BigWorldAndSmallWorld Blog

Lost in translation

Posted in Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the September 27th, 2011

Often times we heard people say learning Mandarin Chinese is difficult. Indeed it is one of the most difficult languages in the world. Being a China native, I can’t appreciate enough of the beauty of the Chinese language until I have a need to translate it into English. For example, 杭州八景 the eight famous scenes of Hangzhou is perfectly constructed in four small but precise and vivid Chinese words. These Chinese words paint a lovely picture on my mind. How can I translate them into English that still maintain the same beauty as they are in Chinese? I can’t! It’s a sad thing, isn’t it? But at least this is the best I can do to translate the top eight famous scenes of Hangzhou in English.
1.断桥残雪 Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter;
2.平湖秋月 Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn;
3.阮墩环碧 Ruan Gong Islet Submerged in Greenery;
4.雷锋夕照 Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset;
5.曲院风荷 Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer;
6.三潭印月 Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon;
7.柳浪闻莺 Orioles Singing in the Willows;
8.南屏晚钟 Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill。

And then, it came the new ten scenes of the well known West Lake located in Hangzhou西湖新十景:
云栖竹径Bamboo–Lined Path at Yunqi
满陇桂雨Sweet Osmanthus Rain at Manjuelong Village
虎跑梦泉Dreaming of Tiger Spring at Hupao Valley
龙井问茶Inquiring About Tea at Dragon Well
九溪烟树Nine Creeks Meandering Through a Misty Forest
吴山天风Heavenly Wind over Wu Hill
阮墩环碧Ruan Gong Islet Submerged in Greenery
黄龙吐翠Yellow Dragon Cave Dressed in Green
玉皇飞云Clouds Scurrying over Jade Emperor Hill
宝石流霞Rainbow over Precious Stone Hill

How many of these scenes have you seen? Like the Chinese saying 上有天堂,下有苏杭Heaven is above, Hangzhou and Suzhou is beneath, Hangzhou and West Lake are truly one of the most beautiful places in China.

15 Responses to 'Lost in translation'

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