Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yufeimen - Happy New Year 2U

Trying something a little different with this one... this is the pinyin and translation, instead of the original Chinese.

keai de Xiao Ji fei wang Wen'gehuacute Lucky1 flies towards Vancouver
pei zai fumu de shenpangat the side of his parents
piaoliang de Luyi yiran hai zaibeautiful Louie2 is still there
meitian bu ting de fannaothe everyday troubles never stop
jianqiang de Aling zai Malaixiyastrong Ah-Ling in Malaysia
zhuiqiu ziji de mengxiangchasing her own dreams
congming de Dandan yiran hai zaismart Dandan is still there
yingfu bu duan de benmangcoping with the constant rush
wulun tianyano matter if it's the other end of the sky, la i yeah3
bu fen haijiaowithout regard to what corner of the sea4, la i yeah
xi nu ai leaffections, rages, sorrows, joys5, la i yeah
yi yiqi wuall dancing together
happy new year 2 uhappy new year 2 u
happy new year 2 uhappy new year 2 u
happy new yearhappy new year
happy new yearhappy new year
yonggan de Tuzi hai liu zai taxiangbrave Rabbit is still staying in a distant land
xunzhao xinxian de fangxianglooking for a fresh direction
wenrou de Saosao yiran hai zaitender Sister-in-Law6 is still there
yangzhe wawa de chengzhanggazing at her growing baby
(repeat chorus)(repeat chorus)
1. Xiao Ji, "Little Luck". A name for a kid.
2. This is the transliteration for either English Louie or French Louis.
3. My own transcription for the little meaningless sound she makes at the end of the lines.
4. For both of these lines I am being a little more literal in order to sound more poetic. Tianya, "sky shore", means "a far away place, the other side of the world"; haijiao, "sea corner", means cape.
5. Again, being literal because it sounds nicer. It's an idiom meaning the whole range of human emotions.
6. No way not to make this sound awkward in English, because we don't use the familial titles in English the way they are used in Chinese. This means specifically one's older brother's wife. If my brother's wife spoke Chinese, it would be totally normal in our conversations for me to address her as Saosao instead of her name.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sa Dingding - Ha Ha Lili (The Story of Heaven and Earth/Tian Di Ji)

In the album's English tracklisting, this is called "Ha Ha Lili", in the Chinese, it is called 天地记, tian di ji, which is a... conceit? motif? whatever, in titles of stories, to end with ji which means "record". So for example, one of the titles of the story usually called Dream of the Red Chamber in English is shitou ji, "stone record", or, "The Story of the Stone". The word is also found in the title of Journey to the West in Chinese. So, a sense of ancient stories in this choice.

The music video is quite a trip.

传说中天与地连在一起 永不分离legend has it that heaven and earth were connected together and never separated
勤劳的人们和那些神奇的动物生活在山洞里 啊咿the hard-working people and those mystical animals lived in a cave, ayi
下过雨的清晨 一束光照着树神on an early rainy morning, a shining dryad1
远处传来隆隆的鼓声from a distant place sent the rumbling of drumbeats
沉沉的鼓声 阵阵震醒山洞里的人wave after wave of heavy drumbeats shook the people in the cave awake
墙上的预言这就要发生according to the prophecies on the wall, this would happen
沙啦啦啦啦 伴着节奏急促的脚步sha la la la la, quickened footsteps following the rhythm
沙啦啦啦啦 人们的心在跳 跳sha la la la la, people's hearts jumping, jumping2
沙啦啦啦啦 金色公鸡带来了传奇sha la la la la, a golden rooster brings about the legend
分开了天地the parting of heaven and earth
ha li li ha li etc.ha li li, ha li etc
从那天起人们走出了山洞beginning that day, people walked out of the cave
和山神和树神住在一起and lived together with the oreads and dryads1
从那天起人们走出了山洞beginning that day, people walked out of the cave
和大自然完美的在一起and were perfectly together with Nature3
1. I'm choosing to translate the literal "mountain spirit and tree spirit" as oread and dryad because... I can? LOL. IDK, I always liked the "fairy" translation of xian too, rather than the more common "immortal".
2. The word for heartbeat in Chinese is xintiao, "heart jump", and the tiao can also mean dance. I think the insertion of the tense marker makes it more forceful and pushes it from "heartbeat" to "heart jump".
3. Nature with a capital N. Like earth (soil) versus Earth (the planet). This is almost like Mother Nature, but without the personification of the English idiom.

Power Station - When

4Shared stream later.

This is the opening song to the smash hit series "Princess Returning Pearl."

當山峰沒有稜角的時候 when the mountains no longer have ridges
當河水不再流when the river water no longer flows
當時間停住 日夜不分 when time stops and there's no difference between night and day
當天地萬物 化為虛有when all the things of heaven and earth turn to nothing
我還是不能和你分手 I still will be unable to let go of your hand
不能和你分手unable to let go of your hand
你的溫柔 是我今生最大的守候your tenderness is the greatest thing I look for in this life
當太陽不再上升的時候 when the sun no longer rises
當地球不再轉動when the earth no longer spins
當春夏秋冬 不再變換 when the four seasons no longer change
當花草樹木 全部凋殘when all sorts of plants wither completely
我還是不能和你分散 I will still be unable to be parted from you
不能和你分散unable to be parted from you
你的笑容 是我今生最大的眷戀your smile is the greatest thing I long for in this life
讓我們紅塵作伴 活的瀟瀟灑灑let us keep company in this mortal world, living according to nature
策馬奔騰  共享人世繁華 urge our steeds onward, enjoying the marvels of this world
讓我們對酒當歌 唱出心中喜悅let us make merry with wine and song, singing out our hearts' joy
轟轟烈烈  把握青春年華with all our strength grab onto the years of our youth
repeat chorusrepeat chorus
verse 2verse 2
chorus x2chorus x2

Huang YiDA - Jerk

Chou nanren is very specifically a male term; it means "stinky man" literally.

The music video for this song is creepy. Which you might think is the point, but actually it's wrong for the song, IMHO. The song is about the self-confident bastard who women know is bad news yet intrigues them because they want to believe that they can change him (guys, it's pretty much exactly the same thought process that causes men to chase and spend money on selfish and unattainable women... you want what you can't/shouldn't have).

The music video, on the other hand, seems to depict a stalker, and instead of being actively and irresistibly drawn to his arrogance and potency like a moth to a flame, the girl seems more like she wants to get away but doesn't have the self-confidence to say anything. I'm yelling at the screen "No! Don't let him see your contact info! NEVER GO TO A SECOND LOCATION WITH A STRANGER!"

YiDA's smile at about 2:36 suits the song perfectly, however. Me-OW.

*我就是你們女生最討厭的那種人 *I'm that kind of guy you girls despise the most
專門欺騙女人感情的臭男人the jerk who specializes in manipulating women's feelings
我就是那個家裡有了一個還嫌不夠 I'm that guy who's got one at home but still isn't satisfied
還在外頭養了一個小女人so I keep a girl on the side
喔 喔 喔 喔oh oh, oh oh
我就是你們所謂的不在乎天長地久 I'm your so-called "doesn't care about eternity" guy
只在乎曾經擁有的臭男人the jerk who only cares about notching off another conquest1
我就是那個一三五會在家 二四六哪還用說 I'm that guy who's home MWF, no need to ask what I'm doing THS2
而星期天是平靜的渡過and Sundays go by totally quietly
#奇怪的是這世界 #and the funny thing about this world is
男人不壞女人不愛if men aren't bad then women don't love them
要帥要體貼又要關懷 handsome and considerate and devoted
這種男人已不存在that kind of guy doesn't exist!
△我就是那個讓你不明白 △I'm that guy who messes you up
讓你看不開 讓你好無奈who keeps you from seeing clearly, who makes you so helpless
對了就是那個臭男孩 that's right, it's that jerk
讓你叫天 天不理睬who makes you scream "God"3, but God isn't paying attention
Repeat *,#,△Repeat *,#,△
我就是那個那個讓你不明白 I'm that guy, that guy who messes you up
讓你看不開 讓你好無奈who keeps you from seeing clearly, who makes you so helpless
對了就是那個臭男孩 that's right, it's that jerk
讓你叫天 天不理睬who makes you scream "God", but God isn't paying attention
就是那個讓你失去 that jerk who makes you lose things
讓你心痛 讓你淚流 who makes your heart ache, who makes your tears flow
讓你一生好痛恨的臭男人whom you'll hate dearly your whole life
我就是那個讓你無法自拔 yeah I'm that guy who gives you no way to get free
無法渴望 無法預料 no way to hope, no way to see what's coming
一生痛恨的臭男人that jerk you'll hate your whole life
臭男人 臭男人 臭男人jerk, jerk, jerk
我這個這個這個這個這個這個臭男人I'm a j-j-j-j-j-jerk4

1. I'm being fairly free with my translation here. Literally "only cares about 'having something' (IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. and you do.) once".
2. Monday Wednesday etc. The lyrics use abbreviations, so I do too. No need to ask because you know what he's doing. SEXING.
3. Chinese will say "tian (sky or heaven)" where English speakers say "Oh my God" or "God". This is actually tian not God.
4. This construction in Chinese, if I can use Chinglish for a moment, is pronoun/this/insult. So "wo zhege chounanren" in this instance, I/this/stinks/male/person; another example would be "ni zhege bailei" you/this/fail/category. The latter is idiomatically "You scum!" For some reason in English we can say "You scum/jerk/idiot!" but you can't say "I scum/jerk/idiot". So I would translate it as "I'm a jerk" or "a jerk like me". So the repeating "zhege zhege zhege" isn't "this this this this", it's more like singing and purposefully stuttering over the first syllable of a word.

David Tao and Jolin Tsai - Marry Me Today

Can I just say that David has THE DORKIEST LAUGH EVER? Because he does. XD

陶:春暖的花開 帶走冬天的感傷 D: the flowers blooming in the warm spring carrying away the winter melancholy
微風吹來浪漫的氣息a breeze blowing in a romantic atmosphere
每一首情歌 忽然充滿意義 every love song suddenly full of meaning
我就在此刻突然見到妳in that very moment, I suddenly see you
蔡:春暖的花香 帶走冬天的凄寒 J: the flowers blooming in the spring carrying away the cold loneliness of winter
微風吹來意外的愛情a breeze blowing in a romance I never expected
鳥兒的高歌 拉近我們距離 the loud songs of the birds pulling us closer together
我就在此刻突然愛上你 in that very moment, I suddenly fell in love with you
合:聽我說 手牽手 跟我一起走 創造幸福的生活Together: listen to me, hand in hand, come with me and create a blessed life
昨天已來不及 明天就會可惜 it's already too late for yesterday, and tomorrow would be a pity,
今天嫁給我好嗎so how about marrying me today?
陶:夏日的熱情 打動春天的懶散 D: the passion of summer, rousing from the laziness of spring
陽光照耀美滿的家庭the sunlight shining on a blissful household
  每一首情歌 都會勾起回憶 every love song brings back memories
想當年我是怎麼認識妳thinking of how I met you in those days
蔡:冬天的憂傷 接續秋天的孤單 J: the sorrow of winter after the loneliness of autumn
微風吹來苦樂的思念 [I'M MISSIN' YOU]the breeze blowing in bittersweet recollection (I'M MISSING YOU)
鳥兒的高歌 唱著不要別離the loud song of the birds singing "don't leave"
合:此刻我多麼想要擁抱你 聽我說Together: in this moment, how much I want to embrace you, listen to me
合:手牽手 跟我一起走 過著安定的生活Together: hand in hand, come with me and have a quiet life
昨天已來不及 明天就會可惜 今天妳要嫁給我 聽我說it's already too late for yesterday, and tomorrow would be a pity, so marry me today, listen to me
手牽手 我們一起走 把妳一生交給我hand in hand, we'll go together, give me your whole life
昨天不要回頭 明天要到白首 don't look back on yesterday, tomorrow we'll go until death do us part1
今天妳要嫁給我marry me today
HEY HEY,UH UH 叮噹 聽著禮堂的鐘聲 HEY HEY, UH UH, ding dong, listening to the sound of the bells of the church
我們在上帝和親友面前見證in front of the witness of God, relatives, and friends
這對男女現在就要結為夫妻 this man and woman will now bind themselves as husband and wife
不要忘了這一切是多麼的神聖don't forget that all of this is so sacred
你願意生死苦樂永遠和她在一起 are you willing to be with her forever in life or death, bitterness or happiness?
愛惜她 尊重她 安慰她 保護著她to cherish her, respect her, comfort her, and protect her?
倆人同心建立起美滿的家庭 two people with one heart building up a blissful household
你願意這樣做嗎? YES,I DOare you willing2 to do this? YES, I DO
合:聽我說 手牽手 一路到盡頭 把妳一生交給我Both: listen to me, hand in hand, to the very end of the road, give me your whole life
昨天已是過去 明天更多回憶 yesterday's already passed, tomorrow we'll have more memories
今天妳要嫁給我marry me today
今天妳要嫁給我 今天妳要嫁給我marry me today, marry me today
今天妳要嫁給我 今天妳要嫁給我marry me today, marry me today
1. This references a Chinese idiom, "until our heads our white", which is the equivalent of the English idiom "til death do us part".
2. In Chinese wedding ceremonies, Instead of "do you take this blah blah" and the answer being "I do", it's "are you willing to blah blah blah" and the answer is "I am willing." Hence the disconnect in translation between "are you willing to do this" and "YES I DO" in English.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Landy Wen - Wish Me Happy Birthday

The title could just as easily be "Happy Birthday to Me". I used to prefer that, now I'm leaning towards "Wish Me Happy Birthday". Could go either way.

我知道傷心不能改變什麼 那麼 讓我誠實一點I know a broken heart can't change anything, so, let me be honest a little
誠實 難免有不能控制的宣洩 honest, I can't get away from an uncontrollable urge to come clean
只要關上了門 不必理誰just shut the door, no need to mind anyone
*一個人坐在空盪包廂裡面 手機 讓它休息一夜*sitting alone within an empty booth, my cellphone? I'll let it rest for the night
難 像切割切掉回憶的畫面 it's hard, like cutting until the edges of my memory drop away
眼淚不能流過十二點the tears can't keep going past 12 o'clock
#生日快樂 我對自己說 #happy birthday, I say to myself
蠟燭點了 寂寞亮了the candles are lit, the loneliness shining
生日快樂 淚也融了 happy birthday, the tears are melting too
我要謝謝你給的你拿走的一切I want to thank you for everything that you gave and took away
△還愛你 帶一點恨 還要時間 才能平衡△I still love you, with a little hatred, I still need time, before I stabilize
熱戀傷痕 幻滅重生 a scar from passionate love, a rebirth from disillusion
祝我生日快樂wish me happy birthday
Repeat *,#,△,△Repeat *,#,△,△

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Biung Wang - Hongye Chuanqi (Legend of the Red Leaves

The Red Leaves were a 1960s little league baseball team that is indeed legendary in Taiwan. Originally the team was started to encourage Bunun (an indigenous people of Taiwan) children to go to school. This particular team did so well, however, that they won the island-wide little league championship and defeated a Japanese team as well.

Biung Wang, as I mentioned in my earlier translation, is Bunun, and so of course this song (which he wrote himself) is an expression of personal pride in his heritage.

蜿蜒的路沿著溪流 when you follow a snaking road along a stream
走到沒路有個部落to the point where there's no road, there's a tribe
山上小孩踩著泥土 the children on the mountain stamp on the mud,
大聲的笑熱情歡呼laughing loudly in an enthusiastic cheer
石頭當球傳給隊友 using a rock as a ball, passing it to teammates,
手當手套接每一球using hands for gloves, catching every single one
流著汗水看著山頭 sweat drips in my eyes as I look at the mountaintop,
我的雙手用力揮著木頭swinging a stick with all the strength of my hands
iyanaya-o-ho 讓我們高舉雙手iyanaya-o-ho, let's lift up our hands
iyanaya-o-ho 聽聽這個節奏iyanaya-o-ho, listen to the rhythm!
iyanaya-o-ho 緊握手上的木頭iyanaya-o-ho, the stick tightly held by my hands
就是現在一起揮出夢想中的全壘打is just about to swing out the home run of my dreams
Ole ole ole ole Ole ole ole oleOle ole ole ole Ole ole ole ole
Ole ole ole ole Ole ole ole oleOle ole ole ole Ole ole ole ole
門口的狗對空亂吼 the dog at the gate howls at the sky in confusion,
抱怨沒人帶牠走走complaining that nobody's taken him along
阿嬤陪著阿公喝酒 Ama is drinking with Agong1
大人看著小孩打球as the grown-ups watch the kids play ball
背著書包裡面裝球 the schoolbags on our backs have balls in them,
上課發呆等著練球we stare at nothing during class waiting for practice
好球壞球保送安打 no matter if it's a good ball or bad, you gotta hit it,
我只想要快樂打棒球I just want to have fun playing ball
哈哈 輕吻風的溫度ha ha! the warmth of the light kiss of the breeze
哈哈 回應楓的招呼ha ha! the echo of the maple trees
哈哈 大口呼吸一起來ha ha! let's all take a deep breath together and
哈 哈 哈 哈ha, ha, ha, ha
哈哈 田裡搖擺的穀ha ha! the grain swaying in the fields
哈哈 享受孩子的舞ha ha! the dance of the kids celebrating
哈哈 大地紋上祝福ha ha! the earth is full of blessings
紅葉傳奇 在山谷中飛舞the legend of the Red Leaves in dancing in the air of the valley
1. Drinking alcohol, specifically. I translated a song before where Ama was used as an ethnic (non-Han) term for mother; in this context in Taiwan it is actually a term for grandmother, and Agong is grandfather.

Biung Wang - Xinfeng (Belief)

I have a problem with this song, namely, that I have found three different versions of the lyrics, one plainly wrong (not enough syllables), two plausible and differing only in near-homonyms. This is a classic example of somebody somewhere writing down the lyrics by ear, which is even less accurate in Chinese than in other languages. Trouble is, I don't know who has the right lyrics.

Secondly I have zero clue what "hudas" means. When I first heard the song by ear, of course as a native English speaker, I thought he was singing "who does". I Googled, but all I'm finding is surnames and stuff about Tagalog. Biung is a Bunun, not a Han, so my best guess is that it means something in the Bunun language.

*googles in Chinese*

Aha! It means "長輩" in Chinese, which means that it means "elders" in English. Makes sense in context of the lyrics. MYSTERY SOLVED.

I'm not going to try to translate the other Bunun in the song. The Formosan language group is fascinating and I'd love to learn more about it, but I know pretty much zip, and I'm not going to pretend like I know more than I do. You should read the Wikipedia article to learn something about their culture--I think it definitely has a bearing on this song's meaning. My own interpretation is that Biung seems to have frustration at both his own Bunun culture and the greater Taiwanese culture which systematically suppressed the Bunun for so long--the kind of frustration you only have with things that are precious to you. I would warn against any anti-religious interpretation, however, because I've read interviews with him, and he's said his two most important beliefs are his beliefs in tribal culture and in the Christian religion (the Chinese word could also be translated as "convictions").

I actually have this album but I don't know where the case is. I rip my cds when I get them and pack the case and actual CD away.

Biung wrote both the lyrics and the melody.

走在街上開始想像walking down the street, beginning to imagine
(穿梭樹林楓葉飄落)(the maple leaves in the forest floating back and forth)
坐在路口仿佛聽見sitting at an intersection, it seems like one can hear
(蟲鳴鳥叫和流水聲)(the insects' cry, the birds' song, and the sound of flowing water)
陽光照着我的側臉the sun shines on my tilted face
(爲何一點也不溫暖)(why isn't it the least bit warm?)
搖曳風中的小米田the millet fields swaying in the wind
(閉上眼睛才能看見)(only with eyes closed can it be seen)
我的腳步越走越慢my footsteps get slower and slower
握着雙手心中祈盼grasping my hands, my heart prays with longing
對着天空放聲呐喊shouting a battle cry to the sky
我的眼淚一直在流my tears are constantly falling
我不知道要怎麽走I don't know which way to go
(親愛的孩子你有你的方向)(dear child, you have your own direction)
狩獵爲何不能生活why can't hunting be a way of life?1
(親愛的孩子森林給你力量)(dear child, the forest gives you strength)
沒有你到底怎麽過just how am I supposed to get by without you?
(親愛的孩子信仰給你希望)(dear child, belief gives you hope)
hudas為何沒有告訴我why didn't the hudas2 tell me?

1. Literally "hunting/why/cannot/life, to live, livelihood". No pronouns, and I'm hesitant to introduce them. Does he mean "why can't I hunt for my livelihood"? Does he mean the Bunun in general? Does he mean that some outside force is forbidding hunting (by law for example), or that hunting itself is no longer feasible to feed a family? It could be any of those meanings.
2. "Elders" in the Bunun language, as I mentioned in the prologue.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wang Rong - Duo Ai (Much Love)

王蓉 - 多愛Wang Rong - Duo Ai (How Much Love)
發生那麼多事 你說可以忘掉so many things happened, and you say it can be forgotten
你準備好嗎 可我沒有have you gotten ready? cause I haven't
verse oneverse one
我的男孩 你問我能否重來my boy, you ask me if I can come over again
不知如何回答 只想一個人走開I don't know how to reply, since I just want to go off by myself
你該靜下來 孤獨的夜色多美you need to calm down, the lonely night light is beautiful
因為曾經執著的我 不想再哭著醒來because the me who was once so attached doesn't want to wake up crying again
我的世界刮來狂風暴雨my world was rocked by raging winds and torrential rain
冷的痛的讓我無法呼吸it was cold and hurt to the point where I couldn't breathe
想對自己好一點I want to treat myself better
好一點不容易better isn't easy at all1
快樂總是讓人視線模糊happiness always makes people's vision blurry
痛苦卻能讓我看清楚but pain will make me see clearly
誰能告訴我 夢想擁有的愛情who can tell me, in the romance I dream of having
到底有多愛in the end, how much love is there?
quietly quietly
你的世界沒有了愛 是否才會想起我存在isn't it only when you run out of love that you remember that I exist?
verse 2verse 2
關鍵問題現在還沒有解決the crucial question hasn't been settled
未來想得多點又有什麼關係how do you think our relationship will be in the future?
放下所有自尊 放下固執本身letting go of ego, letting go of stubbornness
都是因為放不下的一個人it was all because of a being alone that couldn't be let go of
verse 3verse 3
我只想擁有一個屬於我的真實I just wanted to have my very own true
愛情這個時候你就剛好出現了love, and you just happened to appear then
於是沒有理由 崩崩嗆開始崩崩嗆結束so, without any reason, we were choking at the beginning and choking at the end2
很快完成上半時the time's almost half gone
你到現在還不明白生日那一天you still don't understand why on your birthday
為什麼要送你那張王蓉的專輯I gave you that Wang Rong album3
愛情就像裏面不同風格十首歌romance is just like the ten songs in it with their different styles
要有快有慢有主有次it needs fast and slow, primary and secondary
才能完成下半時only then can you get through the second half of time
verse 4verse 4
一年之間 我們的愛太簡單in that year's time, our love was too simple
怪停不下腳步 沒時間慢慢成熟strangely never stopping its steps, no time for slow maturation
不知道傷害 原來可以永遠甩不開I didn't know that hurt, all along, was something that can never be shaken off
於是我想哭可是哭不出來so I want to cry, but the crying won't come out
(chorus x2)(chorus x2)
(repeat verse 2)(repeat verse 2)
1. Repetition and wordplay here with hao yi dian. The first line could be translated in isolation as "I want to be a bit better to myself" and the second as "good isn't easy at all". In the first the yi dian is a comparative meaning "a bit more", in the second the yi dian attaches to bu to mean "not at all".
2. I need to think of a better idiom here to express this. Reminds me of a quote from Home Movies, "We got off to a bad start and then we went on to a bad middle and eventually we came to a bad end."
3. Just a tad shameless, yes.