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Thread: Translation of the title Xiao Ao Jiang Hu

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    Senior Member Candide's Avatar
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    Default Translation of the title Xiao Ao Jiang Hu

    OK we all know that Xiao Ao Jiang Hu the title of that novel has two popular translations: Smiling Proud Wanderer and State of Divinity. The former is probably a fan's translation (I first read it from Lanny Lin's but not sure of the origin) and the latter is a TVB's work. I've been told that the latter is one rare occasion where TVB actually doesn't fk it up completely (like LOCH, ROCH ) and the dictionary meaning (whatever that is) of XAJH is very close to it. I don't know if it's just me, but when I hear "Smiling Proud Wanderer" I immediately think of Linghu Chung and his personality, but when I hear State of Divinity, I think of some religious nuthead, the type who would go about converting people (actually I'd go WTF first then think that). "Divinity" is just too Not to mention that SOD, its abbreviation, doesn't sound too nice either.

    So my question is: is State Of Divinity a better translation and do you think a better translation (this applies to any novel) would necessarily make a better title?
    "Anything you can't say NO to is your MASTER, and you are its SLAVE."

    "I disapprove of what I say, but I will defend to the death my right to say it."

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candide
    OK we all know that Xiao Ao Jiang Hu the title of that novel has two popular translations: Smiling Proud Wanderer and State of Divinity. The former is probably a fan's translation (I first read it from Lanny Lin's but not sure of the origin) and the latter is a TVB's work.
    Actually, THE PROUD SMILING WANDERER was what TVB called its 1984 attempt to adapt the novel, while STATE OF DIVINITY was what TVB called its better-received 1996 adaptation of the novel. Both of the popular English titles are derived from the TVB productions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Candide
    So my question is: is State Of Divinity a better translation and do you think a better translation (this applies to any novel) would necessarily make a better title?
    My Chinese is not good. But from what I know, the correct translation/interpretation should be "(Proudly) Laughing/Smiling at the martial-art society" (note: I don't know any term better than the martial-art society) . Basically, I think XAJH is the name of the song that was created by a (or two) person(s) who were trapped in the social thing in the martial-art society. There is a statement like "People in such society cannot be themselves" (i.e., cannot act freely like themselves in such society). So, we are laughing to all the stupidity that this society have created (such as good clan, evil clan).

    Literally, THE PROUD SMILING WANDERER should be the closer translation.

    Or, in JY's mind, he may want to use title as "(Proudly) Laughing/Smiling at (all those people who are in) politics".
    Last edited by Wu Xing; 01-26-06 at 08:41 PM.

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    I think Smiling Proud Wanderer is the closer literal translation but it loses the meaning behind the words Xiao Ao Jiang Hu. When you read Smiling Proud Wanderer, you don't get the sense at all that this story is about someone who lives at the margins of society and chooses not to abide by its norms. The translation State of Divinity I think tries to capture that idea in a more stylized fashion, hinting that people such as LingWu Chong and Feng QingYang who can escape the chains of society have reached a 'state of divinity', somewhat akin to Buddhist nirvana. So I guess one is a closer literal translation of the words while the other is closer to the meaning behind the words that Jin Yong was trying to convey. All in all, I think they're both mediocre.
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,你還要不要我帶上那面具?
    傅紅雪冷道,現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?

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    Senior Member Demonic Swordsman's Avatar
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    its often difficult to convey the full meaning of chinese in translations....

    i prefer the smiling proud wanderer to SOD as the translation of XAJH

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    Quote Originally Posted by Demonic Swordsman
    its often difficult to convey the full meaning of chinese in translations....

    i prefer the smiling proud wanderer to SOD as the translation of XAJH
    I agree with this. On one hand, a person who laugh at the social norms is a person who really enlighten. On the other hand, a person might just laugh but cannot do anything about it (or against these norms). In my opinion, both Feng Qing Yang and a person (or two person?) who wrote this XAJH song are in the later case. FQY has to hide and don't want to come out to the society - I think you can see from the description of his face/character - he was not enlightened. And the person(s) who wrote the song got killed (although they try to leave the society). I even doubt that LHC really got enlightened and I feel he got a bit lucky in his case.

    Just my opinion though.

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    Senior Member ChronoReverse's Avatar
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    Frankly I don't like either translation much but I dislike the SPW one more because not only is it wrong, it is also sounds very hodged-together in English.

    Frankly, of all the official translations of the I've seen, I like "Laughing in the Wind" the best (CCTV English version). I didn't too much like the adaptation itself though.

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    Does one really need to translate the term "jianghu" though? It's like a word of its own, like 'wuxia", "wulin", "kowtow", "yin", "yang".

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    i like Smiling Proud Wanderer
    sounds better than SOD

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    Senior Member Candide's Avatar
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    Laughing in the Wind sounds quite good actually. Better than SPW, IMO. Hey, so if you were the translator, what would your translation be?
    "Anything you can't say NO to is your MASTER, and you are its SLAVE."

    "I disapprove of what I say, but I will defend to the death my right to say it."

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    Senior Member kidd's Avatar
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    Although State Of Divinity might be closer to the meaning of XAJH, it still very misleading. When I read SOH, I always think of 'Liao Zhai' or 'Feng Shen Bang', something about Gods and Demons.

    Smiling Proud Wanderer sounds the best to me.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    SOD should be the title used as it captures the spirit of both the novel and the song. Smiling Proud Wanderer, unfortunately is not English at all.

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    Senior Member Candide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Han Solo
    SOD should be the title used as it captures the spirit of both the novel and the song.
    I forgot the description of the song, but the novel has no such spirit (state of divinity). State of divinity is about an enlightened person, and there is no such person in XAJH. Noone was remotely close. The main character LHC is as far from enlightenment as me from being a vegan.
    "Anything you can't say NO to is your MASTER, and you are its SLAVE."

    "I disapprove of what I say, but I will defend to the death my right to say it."

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    If we can have movies with titles 'Dances with Wolves' and 'Gone with the Wind', I think we could use the name 'Laughs at Martial World' as an English translation of XAJH. And this name could be used as a name of the song as well (think about this name as a song name on a music CD ).

    What do you think? Just a fun thinking though.
    Last edited by Wu Xing; 01-27-06 at 07:24 AM.

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    Senior Member kidd's Avatar
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    I would rather have 'State of Divinity' then. 'Laughs at Martial World' does not sound good at all, unlike 'Dances with Wolves' and 'Gone with the Wind' which actually sound poetic.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Senior Member Candide's Avatar
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    I think we should call it "Bugger that!". I reckon that best reflects LHC's attitude.
    "Anything you can't say NO to is your MASTER, and you are its SLAVE."

    "I disapprove of what I say, but I will defend to the death my right to say it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd
    I would rather have 'State of Divinity' then. 'Laughs at Martial World' does not sound good at all, unlike 'Dances with Wolves' and 'Gone with the Wind' which actually sound poetic.
    I see. So, in that case, English name of XAJH might not be able to include 'Laugh' (Xiao) and 'Jiang Hu' literally now. Since it seems to me that any name with 'Laugh' might not sound poetic. And we cannot translate 'Jiang Hu' in any good English either.

    Honestly, I don't like 'State of Divinity' since, in my opinion, it is almost nothing to do with this novel. In my opinion, JY wrote this novel with the main idea as criticizing (the nature of) the politics & politicians. Nothing to do with 'Divintiy'. We just laugh those politicians who obsessed in politics (as people in Jiang Hu).

    That is why I used 'Laugh at' in the title I suggest since, from dictionary, 'laugh at sb/sth' means

    1. to treat someone or something as if they are stupid, by laughing or making funny and unkind remarks about them, or,

    2. to seem not to care about something that most people would worry about,

    which seems to match with my idea of the name XAJH perfectly.

    Anyway, I agree that we want a nice sound-poetic name.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Candide
    I think we should call it "Bugger that!". I reckon that best reflects LHC's attitude.
    I think I'm still interested to find a 'right' name for XAJH (i.e., give a right meaning yet still a beautiful + sound-poetic [as kidd suggest] name), you know.

    Is it impossible?

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    I was thinking maybe the story should be called THE GAY SWORDSMAN, but that might send the wrong message.

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    Senior Member Candide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng
    I was thinking maybe the story should be called THE GAY SWORDSMAN, but that might send the wrong message.
    How about Gay Swordsmen Eating Pudding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wu Xing
    In my opinion, JY wrote this novel with the main idea as criticizing (the nature of) the politics & politicians. Nothing to do with 'Divintiy'. We just laugh those politicians who obsessed in politics (as people in Jiang Hu).

    Anyway, I agree that we want a nice sound-poetic name.
    Good point, working on this now.
    "Anything you can't say NO to is your MASTER, and you are its SLAVE."

    "I disapprove of what I say, but I will defend to the death my right to say it."

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