Hua Tuo, master physician
bababardwanMay 26, 2010, 01:23 PM
tal,thanks so much for this mate. I'm really looking forward to digesting all this. I think you have picked an excellent topic because not only will it be a fun and doable exercise in Chinese language learning [and I do find the format started by tvan and continued by you very easy to work with] ,but also very interesting from history/cultural viewpoint. I will definitely have to read 3 kingdoms one day and it's great to work with material that increases ones familiarity with the material. It's also increased my interest in watching chibi again.
zhenlijiangMay 26, 2010, 06:21 PM
It was nice to have something bite-sized and simple enough to take in in one swing. So it's disappointing how many bits I apparently managed to misunderstand. I don't wish to turn every conversation here into a discussion on the translation, but want to be sure I'm understanding the Chinese right.
On the last sentence in the middle block (4th from top):
So Hua Tuo turned out to be more capable than the famous doctor who had come, he could now graduate to be a doctor in his own right.
I wouldn't have been able to get "more capable than" from this Chinese. Anyone have any insights as to how I should have?
How common is this 不+比~Adj pattern?
FYI on "不比", which I assume doesn't apply in this case, my dictionary says it indicates that something can't be compared to another (could mean either that it's much much better or much much worse).
Like I said last time zhen, I'm not aiming to do a literal translation, I intend it to just be a guide to working out the meaning for those that need it. Having said that please do pick me up on things I might have wrong. My understanding of that sentence was 'his ability was not inferior to' the famous visiting physician, and taking context into account, I decided that meant he was actually superior to him (in diagnostic ability at least!) Perhaps my free translation of "more capable than" is indeed a trifle too free!
呵呵, but then it wasn't his own teacher he had to be better than, right? It was 'the visiting team'. His own teacher might have got a kick out of seeing his student prove more insightful than a rival (?)
Ah Tal those are your translations. Sorry, wasn't picking up on that. Well we do have the benefit of the background knowledge that 华佗 later would become a 神医. And his diagnostic ability being superior is not in question if you think about it; after all the visiting doctor didn't know what needed to be done, whereas 华佗 was positive his teacher was not sick at all.
But so anyway I wasn't misreading that sentence. If I had no clue about your thinking here, I might have thought by translating it like that you were calling attention to a cultural difference that we're meant to note--that in China it would just not do, to say that the famous visiting doctor was actually incompetent even if we're left with that impression anyway.
Again, I'd rather not take up too much time or space discussing translation here. Through reading these tales I'd like to learn how things are expressed in Chinese. But I guess it's inevitable that we'll have these issues from time to time.
Good question zhen. My guess when I read it was that 不比 【unlike] was working in combination with 差 【lack,poor] to compare him to the other famous visiting doctor. Hua Tuo's skill was unlike the famous doctor who was found to come up short. Or maybe 差 is just being used in it's first tone use to again emphasize the difference between the two and the context has given us who came out on top.
Hi Baba, I see now nciku gives only the definition "unlike" for 不比, while my dictionary (as mentioned above) tells me it means "there's no comparison". If it were working in the sense of "unlike" though, with the 差 there the sentence would make no sense--"unlike the famous visiting doctor, Hua Tuo's diagnostic ability was lacking".
I still think this is a negation of 比 ~ 差, not a 不比.
fourmoredays2010June 18, 2010, 01:18 AM
Hmmm...where is this image from Tal? Did I just see this painting at the Brooklyn Museum last weekend?