Daily English Discussion–Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hi everyone,

Do you have a good sense of humor?  If yes, write a funny caption for this picture.

Under the picture is my attempt at a funny caption (and I am not known for being humorous, so if you don’t feel it funny, too bad!)

“Hmm… it’s coming a little too fast for a sharp picture”

Now your turn. Shoot!

TODAY’S CHALLENGE

A short quote to challenge your translation skill.  Could you translate this into Vietnamese?
“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.”
– A. Sachs

All right.  Have a nice weekend everyone.

Hoành

Một suy nghĩ 14 thoughts on “Daily English Discussion–Saturday, June 20, 2009”

  1. Hi anh Hoành
    Your caption wasn’t funny :p, because the man was very focused, and calm, not like he’s seeing something “too fast”, so the caption doesn’t fit! and the picture isn’t very funny either…

    On translation: Cái chết thì phổ quát hơn sự sống. Mọi người rồi đều sẽ chết, nhưng không phải ai cũng sống mãi. (hoặc Mọi người đều tiến đến cái chết, nhưng không có ai sống mãi)

    Từ phổ quát là dịch từ các phạm trù triết học của Hegel: Theo tiếng Anh, cặp phạm trù này là “Universality (cái phổ quát) – particularity (cái đặc thù) and individuality (cái cá thể)”.

    “dies” mang tính tương lai, còn “everyone lives” lại mang tính chơi chữ, tức là “live” luôn chia ở thì hiện tại, thì đúng là ko ai sống mãi được.

    anyway, nice week anh!

    Thích

  2. Thanks, Kitty, jEa and Dung (Good to see you, Dung. How’s life?)

    About the funny caption for the picture, I knew that the picture itself is not funny and the photographer is so serious. I was just hoping that you guys would give it a caption that would make it funny. That was the purpose of my question 🙂 Anyway, thanks for taking notice. I’ll find some other pictures so that we can play “caption” again.

    About the translation, Dung is getting too complex for life. Sister dear, can we just keep life simple? 🙂 But phổ quát is more accurate for universal than phổ biến. I think phổ biến is “common”, not as intense as “universal.”

    But we shouldn’t “explain” a word when we translate. Many many translators make this mistake, by caving in to the temptation to explain the philosophical meaning of a word. Don’t do that, because when you give a word one philosophical meaning, you automatically kill off many other philosophical meanings that the author may have intended for that word.

    Just translate, don’t explain.

    So here is my suggestion:

    “Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.”

    “Chết thì phổ quát hơn là sống. Ai cũng chết, nhưng không phải ai cũng sống.”

    (Bởi vì nhiều người sống như những xác ướp biết đi–không suy tư, không trưởng thành, không đổi mới, không sáng tạo, không gì hết).

    Great day, everyone. Let’s have some more lively discussion.

    Oh, what is the difference between “English discussion” and “English challenge”?

    Answer: In a discussion, we just discuss about things in English . We don’t correct or analyze English itself.

    “English challenge” is to study English language. And we may analyze and/or correct the writings.

    Have a nice day! 🙂

    Thích

  3. Hello All!

    I’m a newbie.
    I find this forum helpful and interesting.
    I love TDHoanh’s opinion. And then, I’d like to translate a/f:

    ” Cái chết phổ biến hơn sự sống; ai rồi cũng chết và rồi không phải mọi người đều đang sống cả đâu.”

    Tks all,
    vt.

    Thích

  4. Thanks, Bro. (?) Văn. Great caption, I love it!

    About the translation, your meaning is correct, but you use too many words and, therefore, lose the punch. Quotes are like jokes. They are witty remarks, compact in language, and have the punch at the end.

    The punch comes from keeping the real meaning half hidden within the compact words of the punch line, which is usually the last sentence of a joke or a quote. That is why only people clever enough to understand the punch line of a joke will laugh, others will just be lost. And that is why some folks can tell a joke and make people laugh; other folks tell the same joke and no one laughs.

    Quotes are like that. They usually have a punch line at the end. If you ruin that punch line by adding many words to make explicit what the author has kept implicit, then you lose the punch and all the fun, and the beauty, of the quote.

    Look at our translation on hand:

    Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.

    Cái chết phổ biến hơn sự sống; ai rồi cũng chết và rồi không phải mọi người đều đang sống cả đâu.

    The original quote has 12 words, you use 22 words, almost double. And the punch line “but not everyone lives” has 4 words while you use11 words, almost triple.

    I am not suggesting that you have to use the same number of words in your translation. I am just pointing out how you can lose the beauty of the original by being verbose in your translation.

    But, still a good try. Thank you for participating, brother. Good job! 🙂

    Thích

  5. For the picture caption:
    In case a voting system appears, I would like to submit another entry (to double my winning chance):
    “Why is my belly so damp? Have I lied on something?”

    Thích

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