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Thread: I need your input regarding the translations.

  1. #41
    Senior Member ChronoReverse's Avatar
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    Oh that. IIRC (as related to wuxia), the type of internal energy you inherit from your parents at birth is also the "xian tian" energy. I'm not familiar with the background of this though.

  2. #42
    Senior Member overjoy71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesG View Post
    How do the Chinese regard a child still in the womb? Is it linked to this pre-heaven concept?
    Wizard Man,
    We are still on this question.. mmm.. I agree with HY on this one. I think we need to look at the context of the words rather than the individual translations.

    I think the meaning of the phrase implies that it is not a skill you learn, rather it is something that has always existed in us thus the indeed of "pre-heaven" idea.

  3. #43
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    "xian tian" and "hou tian" really refer to pre- and post-birth respectively. Another term for pre-birth qi is "yuan qi". "xian tian" and "hou tian" are terms which are used outside of qi cultivation to describe other human attributes: the whole nature vs. nurture argument.

    It really has nothing to do with heaven, celestial, etc. though I admit that these terms are much more poetic.

    So my suggestions are:

    Pre-Birth [-Congenital, -Heaven] Qi [Chi, Inner Power] Cultivation

    -----

    Short article on qi:
    http://www.skepticwiki.org/index.php/Chi
    http://www.angelfire.com/empire2/ser...treasures.html

    Pre-birth qi (yuan qi) is the bee's knees. Is there any explanation of what xian tian gong is? The traditional thinking seems to be that you cannot add to your pre-birth qi just refine it. One wants to conserve pre-birth qi and only use post-birth qi.

  4. #44
    Senior Member ChronoReverse's Avatar
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    I've seen it translated as "pre-natal" but I dislike that translation on aesthetic grounds. But I guess it really depends if you're going for something that sounds nice or something that is more accurate.

    Frankly, I don't like the pre... prefix. I think that if you use this translation, simply indicating it's "birth" chi is sufficient to bring across the point that it's something you're born with.
    Last edited by ChronoReverse; 06-05-07 at 12:28 PM.

  5. #45
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChronoReverse View Post
    I've seen it translated as "pre-natal" but I dislike that translation on aesthetic grounds. But I guess it really depends if you're going for something that sounds nice or something that is more accurate.

    Frankly, I don't like the pre... prefix. I think that if you use this translation, simply indicating it's "birth" chi is sufficient to bring across the point that it's something you're born with.
    In other words it's innate or inborn. I'll use the words 'inborn
    internal energy' and add a bracketed explanation.
    Thanks people for all of your input.

  6. #46
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    There is a very similarly named martial art in Gu Long's Mingjian Fenliu called Xian Tian Guang Qi which was translated completely by Athena. In her translation she used Pre-Heaven Seraphic Energy as the english translation and I believe that's where that form of the translation is from. I kind of like it, as it gives it a very grandiose feeling.

    When translating, it's often the hardest to retain the picturesque feel of the Chinese language since so much of it is based on symbolism and imagery of the characters. In this case, I think Athena's translation does a very good job in that sense.
    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?”

  7. #47
    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    This is a rather old topic but I have my views about this. Sorry for reviving a dead thread.

    The term 'innate magical ability' is more commonly seen in fantasy novels to describe magical powers that certain races such as the elves or dwarves are born with. That might just be a question of style.

    However, I often seen the term 'internal energy' being used, as opposed to 'inner energy'. Internal energy is defined as 'the total kinetic and potential energy associated with the motions and relative positions of the molecules of an object, excluding the kinetic or potential energy of the object as a whole.'

    IMHO, 'inner energy' gives a better sense of the meaning rather than 'internal energy'.

  8. #48
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    If I am to use the same argument, why would you translate 'li' as 'power'? Power is defined as energy transfered per unit time.

    My dictionary says 'li' is power/force/strength. Why not translate 'li' as force or strength? Because 'force' is 'work' done per unit length? Or 'strength' (in strength of material) is force per unit area?

    Please understand that I am not translating a physic or engineering textbook here, so I don't care much whether you prefer 'power' over 'energy' or 'force' or 'strength'. That being said, I retain the right to keep it as is; I'll let the readers (or the editors, should they decide to nitpick later) to decide which term suits them best. Besides, I am too lazy (not to mention don't have time) to go back and change all references of 'internal energy' to 'inner power'.

    PS: If you want to know the real reason, it was precisely because I dealt so much with Thermodynamics in the past, that the term 'internal energy' stuck in my mind.
    Last edited by foxs; 10-04-07 at 04:13 PM.

  9. #49
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxs_ View Post
    If I am to use the same argument, why would you translate 'li' as 'power'? Power is defined as energy transfered per unit time.

    My dictionary says 'li' is power/force/strength. Why not translate 'li' as force or strength? Because 'force' is 'work' done per unit length? Or 'strength' (in strength of material) is force per unit area?

    Please understand that I am not translating a physic or engineering textbook here, so I don't care much whether you prefer 'power' over 'energy' or 'force' or 'strength'. That being said, I retain the right to keep it as is; I'll let the readers (or the editors, should they decide to nitpick later) to decide which term suits them best. Besides, I am too lazy (not to mention don't have time) to go back and change all references of 'internal energy' to 'inner power'.

    PS: If you want to know the real reason, it was precisely because I dealt so much with Thermodynamics in the past, that the term 'internal energy' stuck in my mind.
    jayjenxi and I have exchanged PMs about this.

  10. #50
    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    That's a good argument, foxs_. I have to question though, are you a native speaker? I have a counterpoint but I rather not make assumptions before I state it

  11. #51
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    I believe you missed my point; are you an engineer?

    You are right, I am not. As I have stated in this forum too many times before. Neither Chinese nor English is my first language. I have never made any claim that my work is a literary piece worthy of some awards. I am translating for myself, because I enjoy doing it, and for most of my readers, who enjoy wuxia as much as I do.

    Anyway, I am going to leave this into those more capable hands, i.e. our editors. I am not going to let this trivial thing stop me from translating. I should not have responded the first place. My apology.

  12. #52
    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    You are right, I am not. As I have stated in this forum too many times before. Neither Chinese nor English is my first language.
    I'm new here so I believe this is the first time I'm seeing this

    No, I got your point. What I'm saying is... it's hard to explain certain terms that are very unique to a language. I am an English tutor and I have problems translating for my studen from English to Chinese and vice versa when it comes to certain terms. Some times I can use a phrase to explain it but there are times when you find that there's no way to do a translation without having some context and meaning loss in translation.

    I have a counterpoint but I rather not make assumptions before I state it
    The counterpoint I mentioned refers to your point of "My dictionary says 'li' is power/force/strength. Why not translate 'li' as force or strength?".

    Perhaps my analogy was flawed given that I referred it to physics. I sorted my thoughts and I hope this presents it in a better light. Internal gives a sense of something that is physical but present inside, whereas inner gives the feeling of something more abstract or spiritual. Hence, my opinion that inner would be a better term to use. Although both means the same thing, they have a slightly different connotation to them.

    I believe you misunderstood the purpose of my post. I posted here to merely state my humble opinion, not to cause trouble I feel that there is always room for friendly discussion. We may have heated debated but that just shows our passion for wuxia. I didn't know that I would cause some hard feelings. My apologies, foxs_.

  13. #53
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Apology not accepted … because it is not needed.

    You know what, it all boils down to ‘interpretation’. You are right, ‘inner’ carries an abstract or spiritual sense, like inner feeling; or for someone who is strong in adversity, we call them as having a strong inner power. Whereas the ‘nei gong’ or ‘nei li’ here is more physical and real. I remember reading the ‘qian kun da nuo yi’ was actually a method of utilizing that physical energy.

    Because the ‘energy’ is more physical than spiritual, based on your argument, the term ‘internal’ is more appropriate; don’t you think?

    Anyway, why would we debate ‘inner’ versus ‘internal’ here? Why don’t we simply enjoy the story together? As I said before, this is a fan translation; I don’t think anybody will publish it. In case somebody would, then the publisher would hire a professional instead of me.

  14. #54
    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    I agree that it's all down to how it's interpreted.

    Well, I'm on a personal vendetta to get these terms more recognised. I believe that a set of standardised terms would be very useful for future translators as well.

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