Alice in Chinese 爱丽丝漫游奇境/镜中世界

June 14, 2009, 03:37 PM posted in General Discussion

This book did typset the Long Tale (actually the typsetting shown on the webpage varies from that in the Signet Classic paperback in my hand now too) in the shape--only it went across three pages, and with the small number of characters in each line in Chinese, you can tell it was quite a challenge for the translator.

I should clarify that 何文安 translated Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and 李尚武 Through the Looking-Glass.

(And what I really ought to do is read the translators' foreword first ...)

Jabberwocky was actually abbreviated considerably, that would be a disappointment I would have warned you about had I noticed earlier.

* spoiler alert *  Jabberwocky they did like this:












It ends here, then has this little paragraph in parentheses before continuing with "It seems very pretty," she said when she had finished it, "but it's rather hard to understand!":


That's kind of funny.  Anyway, as you can see the mirror-image Jabberwocky is written backwards, but the characters aren't inverted. Delightful though!

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June 15, 2009, 10:07 AM

I love reading these Jabberwocky. Esp. they are rhymed.(I was an idiot for ignoring these interesting work several years ago, of course, because I didn't understand).

Thanks for sharing!

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June 16, 2009, 11:32 AM

I'd like to add my thanks too, zhenlijiang! Although I don't know much Chinese (I had to use Wenlin to make some sense of the 'nonsense'), I think the cuteness of Jabberwocky shines through!

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June 16, 2009, 03:00 PM

davidfong, my pleasure. Actually though, now that I've revisited the original again the wonder of Jabberwocky does seem to get lost in translation in this case:

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: / All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe.  /  "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! / The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! / Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun / The frumious Bandersnatch!"

(!!)  But you can't really criticize the translator here can you--that's one helluva verse to tackle.

--Anybody know of any "closer" translations?

I do think it was just this Jabberwocky though, that posed this much difficulty for these translators.

shenyajin, if you're an "idiot" what does that make us? But yes the Alice books are classics and it's wonderful if you're able to enjoy them in the original English.

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June 17, 2009, 01:24 AM

zhenlijiang,  thanks for the verse.  This is my favorite trick, reading a section in Chinese that I already know in English.  Unfortunately, as you point out her, the original isn't easy in English.  I spent the first 20 minutes trying to figure out the English.  

Most children are pointed towards Lewis Carrol's books at an early age.  In retrospect, maybe they should have saved "Through the Looking Glass" for after Kafka.

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June 17, 2009, 03:47 PM

tvan, being a slow intermediate learner I've been finding it a lot of fun to read and recognize in this book. Like I've said elsewhere it's possible with the Alice books because the original is so memorable (though it's been good to go back and actually re-read the English too).

You needed just 20 minutes to understand the English--?? I am going to get my hands on The Annotated Alice.

Very young minds are not only able to follow, they're free to wander and play comfortably in the absurdity and surrealism, aren't they. Thank God Lewis Carroll didn't write down to them. It's only once we've been "educated" that our minds are boxed in and we become idiotic people who demand storylines that "make sense" all the time.

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June 18, 2009, 02:54 AM

zhenlijiang, you're a slow intermediate learner? Hah, I think I'm setting the record for "Longest Stuck at Upper Intermediate."  Seriously though, you're right, my problem was trying to make sense of and categorize nonsense.

That said, the backwards nonsense of Through the Looking Glass makes more sense as I get older.

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June 18, 2009, 09:14 AM

tvan, I didn't think you had any problem needing pointing out (yikes! I didn't mean your mind is boxed in, or that you're the kind of audience TV and Hollywood suits pander to--now I might get hate mail for this won't I). I just meant that we may know more things, but children are so much smarter than us.

What makes you certain you're "stuck" in Upper Inter? Tests of some sort?  But Intermediate is a purgatory. Let's try to enjoy our time here as well as we can, for though we're not condemned we will  spend what feels like an eternity in this place toiling and suffering and dreaming. Not to imply that Advanced is heaven however.

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August 28, 2009, 02:47 PM

WONDERING, in Chinese: 

Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her, and to wonder what was going to happen next.


落啊,落啊,落啊,难道就永远没个完?“不知道我这会儿*已经落下来多少英里了,”她大声说 ...
Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? "I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?" she said aloud.

* actually, seems like a little mistranslation here--for "this time" instead of "by this time" as the original says *


不多一会儿,爱丽丝又开口说话了: “不知道我会不会从地球那头掉出去!多有趣啊,我出来的地方,那儿的人走路都是脑袋冲下!”
Presently she began again. "I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards! ..."


门厅四周都有门,可都是锁着的; 爱丽丝把门厅的每一边都走到了,每扇门都试过了,没一扇打得开,这才忧伤地走到门厅中间,想知道自己怎么才能出去
There were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked; and when Alice had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every door, she walked sadly down the middle, wondering how she was ever to get out again.


不过,她先得等几分钟,看自己还能不能再缩小一点: 对这件事她觉得有点烦。“你又不是知道,我一进去就没事了,就像蜡烛似的,” 爱丽丝自言自语地说,“不知道那会儿我会像什么样?” 她开始想象,一支蜡烛吹灭了以后,上头的火焰是什么样的呢?因为她想不起来自己看到过这样的事情没有。
First, however, she waited for a few minutes to see if she was going to shrink any further: she felt a little nervous about this; "for it might end, you know," said Alice to herself, "in my going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder what I should be like then?" And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle looks like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having seen such a thing.

--from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Chapter 1  "Down the Rabbit-Hole"

《爱丽丝漫游奇境》  第一章  掉进兔子洞  (何文安 译)

那大家下星期见! 周末快乐  ☆彡

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September 08, 2009, 09:14 PM

嘿,New on nciku. 中文,拼音,还有原文。