Dem Arafis (demarafis) wrote in linguaphiles,

Hua Mulan song translations

Hi everyone. Here are my translations of two cool songs inspired by Hua Mulan that someone asked for about a week ago. The first song is written in a classical style of Chinese I'm not wholly comfortable with and I'd really love it if another set of eyes can check my interpretation. The second one is modern but I'm having trouble with the phrasing. Again, I'd appreciate it very much if it can be checked too.

Song #1
木兰辞

唧唧复唧唧 木兰当户织
不闻机杼声 惟闻女叹息
问女何所思 问女何所忆
女亦无所思 女亦无所忆

木兰啊 天下女儿心如一
慈母容颜憔悴 我亦戚戚
木兰啊 我愿效你着铁衣
忍心剪去青丝千万缕

木兰啊 看过尘世闲碎语
莫辩雄雌谁人知 只为娘亲
木兰啊 待得千里还乡日
笑忆年少岁月曾意气

Mulan's Farewell

Creak, creak,
Mulan weaves, facing the door.
The sound from the loom can't be heard;
only daughter's sigh can be heard.
When I ask what she's thinking about,
ask her what she's recalling, she says,
"I am not thinking about anything,
"I am not recalling anything."

Ah, Mulan!
"All daughters in the world have the same heart.
"When gentle mother looks haggard, I also worry."
Ah, Mulan!
"I am willing to copy you wearing iron clothes,
"bear cutting off thousands of thousands strands of black hair,"

Ah, Mulan!
"and observe the world's idle, baseless words.
"Only for the sake of mother and family; who will know whether I'm male or female?"
Ah, Mulan!
"I will wait for the day when I travel thousands of miles to return home.
"I will remember my younger years with pride and smiles."

Song #2
花木兰

谁说新世代的姑娘家
嫩的像朵花
我大笔将汉字落下
一派 潇洒
新世代的姑娘家
民族的嫩芽
调整好性別的时差
巾帼的天下

城市闹区的霓虹下
沒有竹籬笆
炊烟裊裊山居人家
也沒有网吧
世代在跳接变化
节奏在敲打
我突然
想起木兰花

这西方钢琴跟琵琶
到底谁强大
我偏爱唐诗里的晚霞
有家的牵挂
超時尚感的脸颊
配东方文化
在这里
撞击出火花

谁说新世代的姑娘家
嫩的像朵花
我大笔将汉字落下
一派 潇洒
新世代的姑娘家
跟传统对话
挑染头发行道天涯
思想超混搭

也或许前世我半生戎马
可汗点兵代爹离家
种下木兰花
了断了牵挂 放下

谁说新世代的姑娘家
嫩的像朵花
我大笔将汉字落下
一派 潇洒
新世代的姑娘家
学习山水画
走南闯北历经风沙
痛饮一壶茶


Hua Mulan

Who says modern girls
are delicate like a flower?
I will write with strong strokes
in a cool style.
Modern girls
are the people's new buds.
Once adjustments of the gender jetlag are done,
it'll be a heroines' world!

Under downtown's neon lights,
there are no bamboo fences.
Smoky foggy mountain homes
have no internet cafés.
The times are changing rapidly,
the tempo is beating.
Suddenly,
I think of magnolia flowers (*A).

Between the piano and the pipa,
which is more powerful? (whose power is more influencial?) (*B)
I prefer sunsets in poems of the Tang dynasty
which are nostalgic of home.
Ultra-modern faces
are paired with Eastern culture.
Here,
they form sparks.

Who says modern girls
are delicate like a flower?
I will write with strong strokes
in a cool style.
Modern girls
talk with tradition.
They travel to the edges of the world with streaked hair,
their thoughts get very mixed up.

Maybe I was on a warhorse for half of my previous life,
left home in place of my father for the Emperor's conscription order.
I planted magnolia flowers, (*A)
and left behind feelings for family and friends.

Who says modern girls
are delicate like a flower?
I will write with strong strokes
in a cool style.
Modern girls
learn landscape painting. (*C)
They travel broadly and experience trials,
and heartly drink a pot of tea. (*D)

Notes for song #1:
- I'm pretty sure only the first verse of the first song is from the Ballad of Mulan. The rest is original.
- As with most classical Chinese texts, tenses are implied, relationships between certain terms are inferred, and punctionation is non-existant. Therefore, almost all tenses, pronouns and punction (among other things) are not original. This is why I'd like someone to check it.

New notes and comments for song #2:
(*A) The original text says mulan hua, which means magnolia flowers. It is common to give girls names of flowers and Mulan's family name happen to be Hua, which means flower, so Hua Mulan = Mulan the person and mulan hua = magnolia flower.
(*B) I'm not sure which interpretation is better.
(*C) Landscape painting is the highest form of Chinese painting. It is one of the four arts every learned scholar must know.
(*D) Hearty is the closest word I can think of but it's still not it. It suggests drinking in big gulps merrily. It is not a very feminine behaviour but still refined, so something like "merrily gulps down tea" is too crass.
- I mulled over this with a friend today. Even with his suggestions and sylphlight's comment, some parts still don't sound right in English. Again, feedback is much appreciated.

Thank you!
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