Sitting Silently

Translated any poems lately? If so, then why not post them here?

Re: Sitting Silently

Postby Lake » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:40 pm

Thanks for the rambling, Steeve. I understand what you said. Sometimes, it is hard to balance. What do you think of the follwoing translations.

The original text

枯藤老树昏鸦,小桥流水人家,古道西风瘦马.夕阳西下,断肠人在天涯.

Tr. 1

Withered vines hanging on old branches,
Returning crows croaking at dusk.
A few houses hidden past a narrow bridge
And below the bridge a quiet creek running.
Down a worn path, in the west wind,
A lean horse comes plodding.
The sun dips down in the west
And the lovesick traveler is still at the end of the world.

Tr. 2

Withered vines, old tree, crows at dusk,
small bridge, running brook, and houses,
acient road, west wind, bony horse.
The sun setting in the west,
a heart-torn traveler at the end of the world.

Probably none works for you. :)

Lake
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Re: Sitting Silently

Postby oggiesnr » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:25 pm

Actually they both work for me :)

If pressed I prefer the first one because it has a more western feel although the second one keeps the form more accurately. From my limited knowledge of the script (ie what my Chinese friends have told me) I suspect that there are nuances within the script that a native reader would understand to flesh out the sparce words.

Very nice

Steve

PS I'll return to them when I've had a chance to fully think about them
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Re: Sitting Silently

Postby oggiesnr » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:31 pm

A question that shows the lack of my knowledge.

Is there a form of Chinese poetry where the five line stanza is a formal requirement (like the rigidity of the Haiku)?

I ask because it seems that a lot of the poems seem to be in this five line format. If so, then maybe a translation should actually reflect that formality.

Steve
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Re: Sitting Silently

Postby twoleftfeet » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:33 am

Hi again, Lake

It’s just like that
as if waiting for the guest to talk
I sip tea quietly in silence


The reason I mentioned the possibility of the alternative interpretation is that your original word-ordering as above
is capable of both interpretations.
So - it's probably best to stick with that.


@Steve

Very interesting post - it hits the nail on the head. Not rambling at all.

Geoff
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?
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Re: Sitting Silently

Postby Lake » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:09 pm

oggiesnr wrote:Is there a form of Chinese poetry where the five line stanza is a formal requirement (like the rigidity of the Haiku)?

I ask because it seems that a lot of the poems seem to be in this five line format. If so, then maybe a translation should actually reflect that formality.



Hi Steve,

There are different forms of Chinese poetry. The above one is actually written in a certian tune, with five lines, each has six characters except line four which has four characters, and with a rhyme scheme.

A lot of times, the translation can be done in the same number of lines, but impositble to have the exact number of words, or syllables in a line. If rhyme is applied, I find, in most cases, the translation feels forced, unnatual or in danger of loosing some meaning. It is then interesting to see that a lot of poemes translated by Chinese are rhymed (with the above mentioned drawbacks),while western translations are unrhymed. I am not sure if the westerners know the poem's rhyme scheme or they deliberately don't use it to reserve the essense.

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Re: Sitting Silently

Postby oggiesnr » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:20 pm

Hi Lake,

Thanks for your reply. Could you possibly post the standard forms and rhyme schemes that are commonly used?

Thanks,

Steve
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Re: Sitting Silently

Postby Jackie » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:17 am

Hi Steve,

These are crucial issues in translating, not ramblings—isn't this why they say translators of poetry need to be poets themselves?

Jackie
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Re: Sitting Silently

Postby Lake » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:58 pm

oggiesnr wrote:
Could you possibly post the standard forms and rhyme schemes that are commonly used?




I'll try. Here is the form, there are other variations of course:

5 sentences, 28 words, three level tone rhyme, two oblique tone rhyme.

平平仄仄平平
平平平平
仄仄平平仄仄
平平
平平平平

平 in blue, denotes level tone
仄 in red, denotes oblique tone
The end words should be rhymed.

Is it helpful or even more confusing?

Lake
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Re: Sitting Silently

Postby oggiesnr » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:31 pm

Thanks Lake. That makes sense and it also raises the bar.
Steve
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