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Lu
6 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

How strange, I'm reading the same book @Lu!

Oh cool! I hope I didn't spoil anything. I look forward to hearing what you think of it!

 

Also on further thought I realised it's not so much the Three Kingdoms but rather the rise of the first Han dynasty. And now that I read up a bit on Liu Bang... yeah it's pretty much that exact story. Still fun though, and now I'll remember the rise of Liu Bang better.

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PerpetualChange
22 minutes ago, Lu said:

Also on further thought I realised it's not so much the Three Kingdoms but rather the rise of the first Han dynasty. And now that I read up a bit on Liu Bang... yeah it's pretty much that exact story. Still fun though, and now I'll remember the rise of Liu Bang better.

Yes, that is actually one of the few hurdles that I had in the beginning, because I kept trying to relate it back to Chinese history, which I do know quite a bit about because of my educational background.

 

It mostly seems to be based around the end of the Qin dynasty going into the Han dynasty but I think there are things from later Chinese history scattered around there too. But also it's its own story and I think I enjoy it more when I let go of trying to compare it to Chinese history.

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  • 2 weeks later...
PerpetualChange

Done Grace of Kings. The parallels to the Chu-Han contention were impossible to ignore, especially as it went on, but I still really enjoyed it! I will read the sequel eventually. 


For now, going back to Chinese novels, or at least one. Gonna make it an easy one, though 许三观卖血记.

 

Should be decent for getting back into gear as I've taken about 6 weeks off any Chinese study that isn't just semi-regularly Chairman Bao articles. 

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amytheorangutan

I just finished my second novel in Chinese 活著. I’m reading 高木直子 comic at the moment to relax a bit then will try and start on 便利店人間 (Convenience Store Woman) by Sayaka Murata.

 

I often wonder, does anyone here know if Chinese translations of Japanese books are better than the English translations? 

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Lu
On 3/28/2021 at 8:33 AM, amytheorangutan said:

I often wonder, does anyone here know if Chinese translations of Japanese books are better than the English translations?

From what I know, Chinese literary translators are paid even worse than English ones and because the money is so awful, people often drop out of the profession when they get a bit older. So I haven't compared the fields, but it seems unlikely that Chinese translations are better. On the other hand, English translators often not only translate, but edit as well: moving bits of text, leaving out a sentence here or there, chastening things up... On yet the other hand (or perhaps the same hand), Chinese translators and publishers can also change things in the text, for political reasons. To my knowledge, Dutch translations are better. The downside of Dutch translations is that there are fewer: there are plenty of books that are translated into English and Chinese but never into Dutch. In that respect, French is a lot better off, but I don't really know anything about the quality of their translations (I suspect it's pretty good).

 

But looking at it from a different perspective: if I'm not mistaken English is your native language, so your English is miles better than your Chinese. That means that you'd get a lot more out of an English translation than a Chinese one, as long as the quality isn't awful. That also frees up Chinese-reading-time to read books written in Chinese, which you then won't need to read in English translation.

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Luxi
On 3/28/2021 at 7:33 AM, amytheorangutan said:

 Chinese translations of Japanese books

 

I'm not sure about the quality of Chinese translations from the Japanese, but Japanese fiction seems very popular in China and there are lots we wouldn't see translated into English any time soon. The 3 translations I read so far were good reads, I enjoyed them though couldn't say how good they were as translations.

 

5 hours ago, Lu said:

French is a lot better off, but I don't really know anything about the quality of their translations (I suspect it's pretty good).

 

Yes, definitely, and there are lots more translated into French than into English.  

I once tried to read Jia Pingwa's 古炉 (Old Kiln) but found the Chinese too full of 方, and it is a door stopper of a novel. So I spent a lot of money on the French translation only to discover that it was so full of slang  patois (my French is too rusty and was never any good), I couldn't understand a word. The Chinese was easier, though I haven't read more than a few chapters so far, it's too big.  

ETA: Old Kiln's French translation is brilliant. Too advanced for me, unfortunately. The way the names were translated made them sound as authentic in French as in the original Chinese, and they were hilarious.

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amytheorangutan
6 hours ago, Lu said:

From what I know, Chinese literary translators are paid even worse than English ones and because the money is so awful, people often drop out of the profession when they get a bit older. So I haven't compared the fields, but it seems unlikely that Chinese translations are better. On the other hand, English translators often not only translate, but edit as well: moving bits of text, leaving out a sentence here or there, chastening things up... On yet the other hand (or perhaps the same hand), Chinese translators and publishers can also change things in the text, for political reasons. To my knowledge, Dutch translations are better. The downside of Dutch translations is that there are fewer: there are plenty of books that are translated into English and Chinese but never into Dutch. In that respect, French is a lot better off, but I don't really know anything about the quality of their translations (I suspect it's pretty good).

Oh wow I did not think about this factor at all haha... it's definitely interesting to know about this. I originally asked that question because my mother tongue is Indonesian and my brother who speaks Japanese told me once that it is easier for him to translate Japanese to Indonesian than to English because there are more concept/ideas or words that have the equivalent in Indonesian but not in English and I thought there might be even more of those in Chinese because of their proximity and somewhat shared culture. 

 

3 hours ago, Luxi said:

I'm not sure about the quality of Chinese translations from the Japanese, but Japanese fiction seems very popular in China and there are lots we wouldn't see translated into English any time soon. The 3 translations I read so far were good reads, I enjoyed them though couldn't say how good they were as translations.

This is true, I see a plethora of Japanese books translated to Chinese that I've never heard of. I probably should pick those ones :)

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Ori_A

Somewhat related to what you guys are talking about, but also just to recommend - Just a few days ago I’ve started a book called 红手指 by 东野圭吾. A Japanese thriller story in Chinese translation. I’m only about 40 pages in, but so far I’m liking it. It’s going surprisingly well in terms of the difficulty, and though the story progresses rather slowly, I find it very nice. I’ve only finished three books in Chinese before this one - 活着,第七天,and an excessively difficult translation of “The Old Man and the Sea” (terrible choice on my part).

After a very long time without reading anything serious in Chinese, I find this very suitable to my level.

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Luxi
13 minutes ago, Ori_A said:

It’s going surprisingly well in terms of the difficulty

 

I too found the Japanese novels I read so far surprisingly easy. I think the Chinese translators don't add literary 'flourishes' in their translations from the Japanese. If I remember correctly all the texts were very straightforward, even though one of the novels was set in the Tang. 

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murrayjames

Finished 《雾》, the first book in 巴金’s love trilogy. It is an OK story. I liked the prose but not the indecisive male protagonist. The novel was easy to understand, except for a paragraph on the final page that might be in 文言.

 

Up next is the second book in the trilogy, 《雨》.

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Hi, I don't think I've posted here before!

I've realised I probably won't be able to go to China until 2022 (university year abroad) so I'm working on improving my reading speed and comprehension as much as I can before then. So far this calendar year I've read 活着 (which went totally over my head), Sanmao's 撒哈拉的故事 (enjoyed and found at the right level) and Chinese translations of the first two Harry Potter books - I'm nearly done with the third in the series, which I think I'll probably take a break from as it's getting pretty monotonous.

I'm planning to try to read a Chinese translation of Yukio Mishima's Temple of the Golden Pavilion next, then might dive into the classics again, starting with 西游记 which I've enjoyed excerpts from before but haven't read all the way through.

I have a new tactic where I use unknown vocabulary to motivate me to read more - I mostly read on my Chromebook and can quickly copy/paste things into Pleco, so I make new flashcard folders for each book which hold all the words I look up. I set daily goals where I try and read until I've encountered and saved a set quota of unknown vocab items (usually 75-100). At my Chinese level reading can be smooth going sometimes and very painful at other times, so I think the fun scavenger hunt-style approach is helping 😅

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Axel Powell

At the moment I am reading Don Quixote and the Odyssey. Do you think Don Quixote is the prototype of Odysseus? It seems to me, for example, that Odysseus in the history of literature is probably the most important character who laid the foundation for the heroic epic in its most modern form. I recently went to the site https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/ and read a lot of essays about the Odyssey and how it influenced all world literature in the future.

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Balthazar
On 4/6/2021 at 9:27 PM, Aile said:

I'm planning to try to read a Chinese translation of Yukio Mishima's Temple of the Golden Pavilion next

 

I'd be interested to hear how you find this in terms of difficulty.

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ZhuoMing

Just finished 草鞋湾, my third chinese novel.  I was planning to follow @imron's advice to stick to simple books within my reach while I build up reading stamina, and read 草房子 as my next book. But due to some pressure from a Chinese friend, I am gonna give 三体 a shot instead...

 

 I have read the first two chapters so far, and while it definitely feels more difficult than 草鞋湾, it seems only so because of the science vocab that I don't know yet. Maybe these are just relatively easier chapters, I don't know yet but I am excited to continue, and hopefully it remains at the same difficulty level and just gets easier as I become familiar with the vocabulary. 

 

 

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Ori_A
12 hours ago, ZhuoMing said:

But due to some pressure from a Chinese friend, I am gonna give 三体 a shot instead...

I would love to know how it goes for you once you progress, as 三体 is on my reading list too. I’ve heard it could get very technical and not easy even for some native speakers, so I haven’t given it a try yet.

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imron
16 hours ago, ZhuoMing said:

and just gets easier as I become familiar with the vocabulary. 

The first time you start reading a new author and genre, there will always be a hump of new, frequently used vocabulary that you need to get over.  Once you do that things will get easier. 
 

Just remember that if it doesn’t (or if the hump is too large), it’s perfectly ok to put the book down and come back to it once you’ve got a few more novels under your belt.  三体 will still be there waiting for you. 
 

Ultimately you need to strike a balance that works for you between material you can read and material you want to read.

 

The more reading you do, the larger the overlap between those two things will be, so always try to err towards material you can read, because that will expand your skills fastest. 

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Woodford
18 hours ago, ZhuoMing said:

But due to some pressure from a Chinese friend, I am gonna give 三体 a shot instead...

 

I also read 三体 because of pressure from a Chinese friend! By the time I started it, I had about 7000 vocabulary flash cards, and I had read two short books (so this was my third book overall). I ultimately had to learn 2000 new words, averaging almost 7 on each page. It was a massive project, but Liu Cixin's writing style was quite clear. So at the end of the day, I could understand the story, and that was satisfying enough for me to continue. It does have a few STEM discussions in it (computers, quantum physics, astronomy, etc.), which some people might not have the patience to endure. My background in Computer Engineering helped me, I think.

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