Category: Essay Translation

Translation of essays

“意思”的意思 English translation by YK Chan

原文:

某老外苦学汉语10年,到中国参加汉语考试。

试题之一:
请解释下文中每个“意思”的意思:

阿呆给领导送红包时,两个人的对话颇有意思。
领导:“你这是什么意思?”
阿呆:“没什么意思,意思意思而已。”
领导:“你这就不够意思了。”
阿呆:“小意思,小意思。”
领导:“你这人真有意思。”
阿呆:“其实也没有别的意思。”
领导:“那我就不好意思了。”
阿呆:“是我不好意思。”

这老外晕了,一头雾水。
中文的“意思”太深奥了,于是他交白卷回国。

English translation:

A certain non-Chinese fellow has been toiling hard to learn Chinese for 10 years. He finally goes to China to take a Chinese language exam.

Here’s one of the exam questions:

Explain the meaning of each of the term “yisi” in the passage below:

When Ya Dai is giving a government official a red package, their dialog is quite interesting.

Official (O): What’s your intention of this?
Dai: Nothing much. Just something meant for you.
O: This way, you don’t mean much.
Dai: Just a little something from the heart.
O: You really are meaningful.
Dai: It really does not mean much anything else.
O: Then, I don’t make much significance of taking it.
Dai: It’s me who is not meaning much.

The foreigner is totally confused and could not make head or tail of the conversation.
The meaning of “yisi” is too profound. He turns in a blank paper and returns home.

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Translation of Tell Me a Riddle__Amy Leung

Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen (1912~2007)

The works of Tillie Olsen have been translated into many languages.

Tell Me a Riddle was awarded the O. Henry Prize in 1961 for best American short story.

The story is about a couple who are married for 47 years with 7 children. In their youth, they fled from Russiaand came to U.S.A.with revolutionary ideals, but hard hit by the realities of life, they have become embittered and estranged. The story begins with a quarrel whether they should sell their house and move to an old people’s home. The heroine stubbornly sticks to living in solitude in the family house against good reason, but soon she is found to have terminal cancer. In the final phase of her life, memories stored up in her past come back to haunt her and readers begin to see why she ‘can no longer live between people’. At the end, the couple comes to terms with death and the life they have had together.

Click here to read the story and the Chinese translation by Amy, wife of Terence Leung (71).

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大度读人 (原文)   冯骥才

Reading broadly into a person (original essay) by Feng Jicai
Translated by YK Chan

世界是一个大舞台,每个人都是一本书。读人,比读其他文字写就的书更难。我认认真真地读,读了大半辈子,至今还没有读懂这本“人之书”。
On the worldwide stage every person appears as a book. To read a person is more difficult than to read a written book. I have been seriously reading this “Book of Man” over half of my life, and still haven’t understood it.

有的人,在阳光明媚的日子里愿意把伞借给你,而下雨的时候,他却打着伞悄悄地先走了。——你读他时,千万别埋怨他。因为他自己不愿意被雨淋着 (且是人家的雨伞),也不愿意分担别人的困难,你能说什么呢?还是自己常备一把伞吧。
When there is bright sunshine someone would lend you his umbrella. However, when it rains he would leave stealthily under his umbrella.–When you are reading him, don’t ever complain about him. Since he isn’t willing to get wet and it’s his umbrella after all, how can you question his reluctance to share other people’s problems? It’s better to have your own umbrella.

有的人,在你有权势的时候,围着你团团转,而你离职了,或无权无势了,他却躲得远远的。——
When you are in power or influential someone would hover all over you. However, when you leave your job or do not have clout anymore, he would make himself scarce.–

你读他时,千万要理解他。因为他过去是为了某种需要而赞美你,现在你没有那种功力了,也就没有必要再为你吟唱什么赞美诗了。在此,你就需要静下心来,先想一下自己过去是否太轻信别人呢?
When you are reading him, try your best to understand him. He praised you in the past because he needed something from you. Since you don’t serve that function now, he does not have to glorify you anymore. From now on you have to keep your cool and ponder if you are too trusting of people.  Continue reading

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