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Category: Essay 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.
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).
Reading broadly into a person (original essay) by Feng Jicai
Translated by YK Chan
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.
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.
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.–
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