• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen October 17th

horizon


Not a changeling.

  • EThou Goddess
    Scansion wakes up to find beautiful poems he doesn't remember writing. Is the lonely goddess of the night reaching out to him in the only way she can, or is he chasing shadows?
    horizon · 4.9k words  ·  624  13 · 6.2k views

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Aug
8th
2021

New translation: 女神 (Thou Goddess) · 8:31am August 8th

Long time no see, folks! I need to break my silence to turn a spotlight to a true labor of love: a new Chinese translation of Thou Goddess!

I love that story, but dear gods, it is no easy feat to translate. Least of all to a language like Chinese, where the elements of poetry that go into constrained writing are very far removed from English's meter, rhythm and rhyme. estiMaDashie took over a month to research it and hone the rhythm and wording, including enlisting additional help to get Luna's speech (and some of the night-time poetry) into middle Chinese for a proper thousand-year-old effect.

Friends, I do not speak a single word of Chinese, but I can still tell you that this is a quality effort on the strength of Google Translate's version of lines like these:

栖陌生荒野之魂魄,
拥众星而寂寥。

The original English reads: "A spirit in a strange, new land, / Surrounded and alone," and that second line translated back from Chinese is roughly: "Lonely with the stars." [1] Which is perfectly on point to layer in both Luna's nocturnal theme (as the subject of those lines) as well as the original intention of being surrounded as though amid stars without number.

[1] I also ran it through Systran, which has a number of different models to give a sense of the differing interpretations which can come from the same characters. Translations range from "The soul of a strange wilderness is lonely" to "Strange, wild souls, the stars and the stars", which suggests that there's some even heavier stellar layering in the line about loneliness. I'd love to hear more from a Chinese speaker.

There are other lovely touches which manage to breach the language barrier on the return trip, such as Google translating all of Luna's spoken references to herself as the third-person "lonely" (using an idiom similar to what the original text did with the Royal We). It's the sort of translation that makes me wish I could read Chinese so I could luxuriate in all the details, and I'm exceedingly honored that the story was worth such effort. If you speak the language, it's definitely worth a look.

Also, speaking of poetry!

If you're coming to Everfree Northwest in a week, I'm one of the community writing guests! Part of that was organizing several writing panels, so you'll have several opportunities to hear me pontificate on ponyfic. Most directly relevant is "One Weird Trick To Better Prose", which is a crash course in how the basic elements of poetry can improve your writing even if you never write a word of poetry.

FanOfMostEverything, Winston and myself will be dissecting excerpts of great works as part of the process in hopes of having something useful to say about what makes them tick. If you've got any suggestions (a paragraph or less, preferably one or two hard-hitting or memorable sentences), feel free to quote and source them in comments, and I'll see if we can work them in.


Finally, how are things in Horizon-land?

The short version is, the COVID hiatus continues. I've been coming a bit out of my shell since my last post, especially since getting vaccinated and starting to do normal human things like eat at buffets again. (Though we'll see how long that lasts with Delta variant tearing through the US. :unsuresweetie:) But a lot of my creative energy has been going into tabletop RPG stuff, and my writing's pretty well dried up other than my general mischief when posting to Infosec Princess Luna's twitter account. Slowly, slowly, I'm rebuilding the habits that kept me productive, although right now that's taking the form of con prep and a job search.

Hope things have been going well for y'all!

Comments ( 8 )
PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Glad to see you back and I look forward to seeing you at the convention.

I still can’t believe I’m traveling half-way across the country to be with fellow pony fans for a few short days. COVID sucks. Everybody get your shots. Looking forward to this.

Awesome and double awesome! Have fun and be safe out there! :heart:

Super cool to have that translation!

Which is perfectly on point to layer in both Luna's nocturnal theme (as the subject of those lines) as well as the original intention of being surrounded as though amid stars without number.
[...]
[The range of translations suggest] that there's some even heavier stellar layering in the line about loneliness.

Getting poetry "correct" through translation is super difficult, as you point out -- that it (ostensibly) achieves this and makes it even richer and more nuanced is a true gift.

Neat, and congratulations on that translation. :)

I hope you have an excellent convention! Good luck!

And good luck in general!
(And I think I've been doing alright; thanks. :))

I have never been so jealous of horseglyphs. :fluttershysad:

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