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Thread: Help with translations

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    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    Hi, I'm very confused with the proper translations of the following terms:

    wuxia - "Swordsman" or "Knight-errant" or something else?
    xiake
    qinggong
    jiang hu - I've seen "World of Vagrants", "Underworld" and "Martial World". Which is more correct?
    wu ling - how is it different form jiang hu?
    nei li - internal energy?
    yuan qi - how's this different form neili?
    dian xue - I've come across acupoint tapping but shouldn't it be acupoint sealing?

    All my exposure to wuxia is in English, and this is how I usually see these translated:

    Quote Originally Posted by jayjenxi View Post
    wuxia - "Swordsman" or "Knight-errant" or something else?
    When used to refer to the genre (type of story), usually this word isn't translated at all, since there is no English equivalent to what it refers to. (All wuxia stories Chinese.)

    xiake
    Not sure what this is.

    qinggong
    A translation I see over and over for this is "lightfoot". Less frequent even though it's probably more accurate, "light skill". In big budget movies like House of Flying Daggers I see it translated as "weightless running" sometimes. In cheesy old Jet Li movies like Swordsman II they just say "flying".

    jiang hu - I've seen "World of Vagrants", "Underworld" and "Martial World". Which is more correct?
    I think the most common translation I see for this is "the world of martial arts". To an English speaker who does not understand the idea of jiang hu it usually sounds kind of weird, but oh well.

    wu ling - how is it different form jiang hu?
    Well someone else might need to correct me on this, but I think jiang hu is actually an idea of "the underground" in general, and means not just martial artists but criminals, beggars, homeless people, wanderers and other weirdoes that "don't fit in". Whereas wu lin is just the martial arts people.

    nei li - internal energy?
    Sometimes it's called "internal power" too.

    yuan qi - how's this different form neili?
    Don't know.

    dian xue - I've come across acupoint tapping but shouldn't it be acupoint sealing?
    I've seen this called "acupressure technique" I think.
    Last edited by Ken Cheng; 09-26-07 at 03:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Wuxia: Refers to a genre; not really easy to translate perfectly.

    Xiake: Can be roughly translated as hero, or perhaps a noble wanderer/bandit. Basically it's just a respectful way of addressing/referring to a wandering member of the pugilist society.

    Qinggong: I've seen it translated most often as 'lightness kungfu'.

    Jianghu: Pugilist world is perhaps one of my preferred translations; the other is 'martial world', or 'world of martial artists'.
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Wo Xing View Post
    Jianghu: Pugilist world is perhaps one of my preferred translations; the other is 'martial world', or 'world of martial artists'.
    Sometimes they say 'the pugilistic fraternity' which is a good translation in that it conveys the sense of connection the martial artists feel as part of a shared subculture. But it sounds weird because 'pugilist' is a really rarely used word in English.

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    Moderator CrazyT's Avatar
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    I prefer Martial Realm myself. The word "realm" to me depicts a world within a world.
    I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code.

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    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    Read this classic introductory online text into the meaning of wuxia, wulin, lulin etc.

    http://www.heroic-cinema.com/eric/xia.html

    Han Solo
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

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    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    When used to refer to the genre (type of story), usually this word isn't translated at all, since there is no English equivalent to what it refers to. (All wuxia stories Chinese.)
    I refer to the term referring to a person.

    Xiake is also used to refer to an wuxia but I'm not sure what's the exact difference.

  7. #7
    opera
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Wo Xing View Post
    Wuxia: Refers to a genre; not really easy to translate perfectly.

    Xiake: Can be roughly translated as hero, or perhaps a noble wanderer/bandit. Basically it's just a respectful way of addressing/referring to a wandering member of the pugilist society.

    Qinggong: I've seen it translated most often as 'lightness kungfu'.

    Jianghu: Pugilist world is perhaps one of my preferred translations; the other is 'martial world', or 'world of martial artists'.
    thankx xing, this is usefull info... you are doing Xiake kind of effort

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  8. #8
    opera
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    Qinggong - i like this word, it reminds of ping pong.. may be thats why it is lightness kungfu... i am doing well

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    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    Should these terms be translated awkwardly or used in their original form for better meanings? I mean, look at things like kimono, katana, samurai and such. These Japanese terms convey a much deeper meaning compared to when they are translated.

    What's the general opinion here? (Or should this be a new thread :P)

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    Senior Member sarakoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayjenxi View Post
    Should these terms be translated awkwardly or used in their original form for better meanings? I mean, look at things like kimono, katana, samurai and such. These Japanese terms convey a much deeper meaning compared to when they are translated.

    What's the general opinion here? (Or should this be a new thread :P)
    Any word "unique" to a language due to cultural reasons will be translated awkwardly. Although the translation usually captures the exact meaning of the word, its doing so takes the cultural aspect away.

  11. #11
    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    So should we leave it untranslated then? I've seen Gaelic fantasy novels with a long glossary list at the back of the book to explain Gaelic terms.

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    Senior Member sarakoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayjenxi View Post
    So should we leave it untranslated then? I've seen Gaelic fantasy novels with a long glossary list at the back of the book to explain Gaelic terms.
    I'm just saying that translating such terms would not capture the unique cultural aspects of them.

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    Senior Member sarakoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayjenxi View Post
    Should these terms be translated awkwardly or used in their original form for better meanings? I mean, look at things like kimono, katana, samurai and such. These Japanese terms convey a much deeper meaning compared to when they are translated.

    What's the general opinion here? (Or should this be a new thread :P)
    In my opinion, kimono and katana aren't very good examples. They are objects, that anyone can see or touch. However, qingong, neili, etc are concepts.

  14. #14
    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    Objects or not, they are still translations. Kimono and katana aren't translated. They are used as it is in the English language. Perhaps the same should be done bout some of these terms.

    Perhaps the better example would be the use of "ki", the Japanese version of "qi". It's used as ki, untranslated in many Western context. Terms such as bushido, seppuku, harakiri, kamikaze... they are used untranslated.

    Samurai and ninja are very similar to wushi and cike... perhaps we should promote such an integration of Chinese terms into the English language :P

  15. #15
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    In many ways, i agree as the terms tends to lose meaning as it gets translated.

    I always like the way that Lanny Lin used to do it- use the original chinese term, but explain the meaning in a footnote.

    Han SOlo
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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

  16. #16
    Junior Member jayjenxi's Avatar
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    Take a look at this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...apanese_origin

    [s]I wonder what it takes for the word to be adopted as an English word.[/s] Perhaps frequent use by all Wuxia translators would help.

    Here's the list of Chinese words:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...Chinese_origin


    UDPATE:

    I did some research on how to get words added to the Oxford English Dictionary

    New Words

    Oxford leads the field in recording the entry of today's new words into the language. We need readers' help to find printed evidence of new words from magazines, newspapers, books, song lyrics, practical manuals - indeed from any published source. Slang and dialect words are also collected.

    A ‘new word from the past’ may sound like a contradiction, but this is a category where volunteers can be especially helpful. Dictionary editors are particularly keen to receive information about words from earlier centuries that have so far escaped inclusion: for example, words from books or manuals from previous centuries on any profession, trade, craft, or hobby with a specialized vocabulary, from building techniques to pigeon-fancying.
    I believe if there is sufficient penetration of the words' use, it would be recognised. I'm very inspired to make it happen. If any of you are interested. Please do help to spread the use of these words.
    Last edited by jayjenxi; 10-03-07 at 11:00 AM.

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