Since 1933, the Cambridge University Library has had a pristine copy of Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu
, the Ten Bamboo Studio collection of calligraphy and painting from 1633. Because the book was so fragile, the butterfly bound
(Google books preview) manual for teachers of art and writing was not opened until it could be properly digitized. That day has come, and the entire book is online
, giving the world a view of “the earliest and the most beautiful example of multicolor printing anywhere in the world
,” according to Charles Aylmer, head of the Chinese department at Cambridge University Library. [more inside]
by graphic designer and cartoonist 阿塗 (Ah To) contains 81 Cantonese proverbs and idioms in one image. It was originally published on the Hong Kong website Passion Times
, and was inspired by a 1559 oil painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder called Netherlandish Proverbs
. [more inside]
Ta-Nehisi Coates has spent the last few months in Paris specifically studying French. His latest dispatch, "Or Perhaps You Are Too Stupid to Learn French
," looks at how hard it is to apply the rules of new language in real time, while fighting with one's perceptions and limitations (Other dispatches are here
Washington Post writer Jay Matthews asks if learning a foreign language is worth it
and recounts his own struggles studying Chinese
. Another WaPo writer, Elizabeth Chang, recalls her experience in learning Arabic
In 1995, an Atlantic story on the first Chinese translation of Ulysses
closed with the offhand remark that "no one in China is offering to translate Finnegans Wake." Today on the (day after the) 131st anniversary of his birth, James Joyce's famously difficult work is a bestseller in China
You've read The Backstroke of the West
; now WATCH The Backstroke of the West
! (MLYT, some NSFW language. The first minute or so of video is missing, but the rest of the movie is there in its full glory.)
Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films
distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing
Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International
, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully
re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree
(while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention
The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic
gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog
, debuted in more than forty tongues
Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes
and one-line comparisons
, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights:
"One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali,"
and "A Whole New World"
) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata,"
(The Lion King
) - "Under the Sea"
and "Poor Unfortunate Souls"
(The Little Mermaid
) - "Belle"
and "Be Our Guest"
(Beauty and the Beast
) - "Just Around the Riverbend"
) - "One Song"
) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo"
) - Medley
) - "When She Loved Me"
(Toy Story 2
) - Intro
[Ezra Pound] worked on and for poetry as others might work on a major scientific discovery or a drawn-out military mission. Thus, as Sieburth reminds us in his introduction to The Pisan Cantos, when, on May 3, 1945, Pound was arrested at his home in the hills above Rapallo, he immediately put a small Chinese dictionary and a copy of the Confucian classics in his pocket. Working as he then was on his Confucian translations, he knew that, wherever the military police were taking him, he would need these books.
From Pound Ascendant
by Marjorie Perloff. Ezra Pound's ability as a translator of Chinese poetry has long been disparaged by sinologists, such as George A. Kennedy in Fenollosa, Pound and the Chinese Character
. Other academics have sought to defend him. Two examples are Zhaoming Qian's Ezra Pound's encounter with Wang Wei: toward the "ideogrammic method" of the Cantos
and Stephen Tapscott's In Praise of Bad Translations: Ezra Pound and the Cultural Work of Translation (pdf)
. Eric Hayot draws the contours of this long-running debate and explores its significance in Critical Dreams: Orientalism, Modernism, and the Meaning of Pound's China
. Pound's Cathay
in full and a public domain audiobook version (iTunes link)
Twenty-nine Tao te Chings, a line at a time.
For Sunday evening, a spare, meditative post. The Tao-te-Ching
in 29 translations, line by line and side by side. I'll leave you to investigate the writings on your own; here alone are just the words to consider. Suggested: Mitchell. [more inside]
The Tao Te Ching
in dozens of languages and translations, with a lovely side-by-side comparison
Your site in Chinese.
I picked this one up out of my logs. Enter your URL, hit return, wheet, there it is, your site in simplified Chinese. Dunno how accurate it is, but goddamned, it's the coolest thing I've seen in, oh, almost 16 hours.
You need to be running a browser and OS that handles Chinese characters for this to work, by the way. Mac users can install the appropriate freebies off of their OS 9 or 8.6 disks; it's a custom install. Windows users can download some big software turd. At least Internet Explorer on both platforms will display Chinese characters correctly once the system extensions are installed.