and there is somewhat of a happy ending to the story - a truce between Eleanor and Rachael - albeit reluctantly and IMO unconvincingly.

I felt that many of the characters were shallowly developed, perhaps because much of the material from the first book (of the trilogy) had to be crammed into the limited framework of a movie.

Personally, I don't quite get what all the hoopla is about, except that the movie had an all-Asian cast and had a relatively big budget.  icon_biggrin.gif



老外在中国:《摘金奇缘》差评!
By David Blair | China Daily
http://language.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201812/07/WS5c0a3b96a310eff30328fcd8.html

Nick’s mother, our villain, played by Michelle Yeoh, is ridiculed as a hypocrite. She spends more in a week, maybe in a day, than most people earn in a lifetime, but still quotes the Gospel of Matthew: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal.…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
作为剧中反派,尼克的母亲(杨紫琼饰)被嘲是伪善者。她一个星期,或许是一天花的钱都超过大部分人一生赚的钱,但她仍然引用了《马太福音》中的话:“不要囤积凡间的财物,害虫会毁坏,小偷会盗走……真正的财宝,应该是在心所在的地方。”

It’s easy to make fun of such hypocrisy, but is the shallow hedonism and vast social irresponsibility glorified by this movie better?
取笑这种虚伪很容易,但电影里被美化了的肤浅享乐主义和社会上普遍的不负责任又能好到哪儿去呢?



[Edited at 2018-12-10 00:25 GMT]


 

wherestip  Identity Verified
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国内大多不欣赏 《Crazy Rich Asians》 Dec 16, 2018

QHE wrote:

老外在中国:《摘金奇缘》差评!
By David Blair | China Daily
http://language.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201812/07/WS5c0a3b96a310eff30328fcd8.html





https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-isnt-crazy-at-all-about-crazy-rich-asians-1544031975

China Isn’t Crazy At All About ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

The hit U.S. movie has turned out to be a flop in the world’s largest population of Asians
By Shan Li
Dec. 5, 2018 12:46 p.m. ET
On the opening night for “Crazy Rich Asians” in China last Friday, 25-year-old graduate student Hu Lianyu went to catch the movie that has won big audiences in America.

There were only a half-dozen people in the theater in the southeastern city of Ningbo, and the film left him feeling perplexed. “It was very light-hearted,” Mr. Hu said, but he didn’t like how it portrayed wealthy Chinese people as “having old-fashioned thoughts and behaviors that are in poor taste.”

...



QHE,

I think the consensus is the movie was a flop in China.

The latest macOS Mojave has a new app "Apple News" that includes The Wall Street Journal, so I happened to read the above article in its entirety. To quote a short passage ...

               In China, home to the world’s largest population of Asians, it is bombing.
               Nationwide ticket sales have barely topped $1.4 million so far. Empty
               theaters have forced cinemas to cancel thousands of planned screenings.
               One online reviewer compared the movie to General Tso’s chicken, a uniquely
               American dish rarely found in China.

icon_razz.gif

[Edited at 2018-12-16 00:36 GMT]


 

wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:32
Chinese to English
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Language Difference Dec 16, 2018

"Crazy Rich Asians" is a Romcom, so to be fair, a good part of the attraction of the movie is in some of its dialogue.

Perhaps that's one of the reasons why it didn't catch on in China. As we know, much of the humor often gets lost in the translation from one language to another.


QHE
 

QHE
United States
Local time: 11:32
English to Chinese
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“Chinglish Cuisine” Dec 16, 2018

HopperChopSuey.jpg
Chop Suey (1929) - Edward Hopper (wiki)


11 "Chinese Foods" You Won't Find in China
By Rachel Deason

It’s no secret that Chinese restaurants in the West have taken creative liberties with their recipes, sometimes varying them wildly from the authentic originals. There are also those “Chinese” dishes that have no resemblance to real Chinese food at all, though they often have a deep and fascinating history of their own. Here are just a few of the most common dishes westerners often believe to be authentic, but truly aren’t.

• General Tso’s Chicken • Fortune Cookies
• Sesame Chicken • Crab Rangoon
• Wonton Strips • Chinese Chicken Salad
• Chop Suey • Chicken Teriyaki • Beef and Broccoli
• Moo Shu Pork • Sugar Doughnut
https://theculturetrip.com/asia/china/articles/11-chinese-foods-you-wont-find-in-china/


 

wherestip  Identity Verified
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Dubious translation Dec 17, 2018

The translation of this sentence caught my eye ... not sure the translator quite got it

            ... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
            ... 真正的财宝,应该是在心所在的地方。


https://www.biblestudytools.com/matthew/6-21-compare.html


 

David Shen  Identity Verified
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Dubious translations abound even in the Bible Dec 17, 2018

wherestip wrote:

The translation of this sentence caught my eye ... not sure the translator quite got it

            ... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
            ... 真正的财宝,应该是在心所在的地方。


https://www.biblestudytools.com/matthew/6-21-compare.html


Hi Steve and All,

Everybody seems to be in a festive mood as the holidays draw near, except there is no snow here. I am in Southern California now and it looks odd when the fake flakes are being blown around with Christmas music in the background under bright sunshine at 70 plus degrees.

I haven't accessed this site in a week and now i am unable to type in Chinese at this point. But I just want to respond upon seeing your post and say Yes it's true.

My interpretation of the above sentence would be:
Cai fu suo ju, Xin zhi suo xi.
This is a classic advice for all, telling us not to place so much importance on wealth.

So, Happy holidays, even if you are not rich!


 

wherestip  Identity Verified
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Local time: 10:32
Chinese to English
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The Chinese translation of Matthew 6:21 Dec 18, 2018

David Shen wrote:

My interpretation of the above sentence would be:
Cai fu suo ju, Xin zhi suo xi.
This is a classic advice for all, telling us not to place so much importance on wealth.

So, Happy holidays, even if you are not rich!



David,

I'm guessing the pinyin stands for 财富所居,心志所栖 ... I like your translation.icon_smile.gif

I also like the explanation provided by this Wikipedia page.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_6:21

Mathew 6:21 is the twenty-first verse of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Mathew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. This verse continues the discussion of wealth.

In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The World English Bible translates the passage as:
for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
For additional translations see here: Matthew 6:21

In the previous two verses Jesus explained why one should store one's treasure in heaven rather than on earth. This verse states that if one places one's treasure in heaven that is where one's heart or attention will be. This is an implicit warning, which is made clear later in the chapter, that if one's treasure is on earth, one's heart and attention will also be on earthly matters, to the exclusion of God. While the previous verses stated that placing one's treasures in heaven was wise, this one shifts to warning that not doing so might lead to a life of futility seeking treasures that will not matter in light of eternity. Matthew 6:24 makes this explicit. This verse also makes clear that treasure is not some specific collection of objects, but is rather anything that one values in life.



I guess considering its extended meaning, the translation "真正的财宝,应该是在心所在的地方" in essence is not wrong either. icon_biggrin.gif


 

David Shen  Identity Verified
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You read my mind Dec 18, 2018

Without resorting to typing in Chinese.

I am not used to typing on a tiny iPhone screen so I am being a minimalist on words until I get back period

wherestip wrote:
David Shen wrote:
My interpretation of the above sentence would be:
Cai fu suo ju, Xin zhi suo xi.

David,

I'm guessing the pinyin stands for 财富所居,心志所栖 ... I like your translation.icon_smile.gif


 

QHE
United States
Local time: 11:32
English to Chinese
+ ...
Translationese - 翻译腔 Dec 20, 2018

读了一下 LANGUAGE TIPS 里这篇影评的译文,我觉得译文的翻译腔太重了。icon_wink.gif
另外有几处明显译得不到位,比如:

- There are some gorgeous views of Singapore, but they are repetitive. After two long hours, even such photography becomes boring.
虽然电影展现了新加坡的靓丽风景,但它们反反复复出现。两小时之后,即使再迷人的风景也会索然无味。

- Her boyfriend, Nick Young, played by Singaporean Henry Golding, is also a professor of something or other at the university.
她的男友是同校教授尼克 • 杨(新加坡人亨利 • 戈尔丁饰)。

- Rachel’s mother arrived in New York from China while pregnant, later telling Rachel that her father died before she was born.
瑞秋的母亲怀着身孕从中国来到纽约,后来瑞秋得知,她的父亲在她出生前就去世了。

- The plot from there is predictable. … She overcomes lots of snubs to eventually get her man.
故事情节可想而知。…… 瑞秋遭受了众多冷遇,最终克服困难守住了自己的爱情。


 

Fargoer
Canada
Local time: 10:32
English to Chinese
David Shen 以及各位朋友,节日快乐! Dec 22, 2018

David Shen wrote:

 
Cai fu suo ju, Xin zhi suo xi.
This is a classic advice for all, telling us not to place so much importance on wealth.

So, Happy holidays, even if you are not rich!


作为穷人,我有点不明白。“财富所居,心之所系”,不正是财富非常重要的意思吗?

假如我在大树底下埋了三百两银子。天天想着那棵树,是不是很正常?icon_biggrin.gif


 

David Shen  Identity Verified
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As close as one can get Dec 22, 2018

Fargoer wrote:
...
Cai fu suo ju, Xin zhi suo xi.
...
作为穷人,我有点不明白。“财富所居,心之所系”,不正是财富非常重要的意思吗?......icon_biggrin.gif


Happy holidays Fargoer,

You're never far from the core of a good chat
Yours infact is as close as one man can get
To another man's wild thought
To my Chinese original
Your second half matches 100 percent
Only the last character in your first
Differs from my translation attempt
The "ju" I intend to use is in fourth tone
While both Steve and your read as in first
I'm still on travel, but
Will in a day or two be able to type

...
If one has money to lose, let it loose.
If you have a passion to chase, hold it tight!
Happy Holidays everyone!


 
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