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stapler

Small question about 鋪

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stapler

I want to make an accurate translation of this sentence:

 

他們黑壓壓的能夠將道路鋪出長長一截

 

Would you say "their dark visage grew over a part of the road" is accurate?

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JHS666

I think you need to post the context of this .

I wonder this is describing a crowd of people lying on the road?

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陳德聰

Doesn't visage mean face? 鋪 means pave.

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stapler

Yes, it does. But I was of the opinion that it had a more abstract meaning of general appearance. I'll change it.

 

Anyway, maybe:

"Their dark shroud was able to pave over a section of the road"?

 

Last bit sounds accurate, but perhaps doesn't give the right feel.

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skywalker

This sentence basically means the crowd crammed on the street.

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Publius

黑壓壓 is just a word to describe a large (and usually densely packed) crowd. Not necesarily "dark" per se. So why 黑? Well, we have black hair, is why.

鋪 means to spread over or cover.

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Shelley

黑can also be read as wū (yāyā) instead of hēi.

 

It means "forming a dense mass"

 

I think it might mean:

 

They formed a dense mass over the road.

 

I may have got this wrong, if so sorry :) 

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Geiko

Shelley, I don't think 黑 can be read as wu, what Pleco says is that the expression 黑壓壓 is equivalent to 烏壓壓.

post-39698-0-37278300-1472045303_thumb.jpg

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Shelley

Ah ok that explains my confusion, should have gone to Pleco to double check, my first source just made it look like they were different pronunciations for 黑.

 

I kinda knew it wasn't right which is why I said I might have got it wrong.

 

I am just taking my first steps into using traditional characters, I have a lot to learn.

 

Thanks Geiko

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陳德聰

Wow I never realised before this moment that the pū for bedsheets is 鋪... Mind blown. The crowd covered a long chunk of the road.

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stapler

@ JHS666 - sorry I didn't see your post. I guess because you're a new user. Anyway, for context, it's describing a syndicate/crime gang/organisation that traffics human blood, and how their network of blood donors is so big it extends across an entire province. Here's the full sentence:

 

這次集體行動很像是戰爭中移動的軍隊,或者像是正在進行中的宗教儀式,他們黑壓壓的能夠將道路鋪出長長一截。

 

"Their network was so big that.... it covered the road like a dark mass."

 

But I guess 鋪 isn't quite "cover" but more like "smear" or be "spread across"?

 

Ai. Translation is really quite hard - capturing the right kind of feeling.

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JHS666

@stapler It' ok. Yes, I'm new here:-)

 

about 铺, literally means covering something on a large flat surface, so is most usage(include this one) 铺 has a implicit condition:    

 

1. the thing be covered need be a relatively "large flat surface".

 2. 铺‘s object are two type of things: one is the thing large and soft things like carpet, paper...etc,   another is "particle" or "fluid" like sands, asphalt...

 

cover is a bigger and abstract concept than 铺, and I think the article here uses an metaphor, compare the crowd to some road covering thing like asphalt...so I agree with you, cover is not so specific here and can not make the picture the article depicts.

 

and yes, translate is hard, especially in literature. A famous Chinese translator had said: 译者三难,信达雅。 

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陳德聰

Doing translation, I generally think it's best to not add things where they weren't before. Where does it say anything about their network?

They were so numerous that they could densely cover a long stretch of road...

Dunno why you're so fixated on darkness when it just describes that there are a lot of people. The parallel imagery is of marching troops and religious followers en masse to describe their number as being enough of a tonne of people to cover the streets.

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TheBigZaboon

Can I make a small suggestion here, maybe about the nature of translation itself.

If you're translating this as an assignment for a non-native English speaking teacher, and have to demonstrate that you've included all the Chinese elements in your English sentence, you may never be able be able to eliminate the awkwardness of a literal translation. The teacher has expectations based on the Chinese, but may not realize the strain this puts on the English.

But a good translation to English requires that you take a little poetic (translator's) license for the sake of both the reader, and the reputation of the writer in English. For example, for the last part of the sentence, straying a little from the dictionary to say:

"their agents (or donors) were so numerous that they covered the province like a shroud." would seem to me to do the trick. It doesn't include the pave/pavement/surface of the road Chinese image but 100% of the meaning is there. If you want more of the Chinese flavor of the original, work backwards from a meaning-correct English sentence towards the Chinese. Maybe "their agents (donors) were so numerous they covered the province like the stain from a bucket of hot tar spilled on the road." But I personally think this may be way overdoing it, as the previous poster pointed out. There is no bucket in the Chinese, but darkly covering the surface of the road is a hard one to work into English under any circumstances. Your job as the translator is to find the perfect compromise.

Translation is a difficult row to hoe, and critics will be numerous, unforgiving, and often downright cruel.

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TheBigZaboon

By the way, I think, as was pointed out, some of us, me included, are putting too much emphasis on the 'black/dark' aspect of the "heiyaya de" phrase, when a native speaker might be thinking more 'dense/impenetrable' and 'cover.' But a non native speaker probably thinks something quite different when confronted with images involving black, pave, and road surface.

Our bad... Apologies...

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