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思考题

Chinese Song Translation 《青藏高原》

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思考题

Over the past 6 months I've taken an avid interest in Chinese language songs as a productive means of studying and supplementing my Mandarin.

With friends' encouragement, I have undertaken the posting of English translations of both widespread classics and some of my personal favorites.

My interest does not lie in literal, word for word translation. Certain words and phrases, though poignant in their native Mandarin context,

sound ambiguous or halting in English. Rather I aim to express the feeling of each song -- as if the lyrics were as natural to sing in translated

English as they were in the original Chinese. I am not avoiding literal interpretation, so much not allowing it to interfere with the tone or

underlying concepts of each song.

While I encourage any questions, 'quires and qualms, my hope is that rather than simple criticism, we instead make constructive suggestions with specific examples.

My initial words are not the end all, but rather the instigation of further creation.

=====================================================================================================================================================

Chinese Song Translation 《青藏高原》 - Tibetan plateau.

For an online recording of the song click &cat=0&gate=1&ct=134217728&tn=baidumt,%C7%E0%B2%D8%B8%DF%D4%AD++&si=%C7%E0%B2%D8%B8%DF%D4%AD;;%BA%AB%BA%EC;;33538;;33538&lm=0&mtid=3&d=8&size=3145728&attr=0,0&titlekey=462377658,1099284742&mtype=1"]HERE

Folk songs don't get much more famous than this number. Translating this

song I found to be particularly difficult, although small in quantity the

lyrics are very complex. Generally speaking, I am not very happy with my translation, for

example I could not come up with a satisfactory translation to the 3rd line. I look forward

to your comments.

是谁带来远古的呼唤..........................From where did this ancient place come?

是谁留下千年的祈盼..........................Who left an eternity of hope?

难道说还有无言的歌..........................NO IDEA NEED SOME HELP HERE

还是那久久不能忘怀的眷恋.....................Or the everlasting, unforgettable love.

哦.......................................oh !

我看见一座座山一座座山川.....................I see a mountain! I see a mountain river!

一座座山川相连.............................The mountain and river are one!

呀啦索...................................Oh la so!

那可是青藏高原?...........................That is the famous Tibetan plateau!

是谁日夜遥望着蓝天.........................Who gazes night and day into the sky?

是谁渴望永久的梦幻.........................Who longs for this ancient dream land?

难道说还有赞美的歌.........................Needless to say it has a beautiful song,

还是那仿佛不能改变的庄严....................Never changing in its awe.

哦......................................Oh

我看见一座座山一座座山川....................I see a mountain, I see a mountain river,

一座座山川相连............................The mountain and river are one!

呀啦索...................................Oh la so!

那就是青藏高原............................That is the famous Tibetan plateau!

This song romanticises the beautiful and magnificent landscape that is the Qingzang plateau.

GEOGRAPHICAL NOTE:

青藏高原 [Qīngzàng Gāoyuán]

1. 1. Qingzang Gaoyuan (Qinghai Province, The Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan Province, China)

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zenmonk

Hello, I'm new here and I am Chinese, I heard this song when I was very young and I like it very much up to now.

You did a good job I think.

I am not good at English, I just try my best to translate it into English, hope it will be helpful. Below is mine, I did it base on yours.

是谁带来远古的呼唤..........................Who brought this call from ancient?

是谁留下千年的祈盼..........................And who left the perpetual desire?

难道说还有无言的歌..........................Could it be said that this is a silent song? (Thats' a great song and has no need of any words)

还是那久久不能忘怀的眷恋....................Or the everlasting, unforgettable love.

哦........................................ O........

我看见一座座山一座座山川..................So many mountains and rivers in my eyes,

一座座山川相连.............................And they are inked together.(are merged into one )

呀啦索....................................Oh la so!

那可是青藏高原?...........................Is that the Tibetan plateau?!

是谁日夜遥望着蓝天.........................Who gazes into the blue sky day and night?

是谁渴望永久的梦幻.........................And who thirsts for the everlasting dream land?

难道说还有赞美的歌.........................Or there are paeans for it? (Needless to eulogize it in songs,or there are too many carols)

还是那仿佛不能改变的庄严...................Or the heavenliness which can't be changed.

哦.........................................O........

我看见一座座山一座座山川...................So many mountains and rivers in my eyes,

一座座山川相连.............................And they are inked together.(are merged into one )

呀啦索.....................................Oh la so!

那就是青藏高原.............................That's the(my) Tibetan plateau!

Personal opinion:

It's very difficult to translate it into other languages clearly. Why? Read on.

Before you begin to translate it from Chinese into other languages, you should know that this song is a theme song for a Chinese TV drama what named <天路>( Road to The Sky) and played in the year of 1994.

The content of <Road to The Sky>: In 1950s, the Chinese army went to build public road in Tibetan plateau. Building road in Tibetan plateau is a hard work for humanity, especially for the Chinese in 1950s.

Ok, now, return back to this song.

I think it's very difficult to make it be very precise while I am translate it into English, because the meaning of the original lyrice itself is not very Clear, in a Chinese' man's opinion. I mean that some sentences or paragraphs in the context are vague, ambiguous, obscure. Especially for the people who don't know its background.

But, As a whole, it's not VERY obscure, I guess that the people who can read Chinese can get the main feeling & meaning, even they don't know its background - the TV drama <Road to The Sky> . But I am sure you will be confused if you decide to parse all the sentences and paragraphs in its context.

Any way, it's a good song. Hope you like it.

It's very important that you can understand what I said with my poor English Writting.

Here are some another versions of this song:

【Original Version】LI Na - TIBETAN PLATEAU -

( I like this version)

【Tibetan Singer】Soinam Wangmo - Tibet Plateau - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulG-Py436UU ( I like this version)

【Popular mainstream Singer】Tan weiwei - Tibetan Plateau 青藏高原(HQ) -

【Young Singer】http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/fph5J_4lbJM/ ( I like this versionvery much)

Thanks

Monk

2011-02-04

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思考题

Thank you zenmonk for your comments and your translation, I've tried to realign the differences in our translations.

I think that this is the best way to translate a song, a native Chinese speaker and a native English speaker

individually translating a song, after which their differences are amalgamated.

I look forward to your comments.

是谁带来远古的呼唤..........................WHO CREATED this ancient place?

是谁留下千年的祈盼..........................Who BESTOWED THE DREAM WITHIN?

难道说还有无言的歌..........................WHOS SONG NEEDS NO WORDS

还是那久久不能忘怀的眷恋.....................INFINITE IN ITS LOVE.

哦.......................................oh !

我看见一座座山一座座山川.....................I see a mountain! I see a mountain river!

一座座山川相连.............................The mountain and river BECOME one!

呀啦索...................................Oh la so!

那可是青藏高原?...........................That is the famous Tibetan plateau!

是谁日夜遥望着蓝天.........................Who gazes into the sky?

是谁渴望永久的梦幻.........................Who YEARNS OVER this dream land?

难道说还有赞美的歌.........................WHO SINGS ITS SONG OF PRAISE,

还是那仿佛不能改变的庄严....................EVERLASTING in its awe.

哦......................................Oh

我看见一座座山一座座山川....................I see a mountain, I see a mountain river,

一座座山川相连............................The mountain and river BECOME one!

呀啦索...................................Oh la so!

那就是青藏高原............................That is the famous Tibetan plateau!

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zenmonk

Hey 思考题,

Glad to see your reply. I see you have simplified the translation somewhere. Some of them is very good but some are not.

About the first paragraph, I like the translation in your first version.

The second paragraph is very good especially “ 一座座山川相连.............................The mountain and river BECOME one!”. But you should pay attention to the the “那可是青藏高原?”, this is a interrogative sentence but not a exclamatory sentence.

And the third paragraph, you discard some important words,for example, the word"日夜" in "是谁日夜遥望着蓝天", the word“永久” in “是谁渴望永久的梦幻”.

It's my personal opinion about your second version translation. I suggest you don't continue to translate it to English because there's some basic issues of the Chinese itself. I think, no one can translate it perfectly, maybe god can.

By the way, did you ever sing this song with your English translation?

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思考题

zenmonk,

Thank you for your comments I really do appreciate them. You make a very valid point that translating songs is difficult, I find it to be unavoidable that in the process of translating song lyrics that some of the original meaning may be lost. 3 principles of translating Chinese that are often mentioned are: 信 达 雅: 信 - being truthful to the original meaning; 达 - conforming to grammar standards and speaking customs and 雅 that the language keeps its style and beauty. I think that if you are always 100% truthful to the original meaning in Chinese due to cultural differences the English translation lacks style and beauty.

My purpose is to broadcast some popular Chinese songs to foreigners so that they too can enjoy the songs. Halting English translations will hinder this.

If you are not happy with a section, a line, or a whole verse, I encourage you to suggest an alternative, after which we can talk through the differences.

For example, “那可是青藏高原?”, I would argue is a rhetorical question, not an interrogative sentence and as such I decided to translate it into an exclamatory sentence to fit in with the climax of the tempo.

In all, I think the best translations are the result of a vigorous critical process, and this discussion is doing just that.

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zenmonk

思考题,

Yes, you are right and I am too harsh.

I just wan to say that this song is too difficult to translate into English cause itself is much problematic.

At the same time, I've read your other translations in our forum, they're very good.

Anyway, go on to translate them, I think I will ask you for help for some translations from Chinese to English.

Thank you.

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内森

zenmonk, if you thought 思考題's translation was subjective, wait until you get a hold of mine!

是谁带来远古的呼唤............................Who FIRST CRIED ALOUD ITS ANCIENT NAME?

是谁留下千年的祈盼...........................Who left BEHIND an eternity of UNCERTAIN hope?

难道说还有无言的歌...........................HOW NOW TO SING ITS UNTOLD WORDLESS SONGS

还是那久久不能忘怀的眷恋.................OR RECOUNT ITS INEFACEABLE YEARNINGS?

哦....................................................Oh !

我看见一座座山一座座山川................I see a mountain! AND UPON IT A RIVER!

一座座山川相连................................A mountain and river AS one!

呀啦索............................................OH YES!

那可是青藏高原?.............................IT is the TIBETIAN Plateau!

是谁日夜遥望着蓝天.........................Who gazes night and day UPON ITS BRILLIANT sky?

是谁渴望永久的梦幻.........................Who EVER THIRSTS, EVER LONGS FOR A DREAM?

难道说还有赞美的歌.........................ARE NOT STILL SUNG SONGS OF ITS BEAUTY

还是那仿佛不能改变的庄严...............OR PRAISES OF ITS INDELIBLE MAJESTY?.

哦...................................................Oh !

我看见一座座山一座座山川...............I see a mountain! AND UPON IT A RIVER!

一座座山川相连...............................A mountain and river AS one!

呀啦索............................................OH YES!

那可是青藏高原?.............................IT is the TIBETIAN Plateau!

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Peter2010

我看见一座座山一座座山川.....................I see a mountain! I see a mountain river!

一座座山川相连.............................The mountain and river are one!

Here, I 'd like to intemperate 山川 as mountains rather than mountain and river, considering 座 serve as quantifier. You've never heard of 一座川(河). Actually, this is what we called 偏义复词 (Partial Compound Words). Usually, when two relative characters (morphemes) composing a compound word, only of them (the first one usually) contributes the meaning of the new word and the other one just helps to form the word. You should always be careful when come across these words. Other examples: 他兄弟(his elder brother), 有动静 (something happened), 不舍得(unwilling), 妻子(wife) etc..

My version:

I see mountains are alongside each other. (definitely not "The mountain and river BECOME one!")

Hope this help!

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思考题

Peter2010,

Thank you for your post. Your comments are very thoughtful,perhaps one of the most analysed posts on this forum. However, I find your translation" I see mountians are alongside each other" as lyrically halting. Considering your comments, I have taken the river as a metaphore:

"I see a mountain, I see a river, I see a river of mountains"

What do you think?

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Peter2010

a river of mountains sounds pretty good, but I feel something contradict with "I see a mountain" . I think both一座座山and 一座座山川 mean a lot of mountains, chain of mountains not a mountain. To make this clear, 一座山=a mountain, 一座座山=a lot of mountains

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