Invisible Wings

Here’s my attempt at a translation of a pop song called “Yǐnxíng de Chìbǎng” 隐形的翅膀 (“Invisible Wings”) by Zhāng Sháohán 张韶涵.

Of course I almost always need help when translating songs because translating poetry from one language to another is something you can get a graduate degree in if you want to. Thanks to Tom for clearing up those tricky parts of this song.

That said, it’s worth noting that no attempt was made to make the English translation reflect the poetic tone of the Chinese. We only tried to get the original Chinese meaning across. Even so, I’m not terribly sure I understand every bit of the song.

It seems to be about a girl who escapes the pain in her life by retreating into her imagination. The “Invisible Wings” are probably a symbol of the comfort and freedom she finds in her imagination. If anyone else has any thoughts on what the song means, or suggestions for translation I’d love to hear them.

  Invisible Wings (2,997 hits)

(requires Adobe Reader)

If you like learning Chinese pop songs, check out the other song translation I’ve done.

Comments

  1. I’m enjoying your blog. I don’t remember how I linked to it the first time, but living in Guangzhou and enjoying the culture (mostly), I have similar language and social challenges.

  2. Nice translation. I think you got the gist of it. One needs to understand that many artists in China now often create things don’t make sense in Chinese even for Chinese people. I’ve had several of this kind of experiences.

    What they create often appears good, if you want to dig into its meaning, that’s when you discover that they are without substance. That’s just the way the current culture is.

  3. Hi, came across your site quite by chance.

    I agree with Yiyan above. Many of the mainstream Mandarin pop songs today have lyrics that do not make much apparent sense. Sometimes lyricists opt for words that rhyme or sound better together. Chinese pop songs from Taiwan (the song you posted is an example)and Hongkong are especially guilty of this, and it seems like the mainland Chinese have been picking up in recent years. Which is why I think Chinese songs are a good way to learn new vocabulary, but not necessarily the best way to learn the language.

    Your translation was pretty good btw. I would translate ‘zhui zhu’ in the chorus as “chasing” or “pursuing”, and not perusing. for example you could use ‘zhui zhu meng xiang’, which means ‘pursuing dreams’.

  4. So many times I have heard this song when at the karaoke with the rest of the chinese English teachers… the video is a bit arty as well a friend of mine said it looked like she was on drugs… having all those hallucinations…

  5. Information “Invisible Wings”
    Maggie Zhu : The spirit of this song is : I have a couple of invisible wings, which will take me to find my dream,
    no matter what difficulty I meet, I never give up.
    This song is about a girl without arms, she never gave up to study and work for other people,
    that’s why the song name is “invisible wings”.
    Dear Jac,
    This is a song of a movie, please see the poster of this movie. The story comes from life.
    A 15 years old girl went outside to fly kite and hurt by high voltage and lost the arms. She cannot go to high school because cannot write, school rejected her. In the beginning she was very upset and want to kill herself, but her parents love ask her don’t give up life. In the coming days, she took much time to learn writing by feet, and did it successfully. Then she entered high school again. Later she learn more by feet, wash face, wear dress, use computer, sewing, the things others can do by hand, she can. When she met the accident, her mother got intermittence schizophrenia, she has a wish to be doctor, but even if she got the high score in college entrance exam, the university cannot accept because she has no arms, no qualification be a doctor. Then she started to being a handicapped athlete and exercise hard, but her mother cannot accept the truth of reject of university, the illness became heavy and lose herself and never back home.The girl get a qualification of Handicapped Olympic. In order to commemorate mother, she and father went out to fly a kite which was made by her mother, it is a dragon kite, it flied high and high.
    Above is from internet, I translate for you. Waiting for you camp story and pic. Kind regards, Maggie
    Website voor het lied :
    Angela Zhang :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ksqc94AvmU0&feature=PlayList&p=1A972689C748498F&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=31
    Viool :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYaaLs509Ts&feature=PlayList&p=DD2E33BBD6EFE974&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=72
    Piano :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QUbEFgYuH4&feature=related
    Angela Chang : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XeceYmFjsk&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgKmdoPljJc
    MVV :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE00ieafJqI&feature=related
    Angela Chang : http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XOTY2NzMwNTI=.html

    Invisible Wings
      Every time I grow stronger in hesitation and loneliness,
      And every time I fight back tears no matter how much it hurts,
      I know all along that I have a pair of invisible wings.
      to lift me up in flight, leaving despair behind. (wanhoop)
       I won’t think of those lucky ones who always enjoy the sunshine
      For I see there is a beauty of changing shade, as the sun sets each and every day
      I know all along that I have a pair of invisible wings to lift me up high
      in a hopeful flight.
      At long last I see all my dreams come into flower,
    in pursuit of a youthful song (in een jonge bloem) loud and clear.
      At long last I can ride on the wind, and look into the distance (verte)
      with a resolute heart, flying as far as the wind can take
      With the invisible wings I will dream on and on till the end of the time,
      leaving a wishful picture on my mind. (foto in mijn gedachten)

  6. My mom is the chinese teacher at my high school and I am in her heritage class. We are learning about this song. Thank you for the lyrics.

  7. A Chinese friend who teaches English sent me this song, and asked me to translate it into English, which is not easy to do as numerous words are slurred and impossible to hear clearly.

    I am still looking for the correct words of the song I am hearing. Maybe there are several version of this song out there.

    Much on the web site is about the meaning of the song which is irrelevant to the words of the song. Unless you know the singer and they have told the world what it means. We will never know.

  8. Here’s a version sung by Olivia Ong. (Someone’s personal photo video – but it’s the song from Olivia’s Romance album.) If not a nice translation, perhaps a good paraphrase. It follows the original tune quite well.

    http://youtu.be/jGG7OV0H1p0

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