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Lu

Description of an unmanned ferry

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Lu

The book I am translating at the moment features an unmanned ferry. The author describes how the ferry works:

 

这只渡船没有专门的摆渡人,一头拴了一根绳索,分别系在两岸的树上。这边的人要过河了,就扯着绳索将船拉过来。上了船,再去扯另一根绳索,让船驶向对岸。

 

As I read this, a rope is attached to one end of the boat (through a ring - there are pictures) and that same rope is attached to a tree on each side of the river. If someone wants to go across, they pull the rope to bring the boat over, get on and pull the other rope (what other rope?) to get across.

 

My problem with this description is that it won't work. If you attach a rope to two trees and a boat like this, you cannot pull it (unless you're strong enough to pull out a tree). Once you are on the boat, you can pull the boat to the other side, but anyone who comes after you is out of luck. If you want this system to work, you need two ropes, or one circular rope. This is a children's book with pictures, and in the pictures only one rope is visible.

 

My question: am I reading this wrong and are there indeed two ropes in the description, or is the description vague?

 

Thanks in advance for any help!

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somethingfunny

Could the picture be overly simple?  另一根绳索 very strongly suggests more than one rope!

 

And I agree, this system doesn't seem to work without more than one rope, or a circular rope.

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roddy

I think 一头 is  the problem. 分别 and 另一根 imply two ropes .

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somethingfunny

I assumed 头 was referring to the "head of the boat".  So, 一头拴了一根绳索 would be: "at one end of the boat there is fastened (one) piece of rope".

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Shelley

We had the pleasure of "floating Bridge" or chain ferry here  for over 100 years. its chains/ropes were hidden just under the surface of the water and was originally a 2 cable ferry but started to use only one for power and the other for guidance, one either side of the ferry. It needs to be at least one circular rope to work, but you may not see the bottom half of the rope as it is probably below the water level.

 

This is the wiki page about it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolston_Floating_Bridge

 

In these pictures you can see the top cable but not the bottom one as it under water. Some of the picture show it better than others. 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=1+cable+ferry+drive+systems&sa=X&rlz=1C1CHBD_en-GBGB796GB796&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ved=2ahUKEwjmneiD8_PcAhVKDMAKHX37ACYQsAR6BAgFEAE&biw=1221&bih=684

 

All of these usually have motors to drive them but you do get hand cranked ones, and if you are on the wrong side you have a crank to wind it back to you. Not usually used on wide stretches of river.

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Publius

Two ropes, one at each end of the boat.

 

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somethingfunny

So wouldn't 两头拴了一根绳索 be better?

 

And I'm not sure how two ropes, one at each end of the boat would work.  If the boat is on the opposite side of the river to me, then the rope I'm pulling will be taught, but the rope at the other end will have the river's width worth of slack in it, meaning the boat would just drift downstream.

 

Can we see the picture @Lu?

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Publius

一頭拴了一根繩索

=每一頭都拴了一根繩索

 

And yeah, it only works if the water doesn't flow.

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Shelley

It is usually 1 or 2 or even 3 ropes, in a 2 rope system either one or both ropes are driven or one is and the other for guidance and the same for 3 ropes, 2 driven, one for guidance.

 

It usually is a loop, I have been on the one I mention above,  several times and watched the workings as we crossed. The sort Publius mentions has the same rope attached at the front and rear and is in a loop with the ferry as part of the loop and it runs over pulleys or at least the one I have seen works like that and you can't see the other half of the rope as it is under water and under the ferry.

 

You also get the sort were one rope is stretched across the water and the ferry is attached with a short rope with a loop at one end around the main rope and it is only use for guidance and power comes from the ferry.

 

I took an interest in these things way back when I first went on the one near us, until then I had never heard of them and was fascinated.

 

 

 

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Lu

Ah yes, not a bad idea to actually include the pictures.

 

Picture 1: the situation at the start.

1097573962_veer1.jpg.53ba13621f51a2c39bd766385c2d4815.jpg

 

Picture 2: situation at the other side of the river.

1511189677_veer2.thumb.jpg.134c5b1833be76089c4e5d1c170ca5b4.jpg

 

Picture 3: vengeful bird loosening and then snapping rope. [它]跳到船头,开始...灵巧地拆解着拴在船头铁环上的绳索。

1956222349_veer3.thumb.jpg.4dce21874e8969073fe1c46799f93d93.jpg

 

Picture 4: the result: boat is loose on the river.

757431295_veer4.jpg.fd7a31d51313f3b5392a21cac0c6aa0a.jpg

 

Picture 5: bad guy pulling the rope to get the boat to his shore. It won't work, because the boat is no longer attached to the rope and he will be standing with half a rope in his hand, unable to cross.

1648707650_veer5.jpg.3df56474f36da588318676c3227c3e23.jpg

 

I have the impression the illustrator knew something was not quite right and cleverly painted it in a way that the second rope might still be there just out of sight.

 

As per Roddy's and Publius' interpretation, 一头拴了一根绳索,分别系在两岸的树上 can mean 'a rope on each end of the boat, each rope tightened to a tree', even though I initially read it as 'one rope tied to the head of the boat, each end of the rope tied to a tree'. I guess the pictures could be viewed as supporting this. It is the simplest solution, so it's probably best to go with this. I might meet the author later this week, but I feel this is not the best question to ask him 😄

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