“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Wang Xiaobo's Love in an Age of Revolution


When someone would suddenly reach a hand toward Wang Er, his right hand would (involuntarily) grab his opponent's wrist. No matter how quickly the opponent dodged, there wasn't one miss in a hundred tries. This is because when he was young Wang Er loved to grab his opponents' wrists in scuffles, and he was in a lot of fights. Wang Er is not a child anymore, and there is no one to fight with him, but if someone suddenly grabs at him, he still can't stand it, no matter who it is. He knows that if committed this sort of infraction in Saudi Arabia, eight or nine cases out of ten his hand would be cut off. So he tries his best to not do it.

attached to: Wang Xiaobo


# 1.   

Are we supposed to criticize the translation here?

transliterationisms, April 21, 2010, 8:23a.m.

# 2.   

It's the internet, you're not "supposed" to do anything!

But yes.

 Eric Abrahamsen, April 21, 2010, 8:59a.m.

# 3.   

Well, it's stiff as a board and not without of a number of "typos". Hooray for 直譯

"He knows that if committed this sort "


transliterationisms, April 21, 2010, 9:58a.m.

# 4.   

I think 'stiff' doesn't mean anything without context, but I agree with translationisms that the whole thing needs a certain level of going-over for style.

"In later days, my wife said to me that my biggest fault was neither that I would suddenly stick out my hand to grab people nor my daydreaming, but being suspicious."

This is just an example -- it's not 'wrong', but I can tell it's the sentence structure from the Chinese, probably something like 不是也不是而是. Taking it straight into English is possible, but why not reorganize the sentence so that you can get across the same idea with a little bit more grammatical drama? 'Neither/nor' is sort of a logical structure, and its point is often the two things it negates, but the Chinese sentence (I'm guessing) is meant to delay the revelation of the truth. So:

"Later, my wife would say that my biggest problem wasn't suddenly reaching out to grab people, and it wasn't my daydreaming -- it was suspicion."

finklewinger, April 21, 2010, 10:11p.m.


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