Monday, May 28, 2007

Translation (2a)

The next term 月事 = 月信 = 月經
They all refer to menstruation.
If you translate this as monthly affairs, monthly letters/messages or monthly classic/happenings, it will be really funny. However, they may all be suggestive of what the terms refers to.

流浪 simply means wandering, vagabond. The made-up of the term is quite poetic.

The last one 月旦 means criticing well-known people or regularly assessing the behavior of public figures.The term cannot be understood without knowing the historical background.
During the Late Han Dynasty, Xu Shao and his brother Xu Jing published periodicals commenting on political figures on a monthly basis. The periodical was named: 月旦評. Ever since then, to comment on public figures we use the verb 月旦.

JY

6 comments:

Joseph Yu said...

It is also interesting to note that if the two characters 月旦 are written as one single character, it looks like the character that means "gutsy".

JY

Stephen said...

You say you're thinking aloud with these blogs, so what were your thoughts in putting these particular five expressions together? I'm sure there are hundreds of such terms where the literal translation doesn't correlate to the everyday usage.

We have two expressions referring to unusual marriage situations, one to menstruation, the next to wandering and finally to criticising public figures.

Maybe there's no link at all, but there must have been a reason why you chose those five?

Stephen

Joseph Yu said...

Hi Stephen

The first two terms came into my mind because I read the translation by a Sinologist.

At the same time I had a Chinese magazine on my desk and I just picked randomly three other terms from an article.

These picks are unrelated but they do illustrate a point.

JY

Stephen said...

They illustrate the point well. I use many French expressions every day which I would be at a loss to explain why they mean what they do in English.

So, the thought you had was to do with the problem of translating an expression into a different language, that language not having the same cultural experience as the original?

Do you think that the other "randomly chosen" expressions (by way of an oracle)indicate any further help on the matter?

Stephen

Joseph Yu said...

The solution is to translate and annotate your translation if cultural background is involved.

For terms made up of more than one character, simply ignore the individual characters and translate directly the term. Actually in English, there are also such terms like long-winded and it has little to do with the wind.

JY

Jürgen said...

Oh, oh, how wrong I was...

I really thought it would be a part of a chinese poem about FS or 4P.

:-(((

Jurgen