Would you translate it better?
September 19, 2008 3:41am CST
We occasionally read an old poem which it is very nice love poem. My friend tried to translate it into English. However, the result isn't as well as the original poem. Perhaps you would like to help to translate it better? My friend's translation as follows: When you were born, I haven't. When I was born, you are old. Regret that I was born so late, regret that you were born so soon. When you were born, I haven't. When I was born, you are old. Regret that we didn't born at the same time sharing our time day by day. When I was born you haven't, and when you were born I am old. Far away as we were, while you were distant from apart. When I was born you haven't, and when you were born I am old. Be a butterfly heading for flowers, being with grass night after night.
• Marion, Kansas
19 Sep 08
Just roughly, I think that where the translation says "I haven't" it should say, "I wasn't", When I was born, should say youwereold. Maybe you should say "I regret" Where it says "Far away" You may say "far apart" in the next linemaybe while we were far apart. Be as a butterly seeking the flowers, searching the grass night after night. Maybe I will try to put it all together for you:When you were born, I wasn't. When I was born, you were old. I regret that I was born so late, I regret that you were born so soon. When you were born, I wasn't. When I was born, you were old.I regret that we were not born at the same time, sharing our time day by day. When I was born you weren't, and when you were bornI was old. I would like to be as a butterfly seeking flowers, searching the fields night after night. I do not know if that is any better, but it is my attempt.
• Guangzhou, China
19 Sep 08
I almost think this discussion will have no reply. In fact I also felt something wrong with my friend's translation. But it needs to be corrected by an English user so that it will be right. Your translation is better. However, when this beautiful Chinese old poem was translated into English, it lost some taste and somewhat it's a little confusing because of the repeated sentence. In brief, I think it's just like: You were born before me. You were old when I was born. Sadly I was born so late. You were old when I was born. Sadly we weren't born at the same time to share the happiness everyday. I was born before you. You were born when I was old. We live far away. I was born before you. You were born when I was old. I became to a butterfly to seek the flowers. Every night I stay in the grass. This poem was in Tang Dynasty and it was found in a tomb. The poet is unknown. It's a beautiful but sad love poem. Perhaps it's written for someone special and it must have a great story inside.