Message on T-shirt
There's a Che Guevera T-shirt in town that says: 我相信这个世界上是有人为了理想而活着的
Wo xiang xin zhe ge shijie shang shi you ren weile li xiang er hua zhe de
(I believe that some people are in this world (alive) for the purposes of creating an ideal.)
I'm not entirely confident of my translation - any contributions? In paticular - how to handle the 而活着的? Any thoughts on the grammar?
zhenlijiangApril 17, 2011, 03:01 AM
I believe there are people in this world who live for their ideals/dreams.
为~ 而~ = to do something for something. Fight to achieve peace, work to promote friendship between two nations etc. Sorry I can't change my input method and can't type any hanzi.
What I would like explained is why the 是~的 construction was chosen here.
Excellent - thanks zhenlijiang. I think I was willing it to mean 'create' - but you are no doubt right; it's just living the dream or ideal.
I admit this sentence structure is new to me. My grammar has always been weak - that's why I have just bought a couple of Chinese grammar reference books.
JohnApril 19, 2011, 02:32 AM
Zhenlijiang's translation is good.
I'd use, "I believe there are people in this world that live for an ideal."
John ( & Zhenlijiang) - translation much appreciated.
There is a T-shirt shop near hear with lots of cryptic stuff - & some are actually funny. One I really don't get at all, even after discussing it with the boss and his staff - next time I go past I'll take a photo and post it here!
bodaweiApril 19, 2011, 08:39 AM
I have a mug that says:
不学ABC，照样干革命 zhàoyàng gān gémìng (revolution)
Anyone want to try an idiomatic translation? :)
干 here refers to being involved in something (the revolution)
OK, I'm always willing to make a fool of myself. My guess would be that it goes roughly, "You don't have to be a scholar to start a revolution." Either that or, "You don't have to study English to start a revolution." Hehe, how's that for confidence.
I have some doubts as to whether “不学ABC" refers to studying in general or to studying English. Also, I'm not sure if “干革命” refers to revolution specifically (ala Mao Zedong) or in the sense of revolution as a great achievement (ala Steve Jobs). Anyway, my take.
I read it something like, "Don't study ABCs, we're still making revolution." One meaning of 照样 is "still" apparently. I'm not sure how one would colloquially say 干革命. I think in English we more or less start revolutions and let them do their own thing from there on! "make revolution" seems likely enough.
Thanks for your take - and you raise some interesting points.
First, this is quite a tough translation task - one way beyond me. :)
But my tutor tells me it conveys an ambivalence about whether you study English or not, it doesn't matter - either way you can participate in the revolution.
不学 。。 照样 。。
If you don't study you can still participate (and by inference if you do study you can still participate).
He thinks that 'ABC' is a reference to English (but I think that could be interpreted more broadly as you suggest.) And the revolution - well, I think the fact that it sits on a coffee mug is evidence that it is open to a number of more modern interpretations than the Maoist revolution (although there is some revolutionary art above the saying.) The whole thing is tongue in cheek. I assume that it is a modern joke.
Thanks for your suggestions - see my comments to Tvan. I think 干 here is more 'do' or 'participate' than 'start'. But you are right about the 'still', in the sense of 'whether or not you study English'.
hehe, context is king. That seems to explain it quite well.
Another cup takes an old revolutionary saying about working hard and gives it a very modern twist about slaving to pay off the huge mortgage (I will try to find it.) These provide an example of irony that I have sometimes argued are hard to find in China. The one I posted above I believe has a number of connotations including the point that a lot of contemporary Chinese people protest about having to learn English.