Friday, 8 March 2019

Zhaoyao OST translations + interpretation

The song is Zhao Yao by Chen Chusheng and Hu Shasha.
Zhao Yao, the drama's chinese title, also means ostentatious but in this context I believe the song stands for the main character's name.


MV:


Translations:
This song is harder to translate in the sense that the Chinese lyrics start with 'one' for many lines, so I have to phrase the lines such that the meaning is captured and properly translated yet have them start with 'one'.

Female:
一夜如梦 心中住魔咒
One night, just like a dream, a seed was planted in my heart
一言飞流 恍然忘前愁
One word in passing, suddenly makes past sorrows disappear
一念之隔 浸一壶浊酒
One thought separating us, is like soaking in a pot of turbid wine
一眼 一生 无求
One glance, one life, no other requests

Male:
一颦如魔 不惜自入瓮
One frown, just like a spell, causes me to brave dangers without hesitation
一叶知秋 爱恨莫须有
One small sign can symbolise greater things, perhaps there is love or hatred.
一字白首 浅情挥不休
One promise lasts till old age, for even shallow affections cannot be wiped away
一唤 一生 风流
One call, one life, to be unrestrained

Male:
一句此生不换
One sentence, will not change in this lifetime:
招摇我百转千凡
I, Zhaoyao, have been through many trials and tribulations
留一身孤注 悲欢
leaving me alone to go through joy and sorrow in solitude

Together:
若是岁月太短
If the passing years are too short
招摇我千凡百转
I, Zhaoyao, have been through many trials and tribulations
陪你一世也 无关
I don't mind spending a lifetime accompanying you

Female:
一夜如梦 心中住魔咒
One night, just like a dream, a seed was planted in my heart
一言飞流 恍然忘前愁
One word in passing, suddenly makes past sorrows disappear
一念之隔 浸一壶浊酒
One longing, when cut, is like soaking in turbid wine
一眼 一生 无求
One glance, one lifetime, no other requests

Male:
一颦如魔 不惜自入瓮
One frown, just like a spell, causes me to brave dangers without hesitation
一叶知秋 爱恨莫须有
One small sign can symbolise greater things, perhaps there is love or hatred.
一字白首 浅情挥不休
One promise lasts till old age, for even shallow affections cannot be wiped away
一唤 一生 风流
One call, one life, to be unrestrained

Female:
一句此生不换
One sentence, will not change in this lifetime:
招摇我百转千凡
I, Zhaoyao, have been through many trials and tribulations
留一身孤注 悲欢
leaving me alone to go through joy and sorrow in solitude

Together:
若是岁月太短
If the passing years are too short
招摇我千凡百转
I, Zhaoyao, have been through trials and tribulations
陪你一世也 无关
I don't mind spending a lifetime accompanying you
谁说此生不换
Who says this life would never change
招摇我百转千凡
I, Zhaoyao, have been through numerous hardships
留一身孤注 悲欢
Leaving me alone to go through joy and sorrow in solitude
若是岁月太短
If the passing years are too short
招摇我千凡百转
I, Zhaoyao, have been through many trials and tribulations
浪费一世也 无关
I don't mind wasting a lifetime

Female:
不必两为难
There is no need to make things difficult between us

Male:
璀璨时暗淡
In the brightest time, yet despairing

Female:
生时情四海
In life, to love is very common

Male:
灭时更奕欢
In dying, there's even more happiness

Interpretation:
Zhaoyao's parts are longer because it consists not only of the female's verses but also the chorus where they both sing together. On top of that, even though the chorus may seem repetitive, there are subtle difference, so I included the 2 versions of the chorus. Moqing's part on the other hand, only consists of the guy's solo parts and is much shorter.

** As pointed out in the comments, the line: I, Zhaoyao, have been through many trials and tribulations can also be translated as: Zhaoyao, I've been through many trials and tribulations. The former is less common because it's a domineering way of speaking like calling yourself 'oresama', the latter is the normal way of speaking. This means that the same sentence can either be Zhaoyao herself speaking or someone else speaking speaking to her. I chose to take it as Zhaoyao speaking because given the whole context and her personality, it's very possible she speaks like that, also i thought that whenever this line comes out in the chorus, the male's voice fades out even though they sing the rest together, giving precedence to the female's voice in that particular line. But because the male also sings this line by himself at the start, it really can also be Moqing's line, so it's all up to how you choose to interpret it!

Female:
One night, just like a dream, a seed was planted in my heart
[It literally says a curse lives in my heart. So basically when she cares for Moqing, Zhaoyao wonders if she's cursed lol. But I can't just start the YouTube video with: One night, just like a dream, a curse was planted in my heart... So yeah.]
One word in passing, suddenly makes past sorrows disappear
One thought separating us, is like soaking in a pot of turbid wine
One glance, one lifetime, no other requests

One sentence, will not change in this lifetime:
I, Zhaoyao, have been through many trials and tribulations, leaving me alone to go through joy and sorrow in solitude.
[After going through so much hardships, Zhaoyao believes that she is destined to be lonely]
If the passing years are too short, I, Zhaoyao, (who has) been through many trials and tribulations, don't mind spending a lifetime accompanying you
[She's accepting Moqing!]

Who says this life would never change
[Yes, she's changing!]
I, Zhaoyao, have been through many trials and tribulations, leaving me alone to go through joy and sorrow in solitude.
If the passing years are too short
I, Zhaoyao, (who has) been through many trials and tribulations, don't mind wasting a lifetime.  [Basically I think she gives up her initial pursuits to be with him. It may seem "wasted" because of that but she would rather give them up... all her killing arrays and formations LOL]

There is no need to make things difficult between us.
In life, to love is very common.

Male:
One frown, just like a spell, causes me to brave dangers without hesitation
[This actually says one frown, like magic. I think magic made it sound childish so I changed it to spell. Also, rather than brave dangers without hesitation it literally says that he will jump into the urn without cherishing himself. So, if Zhaoyao feels unhappy, he doesn't hesitate to throw himself into danger.]
One small sign can symbolise greater things, perhaps there is love and hatred.
[It uses the idiom: One leaf symbolises the (coming of) Autumn. (The king's avatar anyone? It's this phrase that's his previous in-game name and what his actual name is based on!) The meaning of the idiom is what I translated. Meaning Moqing is sometimes wondering whether some of Zhaoyao's little actions or words means she loves or hates him.]
One promise lasts till old age, for even shallow affections cannot be wiped away
[I think one promise, lasts a lifetime sounds better but I'm trying to keep it as close to the original words so... Also, not exactly sure what promise but the previous OSTs also mentions Moqing waiting for a promise, shallow affections because technically before all this, Moqing and Zhaoyao's relationship was not that deep]
One call, one life, to be unrestrained
[He wishes he could be live freely without suppressing his affections]

In the brightest time, yet despairing
In dying, there's even more happiness
[Moqing actually wanted to die but he couldn't. Despite being the sect leader and all, he was living is despair, the only thing that kept him going was Sima Rong telling him to fulfil Zhaoyao's past wishes (being a good person etc)]

I like how this song documents the changes in Zhaoyao’s heart which is more apparent in the novel because we can read about her inner thoughts and struggles – she has always felt lonely and never believed that anyone else would love her after her grandfather died. Because the book is from Zhaoyao's POV, even though we can tell Moqing feels sad and lonely too, it's not as explicit. Even though this song ends on a negative note because of the guy's last line, the song as a whole is actually not at all negative! Zhaoyao is changing, and willing to accept him into her heart! It means that there is hope that they would be together and he would no longer live in despair.

Snippets of her inner thoughts in the novel are in part 2 of the novel and drama comparison.

7 comments:

  1. I salute your work. It's much superior to other translations of this drama I've seen. No doubt you will agree that translation is more than technical; it's an art. There's one key phrase in this song you've translated as "I, Zhaoyao, have been through many trials and tribulations", but I think it's Mo Qing saying, "Zhaoyao, I have been through many trials and tribulations"

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    Replies
    1. Hey hey, thanks for the compliment :> With regards to the line, I believe it's like what the comment below me states because it's a more domineering way of speaking which fits Zhaoyao's personality haha. The original line interpreted alone could also be Moqing speaking to Zhaoyao but since the line is taken with the whole song and it's the female singer's line, I believe it's Zhaoyao speaking (especially knowing she's capable of speaking in such a proud way hahaha) :) Thanks!

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  2. "I, Zhaoyao, etc" reads like Zhaoyao is speaking.

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  3. Thank you much for the English Sub. Really helps me understand the meaning of the song!

    ReplyDelete