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Thread: I need your input regarding the translations.

  1. #1
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Default I need your input regarding the translations.

    A person on another forum [also a member of this one] asked about how to use the pinyin in a translation. A person with editing experience [also a member of this forum] suggested that the pinyin should be eliminated and only the translated English equivalent be used. This would smooth out the reading experience for the average person with no real knowledge of the Chinese language or customs. I have very mixed feelings about this advice because of my involvement with the editing of ROCH and LOCH and viewing several series. The result is that I've grown used to certain things like the pinyin formal titles, martial and family relationships etc but do feel that in many other cases the pinyin should be eliminated. Following are two sections from one chapter with and without the pinyin. I'd like you forum members that follow the translations to please comment on this.

    "Guo Jing saw the incoming force was fierce and he knew the attacker was not an ordinary officer. He immediately shot out his palm using the ‘Divine Dragon Swings its Tail’. His palm hit the man on the shoulder and shattered the shoulder blade into pieces and sent the man flying backward a few feet. The man cried out pitifully. Suddenly Guo Jing remembered, “This is one of the ‘Four Demons of the Yellow River’, the ‘Axe Buries Family’ Qian Qingjian.

    Guo Jing knew that his martial arts skill had improved tremendously these past several months and of course he was in entirely different league compared to when he fought the Four Demons of the Yellow River in Mongolia a while back. But to be able to strike the enemy more than ten feet away with only one palm? He was amazed. While he was still reviewing it, more metal objects came flashing toward him. This time it was a saber and a spear.

    Guo Jing guessed they must be ‘Saber Breaks Down the Soul’ Shen Qinggang and ‘Lance Seizes Life’ Wu Qinglie. With his right hand forming a hook he caught the spear near its head and pulled it hard. Wu Qinglie tried to resist, but he was pulled along and fell face down in front of Guo Jing. Right at that moment Guo Jing was stepping back to elude the chopping saber so that Shen Qinggang’s blade was heading toward his martial brother’s skull. Guo Jing’s leg flew up and kicked Shen Qinggang’s right wrist. A streak of blue light flashed in the dark night as his saber flew up from his hand; Wu Qinglie’s life was saved. Guo Jing then picked up Wu Qinglie and whirled him against his martial brother. With a ‘bang’, two brothers collided and both passed out immediately."

    With the pinyin:

    "Guo Jing saw the incoming force was fierce and he knew the attacker was not an ordinary officer. He immediately shot out his palm using the ‘Divine Dragon Swings its Tail’. His palm hit the man on the shoulder and shattered the shoulder blade into pieces and sent the man flying backward a few feet. The man cried out pitifully. Suddenly Guo Jing remembered, “This is one of the ‘Four Demons of the Yellow River’ [Huang He si gui], the ‘Axe Buries Family’ [sang men fu] Qian Qingjian.

    Guo Jing knew that his martial arts skill had improved tremendously these past several months and of course he was in entirely different league compared to when he fought the Four Demons of the Yellow River in Mongolia a while back. But to be able to strike the enemy more than ten feet away with only one palm? He was amazed. While he was still reviewing it, more metal objects came flashing toward him. This time it was a saber and a spear.

    Guo Jing guessed they must be ‘Saber Breaks Down the Soul’ [duan hu dao] Shen Qinggang and ‘Lance Seizes Life’ [zhui ming qiang] Wu Qinglie. With his right hand forming a hook he caught the spear near its head and pulled it hard. Wu Qinglie tried to resist, but he was pulled along and fell face down in front of Guo Jing. Right at that moment Guo Jing was stepping back to elude the chopping saber so that Shen Qinggang’s blade was hacking toward his martial brother’s skull. Guo Jing’s leg flew up and kicked Shen Qinggang’s right wrist. A streak of blue light flashed in the dark night as his saber flew up from his hand; Wu Qinglie’s life was saved. Guo Jing then picked up Wu Qinglie and whirled him against his martial brother. With a ‘bang’, two brothers collided and both passed out immediately."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Demonic Swordsman's Avatar
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    i think the second way is better...keep the pinyin in brackets so that chinese readers can translate it themselves, but have an english translation for non-chinese readers

    The only thing that i beg you not to change is to rename the characters with american names...that annoys me so much
    "The most happy marriage I can picture or imagine would be union of a deaf man to a blind woman."

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    Senior Member efflix's Avatar
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    i tend to like the pinyin too! I agree with Demonic Swordsman about also not turning the names into English.
    Last edited by efflix; 04-17-07 at 11:27 PM.

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    Senior Member Bangs's Avatar
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    I agree, keep the pinyin beside the english translation.

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    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangs
    I agree, keep the pinyin beside the english translation.
    I knew you'd say that.

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    Senior Member Bangs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesG
    I knew you'd say that.
    Because it solves both problems. Everyone is happy.

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    I really fit into the categorie of an avarege reader without knowledge of chinese language. Indeed, in the beginning the pin yin was very annoying. The worst was when translators used only the pin yin and not the english translation of martial moves and titles. They kept the pin yin and translated only the first appearence of the term in the movel.

    Now I've already got used to the pin yin, and it doesn't bother me anymore. However I still doen't understand it. Based on my previous experiences I would suggest that:

    1. Please DO translate all the pin yins into english. Even if the translation cant be too accurate, but its better than none.

    2. If you think that even in brackets the pin yin is doing no good to ther readers you can put the pin yin (in brackets please) just in the first appearence of the term. Like the 18 DSP of GJ. It appear many times, so if you was thinking in eliminate all the pin yins, you may as well consider to put it just in the first time it is mentioned, than keep just the english equivalent for future mentions (the opposite of my nightmare). This is another way to solve the problem pleasing everyone (following Bangs directions) if you vote for eliminate completely the pin yins.

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    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Thanks for your response Felipe. I appreciate it. I was in the midst of a detailed response to your post when EI 7 had one of it's many hiccups and suddenly jumped back to another site I visited 5 minutes earlier. I'll do my response in Word and paste here when I finish it.

    I do want lots more comments folks so jump right in.

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    Junior Member dokawa's Avatar
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    I'm with Felipe on this one. I don't understand the Pin Yin, but I do like being able to read it. Also, it certainly doesn't detract from the story, so if the translators can put it in, then they might as well. And of course thanks to all of the translators!

  10. #10
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dokawa
    I'm with Felipe on this one. I don't understand the Pin Yin, but I do like being able to read it. Also, it certainly doesn't detract from the story, so if the translators can put it in, then they might as well. And of course thanks to all of the translators!
    Sometimes they can't find a proper translation of the pinyin and I have to search the net for it. Thankfully dgfds01 has the Chinese book to refer to and keeps me on the straight and narrow.

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    Senior Member ghostdarTeal'c's Avatar
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    i like reading the pinyin but i am non-chinese reader so i'll have to say im for english translation of it. One time intro of the pinyin is enough (like Felipe had said), just to give the readers an idea of what it really is in chinese, and for chinese readers they could picture the actual thing better cuz, as you mentioned, the eng translation usually isnt all that accurate.

  12. #12
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    The reason I did the 'pinyin' [english translation] was mainly due to my own limitation. I feel inadequate to provide the 'good-sounding' english terms; hence I only provide literal translation. If James can employ dgfds to find a better term, and by all means, do it. I don't mind at all. But most of the time, I left the pinyin of the words/terms that are not significant. I mean, for the repeatedly appearing terms, like 18-Dragon Subduing Palms, Divine Flicking Finger, Toad Stance, Vacant Fist, and the like, I did not even bother to provide the pinyin. It was for terms like acupoints, or stance names, which appear only once or twice, that I left the pinyin and let you, the readers and editors, to decide what they actually mean. My thought is this: even if you don't know the meaning of those words, you won't miss anything of the story.

    For terms of addressing other people and relationships, I feel that I need to keep them as is. Simply because English does not have direct translation for those words. Some example would be 'gege, xiong, di' (they carry different meaning) which only have 'brother' in English. Also 'Zhenren' (for instance, 'Wang Zhenren') is different from 'Daozhang' or 'Xian'; yet they were often translated to 'priest' or 'sage'; which, in my opinion, did not carry the same nuances.

    Anyway, I can go on and on, but I guess I have bored you enough. This is just my '2 cents' as a translator.

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    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments foxs_. A girl over at the Wuxiasociety is assembling a list of terms of address which is quite helpful and includes input from HYS and other forum members. [I might add a blurb telling English readers of the Chinese use of exact relationship terms like 'my wife's older / younger brother' rather than simply ' my wife's brother' as we tend to use in English.] I also use a pinyin / English site that is helpful and amazingly, typing a pinyin phrase in Google will sometimes come up with a useful answer.
    Ain't the web wonderful?
    Last edited by JamesG; 04-19-07 at 12:53 PM.

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    Junior Member markost's Avatar
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    Sure, having the pinyin certainly helps, of course in addition to the English translations. All in all it has to come down to the objective of making an understandable and seamless reading experience.
    Having the pinyin also gives something for those that want to go more in-depth. For instance, i'm not Chinese literate, but after some research i found out that in the title for HSDS, heaven also means god/fate and dragon means imperial. So it would also mean an unworthy emperor would lose the mandate of heaven, or something like that. I wouldn't have known that with just the English translation. Finding that out was a journey in itself. But maybe not everyone would want to do this.
    So bottomline, I'd say English translations get top priority, but keeping the pinyin would give more depth and realism.
    Last edited by markost; 05-07-07 at 04:36 PM. Reason: add important point

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    Senior Member junzi's Avatar
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    I'd say for most things translate into English and put the pinyin in brackets - only the first time it appears so that Or maybe you can compile all the translated terms into a list with pinyin/Chinese characters so those who are interested can look at it.

    But for terms of address and a couple of others, I think it would be nice to keep the originals as they do not have English equivalents. Translating terms like 师兄 into martial brother and names like 何铁手 into Iron Arm He does seem kind of... clunky to me.

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    Senior Member overjoy71's Avatar
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    From a Chinese background, I know there are depths in the language which is extremely hard to capture in English.

    I do enjoy having the pinyin as it provides more information and meaning to the story such as if the brother is related by birth or martial as well as showing the depth of the relationship between the characters. But I can understand the situation for the guys that do not have the Chinese background, for example "ge ge" has the same meaning as "dai ge" but the intention and affection in the words are different.

    However I do like Foxs_ 's approach to translation.

    JamesG, it is possible to put some of the common used Chinese terms in some Glossory page so that the people who do not have strong grasp of Chinese background can refer to it?

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    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overjoy71 View Post
    From a Chinese background, I know there are depths in the language which is extremely hard to capture in English.

    I do enjoy having the pinyin as it provides more information and meaning to the story such as if the brother is related by birth or martial as well as showing the depth of the relationship between the characters. But I can understand the situation for the guys that do not have the Chinese background, for example "ge ge" has the same meaning as "dai ge" but the intention and affection in the words are different.

    However I do like Foxs_ 's approach to translation.

    JamesG, it is possible to put some of the common used Chinese terms in some Glossory page so that the people who do not have strong grasp of Chinese background can refer to it?
    Hi overjoy71,
    It's my intention to create a Glossary page with Chinese / English terms and I've assembled quite a long list to which I will add even more.
    I enjoyed LOCH 03 so much that I've watched it 5 times without understanding a word. It was done so well that I could figure out what was going on...more or less. It was an accidental discovery of a series episode on a local ethnic TV channel that got my interest and I had a Chinese friend watch an episode and provide me with the name so I could track down a source for me to buy it. That search also led me here. I got so used to hearing Huang Rong calling Guo Jing Jing Ge ge that I've kept it that way in the edited chapters. Thanks for explaining the special meaning of it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member overjoy71's Avatar
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    JamesG,
    I am watching that series currently for the eerr.. I have lost count how many times.. lol..

    Hopefully I explained phrase clearly. "Ge Ge" is a term that is used when calling or refer an older brother in family such as "he is my (birth)brother" - "he is my 'ge ge'". It is more causal and affectionate term. Rarely is the term used to refer to someone outside the family, so for HR to use this phrase is very interesting.

    While "dai ge" is more formal and respectable term, almost like a title. When use in the home, it is often refers to the eldest. This term does get used outside the home when addressing someone that is older than yourself as a sign of respect.

    So you can see the complexity of the Chinese language. haha.. I hope I haven't confuse you completely now.

  19. #19
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overjoy71 View Post
    JamesG,
    I am watching that series currently for the eerr.. I have lost count how many times.. lol..

    Hopefully I explained phrase clearly. "Ge Ge" is a term that is used when calling or refer an older brother in family such as "he is my (birth)brother" - "he is my 'ge ge'". It is more causal and affectionate term. Rarely is the term used to refer to someone outside the family, so for HR to use this phrase is very interesting.

    While "dai ge" is more formal and respectable term, almost like a title. When use in the home, it is often refers to the eldest. This term does get used outside the home when addressing someone that is older than yourself as a sign of respect.

    So you can see the complexity of the Chinese language. haha.. I hope I haven't confuse you completely now.
    CONFUSE ME??? Yup, you're right about the complexity [and exactness] of Chinese family and martial arts relationships being rather confusing to us westerners. I believe HR started using Ge ge when, disguised as a beggar, she was testing Guo Jing to see if his simple honest character was for real. I think she kept using as her way of showing the close bond they had. Also, some of her father's typical disdain for tradition must have rubbed off on her.
    After editing the ROCH translation and now LOCH, it is beginning to seep in, although I still get a mental hiccup when I come across female Martial Uncles. The list I have has about 50 to 60 entries. No wonder we get confused!

  20. #20
    Senior Member overjoy71's Avatar
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    Mr. Wizard

    Martial Aunties do not have the same feels as females Martial Uncles does it? lol.... Honestly speaking you guys are doing a great job.

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