Monday, September 17, 2007

Poetry contest.

A friend of mine sent me this sign from Yunan's 云南 famous 石林 Stone forest.

Before anyone starts to wonder what is wrong here:
The English translation is correct, but lifeless, especially compared to the rhyming and the spirit of the Chinese original.

Let us find a translation that captures the original poetry better!

I am looking forward to your creative postings.

Thanks for the "housekeeping", Shujun!

Update 24 hours later

Leading the poetry race insofar:

"We are tiny, we are shy.
Step on us and we will die."

Good job, Siak!

Update 72 hours later

The stuff is getting more and more elaborate... At the moment I prefer a slightly revised version of Siak's original poem, thanks go to an unfortunately anonymous English teacher from Shanghai Chris, who works as an English teacher in Zhejiang province!

"We are tiny, we are shy.
Without trampling you pass by."


At 2:35 PM, Blogger 地球发动机 wrote ...

How about

Don't distub the smilling grass!


At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

A little glass is silently smiling; it don't want to be distrubed by all bypassing tourists.

At 12:43 AM, Blogger siak wrote ...

We are tiny, we are shy.
Step on us and we will die.

At 12:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Please don't disturb the grass from enjoy itself

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Sandro wrote ...

Schöne Übersetzungen :)

At 4:29 PM, Blogger 一心一意 wrote ...

The grass stays quiet with her tender smile
How about passing by without your footprints to share her delight as well?

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

how to translate "Good good study, day day up?


At 8:01 PM, Anonymous wwking wrote ...

Little grass little smile
Passing boys let me be!

At 5:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Coyly, coyly smiles the grass.

"Gentle tourists, spare me and pass!"

[I tried unsuccessfully to mimic a Romantic style. Anyway this result is probably as far as I could get.]


At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

I got to know you and your blog from SHANGHAI STAR July 5-11 2007, and referred my translation class students to this website immediately as we were just talking about the translation of SIGNS. It has been of great help in terms of providing many vivid examples for our class discussion. ^_^
And FYI, there is a comtest of correcting inappropriate translations of public signs in Zhejiang province, which I encourage my students to take part in. see

And as to this one, I do think siak's version is quite good. but the "we will die" sounds, humm, a little bit too much, and deviated from the orignal focus. How about changing the second line into "without disturbing/trampling, you pass by" , with clearer admonitory implication ?

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Chris wrote ...

the name is Chris, and I'm from Zhejiang Province instead of Shanghai, :P --- the unfortunately anonymous English teacher

At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Molly wrote ...

I agree with Anonymous'verson of "We are tiny and we are shy, without disturbing/trampling you pass by"
BTW, Olr, I know your blog from "南方周未",good job and keep on!

At 4:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

thx, 好好学习,天天向上


At 12:56 PM, Blogger 静寂的风 wrote ...

let me give it a shot:

Tender grass shyly smiles,
Gentle tourists silently pass by.

At 5:34 AM, Anonymous Jacl wrote ...

Hi Ole, I used some material in this post with source indicated, pls refers to here at

Chinese is my main language in my blog, and yours is English, I think that's one of the differences between us.

At 3:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Shy little worried grassy do coyly smile
Pray gentle footings O sojourning child.

- CK

At 6:00 PM, Blogger Chris in Asia wrote ...

We are timid blades of grass;
Prithee, trav'ler, gently pass.

At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn't express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach


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