Maybe Someday (easiest Chinese pop song I know)

“I want to learn a Chinese pop song. Which one should I learn?”

If that’s your question, I usually recommend this one (requires Adobe Reader).

[Download not found]

(For the MP3, do a Baidu search.)

It’s one of the easiest songs I know for the following reasons:

1. Short (few vocabulary words to learn)

2. Repetitive (the few words get used a lot)

3. Useful vocabulary (most of the vocab can get used in everyday life)

Fairy Tale is easy too, and a little better known, but it can’t compete with the simplicity of this nice little tune.

Oh and, here’s a translation (grammar) question for anyone who’s interested. I found this sentence particularly difficult:

rúguǒ yíqiè dōu huì guòqù, bùrú liú diǎn huíyì
如果一切都会过去, 不如留点回忆

I translated it as:

If everything can pass away, we might as well make some little memories

Is that an acceptable translation for the “rúguǒ 如果…bùrú 不如…” construction? I was also consdidering “As long as…we might as well…” rather than “If…we might as well…” In the end I went with the one with fewer words. Any guidance would be welcome.

8 Replies to “Maybe Someday (easiest Chinese pop song I know)”

  1. Both your suggested translations would be acceptable, I think, with the choice depending primarily on (1) the context (i.e., use a consistent style throughout the text); (2) the personal style of the author (i.e., a terse style should be translated tersely; and (3) the translator’s own style.

    How about “If all things will pass, you’d best hang on to your memories.”

  2. I support your translation.
    To the grammar Q : 如果一切都会过去,(与其留下遗憾,)不如留点回忆。
    In chinese, the usual construction should be (与其yǔqí)。。。。。。不如。。。。。。would rather…(than)
    If everything can pass away
    I’d rather make some memories (than have/leave any regrets)

    Will you think about adding a column for some chinese-learning ideas from your informants? Ideas such as ‘Personnally, I find the strange 儿化音泪儿。’, or ‘When laowai go to the postoffice/bank/cinema in China, what spoken chinese do they need to know?’,etc.

  3. Helen adds words to the original text in order to make sense of it, then translates accordingly. This is a helpful technique and can sometimes even be a day saver. However, since it increases the risk that you will “translate” your own ideas rather than those of the original author, it should only be used sparingly and as a last resort.

    Here, two translations have been suggested for 留下: “to make” and “to hold on to.” According to the dictionary, the term means “to keep”, “retain”, “preserve.” (《汉英双解新华字典》.) “To hold on to” is thus more in accord with the dictionary definition. This does not end the argument, though, because dictionary definitions are only guidelines and not laws. Translating 留下 as “to make” is a stretch, it’s not an unreasonable one in the context of this sentence.

    Nevertheless, assuming that a Chinese person authored the original text, I think “hold on to” is more likely correct. “Life’s short, let’s party” is a familiar strain in Western culture, so the idea of making new memories sounds like a good translation to us. But Chinese culture is more directed toward the past, so I suspect that “treasure your memories, since they’re the only things you’ll have left” is probably what the author meant. (I have to admit, looking at the text from the perspective of 64 years on the planet may have influenced my translation.)

  4. Just wondering… why is everyone going with ‘can’ rather than ‘will’ for the translation of that ? Am I missing something? In context, it seems like it’d be a ‘will’…

  5. Pingback: Music Buffet » Yexu Tonghua 也许童话

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