How to translate the line - Translation Tips 翻译点津 - Chinadaily Forum
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How to translate the line [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2018-6-20 21:01:40 |Display all floors
  原文:行至水窮處.坐看雲起時。
  my version: Walk to water source, sit and see cloud picture.
SUNSET = HUMAN FATE

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Post time 2018-6-21 19:41:21 |Display all floors


Meandering along the brook to its terminal


Just sit back and watch gethering of clouds

I will interpret the verses and explain the wording I adopt for you.

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Rank: 6Rank: 6

Post time 2018-6-21 19:56:41 |Display all floors
The two verses are cited from a Zen poem by Wang Wei as you know, then we will have to read beween the lines and figure out its connotation of Zen before we jump to translation.

The end of the brook is a metaphor which refers to the difficulty of the life. I bet you have heard another verses, "Shan Qiong Shui jing yi wu lu, liu an hua ming you yi chun" which converys the very similar philosophy of the cited verse in your thread.


The gathering of clouds refers to the clouds will turn into rain falling down into the dried end of the brook. Clouds refers to the soluion and hope for the difficulty.


Shui Qiong = the end of the brook, river, etc. instead of the source of that.
Qiong  = end


to be contined.

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Post time 2018-6-21 20:06:10 |Display all floors
#1. meander  = walk around without purpose, and generally don't walk in a straight direction as the brook is impossibly as straight as a line.

#2. brook = a small stream. It is impossible for the poet to walk along the river to its end within one day.


terminal  = impliy the difficulty. For example,

(in) terminal decline

in a state of becoming worse and worse and never getting better


#.3. Sit back = an English idiom which refers to relax.








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Post time 2018-6-21 20:08:39 |Display all floors
The end of the brook  = leave somesone high and dry  = leave someone in the difficulty.

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Post time 2018-6-22 17:20:52 |Display all floors
  Thanks for your help.
  The origin Tang poem by Wang Wei is as follows:
  終南別業【唐.王維】
  中歲頗好道,晚家南山陲。--首聯
  興来每獨往,勝事空自知。--頷聯
  行到水窮處,坐看雲起時。--腹聯
  偶然值林叟,談笑無還期。--尾聯

 In your translation, I like the wording "meander". Can I use "travel" to translate "行"?
  I explain "窮" as "source" because water source is often on the mountain.
 I think "起" means to form. In this poem, it is a sunny sky with white clouds instead of black clouds.
SUNSET = HUMAN FATE

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Rank: 6Rank: 6

Post time 2018-6-23 21:51:04 |Display all floors


Being a good translator, you will have to go to the world of the poet,  imagining what you see in the poem as Chinese poems are virtually picture and music.

Then you have to the picture into your own language in English in the first place and forget your Chinese mother tongue for a while when you are translating, thus you will not shackle by the native language of yours, so it would be possible that your translation becomes flowing, vivid.

Finally you need to double check if your description in English is close to the picture of the poet in Chinese. If no, you will have to reviise  your own wording.

When the poet wrote "xing" (walking) in Chinese, it doesn't always mean "xing" but wondering, etc. in my understanding.

Except for my suggestion above, you need to build your rich arsenal of English vocabulary. English is a very flexible language,and there're a lot of expressions that can express the similar ideas but with different registers, connotations, etc.

Everyone has their own picture about this poet. You can use "walking" if it is really in your own picture/imagination.

The main problem for many people is limitation of their English vocabulary and they don't know how to choose the accurate wording to paint in English.

My two cents. I assume you probably don't understand what I am talking about.





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