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Kenny同志

Translating political propaganda

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Moshen
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Maybe I'm just culturally blind to the similar slogans in UK schools. Pretty sure we just had 'don't run in the corridor' and 'use the bins' though. 

 

In the USA, one (public) elementary school I often drive by has four flags posted outside representing the four fundamental values they are teaching there.  I wish I could remember them!  One was "kindness," for sure.  Another was probably "cooperation" or "teamwork."

 

'Many US schools probably have slogan signs up against bullying.

 

So while the values may be different, the impulse to civilize kids into the society's values is the same, and probably universal.

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杰.克
22 hours ago, 杰.克 said:

I always knew it as "it was the best of times, it was the blurst of times"

 

23792cd3cc080aac505cf3da84879d3d.png.82d3ade8f40538b535b84ff9ad9426b0.png

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roddy

Verbal attempts at humour only please, or we’ll end up some awful meme factory. 

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杰.克
2 minutes ago, roddy said:

Verbal attempts at humour only please, or we’ll end up some awful meme factory. 

 

noted 😥

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Dawei3

 

11 hours ago, roddy said:

"How would you say this in English?" is often "We wouldn't."

One "official" guide on how propaganda can be said in English is the China Daily.  

 

"China and Nepal agreed on Saturday to upgrade their relations to a strategic partnership of cooperation featuring everlasting friendship for development and prosperity."

 

"The Nepali president said she believes that the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, will realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, which will definitely bring benefits to Nepal and help promote regional peace, development and prosperity."  (emphasis added)

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201910/14/WS5da3c910a310cf3e355703d1.html

 

Would the US and UK ever create a partnership based on "everlasting friendship" (or would any other English speaking countries?)  Or would English speaking countries recognize the other's will to "realize the dream of national rejuvenation..."?     (it's like a Willy Wonka film).   

 

While the English meaning in the China Daily is understandable, I don't think we'd ever make these kinds of statements in "normal" English (in agreement with Roddy's point).  The retention of the propaganda gist of these sentences gives a much better flavor for original Chinese text (i.e., I'm glad that the China Daily didn't try to eliminate the propaganda feel of the original text so I know what Chinese are reading).    

 

It's like translating poetry, if you're really skilled you can retain a sense of the poetry of the text.  My sense is that it's appropriate to do the same with propaganda.  

 

 

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anonymoose
On 9/11/2020 at 2:05 AM, Kenny同志 said:

倡导文明新风,共建美好校园
Advocate a new civility, co-build a wonderful campus

 

I wouldn't use "co-build". Is this even a real word? "Build a wonderful campus together" would be much better in my opinion.

 

Also, whilst it is normal in Chinese to separate independent phrases like this with commas, that is not really good practice in English. I would write it as, "Advocate a new civility. Build a wonderful campus together."

 

EDIT: On second thoughts, "Collectively build a wonderful campus" may be even better.

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feihong
6 hours ago, anonymoose said:

I wouldn't use "co-build". Is this even a real word? "Build a wonderful campus together" would be much better in my opinion.

I don’t think it’s a word, and although it doesn’t sound natural, you can still understand it immediately. I prefer Kenny’s version, as I don’t think Party speak needs to sound natural.

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feihong
On 9/10/2020 at 8:05 PM, Kenny同志 said:

共建美好环境,共创文明校园
Build a beautiful environment, create a civilised campus

But you have to be consistent. This should be changed to “Co-build a beautiful environment, create a civilised campus”.

 

There is some evidence that “co-build” is a valid, if seldom used, word: https://www.wordhippo.com/what-is/another-word-for/co-build.html

 

 

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anonymoose
On 9/12/2020 at 2:46 PM, feihong said:

I don’t think it’s a word, and although it doesn’t sound natural, you can still understand it immediately. I prefer Kenny’s version, as I don’t think Party speak needs to sound natural.

 

I disagree. Kenny was employed to do a Chinese to English translation. Capturing the spirit of the original may be important, but writing in poor, if not incorrect English, is just bad practice.

 

Besides, I feel that as a board of sinophiles, we are overplaying the importance of, or maybe just pandering to our own fascination in the propagandist flavour of the slogans. Looking at it from the school's point of view, I doubt their motivation for displaying the English alongside the Chinese is to make sure the children get a double indoctrination. I suspect that actually they want to promote the use of English, and whilst they could have just got the English teacher to do the job, they employed Kenny because they want a reliable and correct translation fit for being on display.

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feihong
43 minutes ago, anonymoose said:

 

I disagree. Kenny was employed to do a Chinese to English translation. Capturing the spirit of the original may be important, but writing in poor, if not incorrect English, is just bad practice.

I agree with your overall point, but I don’t think it’s incorrect English, it just doesn’t sound natural to a native English speaker. It’s perfectly understandable to me and there are precedents for this sort of hyphenated construction.

 

However, I concede that the more natural-sounding translation is probably closer to the principal’s intent. Personally, I would pick that too, but it doesn’t hurt to give @Kenny同志 another data point.

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Kenny同志

Thanks for all your discussion, 同志们. It's Party Speak after all so don't take it too seriously. No one cares here.  

 

BTW, I was not employed to do the translation. I did it as a favour to the headmaster. In other words, it was unpaid work. 

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Kenny同志

I will show you much worse examples, folks. We have a lot of bilingual signs here and you will be shocked by the English translations. 

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Kenny同志

Good news folks. 

 

The slogans have not been printed yet so I have just updated my translations by incorporating your suggestions. 

 

Here is the lastest version: 
倡导文明新风,共建美好校园

Advocate a new civility. Collectively build a wonderful campus.

创建文明学校,争做文明学生

Create a civilised school. Compete to be a more civil student.

共建美好环境,共创文明校园

Build a beautiful environment together. Collectively create a civilised campus.

维护校园安全,创建文明环境

Maintain campus safety. Create a civil environment.

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Kenny同志

So folks, as promised, here are some of the signs I mentioned. I take back what I said. They are not that shocking. Anyway, I was in such a rush to get home that I did not get around to taking a picture of the most shocking translation. 

微信图片_20200914180237.jpg

微信图片_20200914180228.jpg

微信图片_20200914180244.jpg

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Lu

Those first two are interesting. The translations are correct (that is, the meaning matches the Chinese original) and in correct English, and the style would work perfectly for something like a corporate document or a grant application. it's fluent bureaucratese. The only problem is that you usually don't see bureaucratese on posters.

 

The third one is just run-of-the-mill 'the boss' 17-year-old nephew spent a semester in Australia, he can do it' English.

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