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Author Topic: Translations of Chinese texts seen in The Legend of Korra  (Read 83108 times)
guyw1tn0nam3
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« Reply #50 on: Mar 27, 2012 10:40 pm »

Quote
It's just an interesting side note, and since Korra doesn't follow real world historical accuracy, the Korra world being in a 20s atmosphere has little relevance on when political and socioeconomic changes take place relative to our own time.

What do you mean by that? It was around that time period we were seeing the real strain of economic stratification cause all kinds of social upheaval after all, hence the equalist revolt. I'd say the creators are heavily following real world historical accuracy, just modifying it for the setting. The use of traditional chinese text is something I could easily see them add in simply because it would be a neat little thing to add to the atmosphere.  

I'm just saying that there wasn't real need to worry too much about the Chinese texts in general.

If we're talking about real world accuracy, Republic City has a 1920s atmosphere because of the clothing, the music, and the general look of the place, but it honestly isn't that similar in a number of other ways. You don't see a lot of economic stratification as much as you see social distinctions between two groups, and the 1920s was \more about conflicts between economic powerhouses and the common man.

There's no real indication that a bender is more wealthy than a nonbender. There's just been hints that benders are out there terrorizing people, but that's only been three people in the show. The other benders are either fighting in Probending or doing something. Mako and Bolin are pretty good examples of this.

I think the link to economic stratification in the Korra universe doesn't really hold that well. We don't have enough conclusive evidence to say anything like that, not to mention that the 1920s was a huge boom period anyway, and there's no hint that Republic City is a thriving merchant's wet dream.

@RoughRhinoAlternate: Most Chinese restaurants usually have functional names. It's just how we do things. Even restaurants that have fancy names will sometimes have things noting what they're all about (food and other such things).

« Last Edit: Mar 27, 2012 10:42 pm by guyw1tn0nam3 » Logged

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« Reply #51 on: Mar 28, 2012 12:01 am »

They probably just added that in while doing research of the cities during those time-periods and incorporated from there. I don't particularly find it strange or unusual for that to have casually just happened that way.

True, we have nothing conclusive yet but we haven't exactly been formally introduced to all of that either. Right now all we, and Korra, are getting is hints, and that's just basic story progression. A hobo here, a gangster here, etc etc. I'm fairly certain we'll get more in depth into all of that, otherwise if it had no actual traction within the story then the Equalist would logically be only an obscure movement rather then a prevailing and growing threat. I imagine since the Hundred Year war ended there wouldn't be much appetite for conflict between the Four Nations so no WW2 scenario, and thus we have greater attention to internal instability instead. I mean, if you want a real-world example during that time period there was the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the U.S.S.R, and the Communist Party of China was just getting started too.

I was under the impression you only had to look at the sheer scope and modernization of Republic City to see the 'boom' especially as we compare it to what the setting was like 70 years ago. A functioning metropolis with readily available advanced technology for the common man should in and of itself be a testament, not economic flow charts and piles of yuan's being exchanged right in front of us. I mean what else do you want to see exactly that you think could be realistically fitted into the series to indicate all that?  
« Last Edit: Mar 28, 2012 12:03 am by KrimzonStriker » Logged
guyw1tn0nam3
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« Reply #52 on: Mar 28, 2012 06:49 am »

Well, first, since there's no historical background, you don't really know if Republic City is going through a 1920s boom or if it's always been booming to begin with. A metropolis that looks advanced doesn't necessarily need to be financially stable or bringing in tons of wealth. The fact is that Republic City seems to have been growing ever since its inception, which is just different from the mood swings that American went through from the end of the 19th century into the 20th century. I think you're spot on by saying that Republic City is rich, but I don't think a booming economy automatically translates to one sort of lifestyle.

Again, the 1920s atmosphere is more based on music, culture, and just the general feel, not necessarily the economic aspects of it. In terms of the Russian Revolution, again these communist uprisings have been based on economic disparities that create social classes. Republic City doesn't seem to have that because both nonbenders and benders are dispersed through different economic groups.
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« Reply #53 on: Mar 28, 2012 07:10 am »

We have a Republic City thread to speculate about everything Republic City, including its development. You could take the conversation there.
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« Reply #54 on: Mar 31, 2012 09:04 pm »

So, did anyone catch the rest of the text on the propaganda picture in the background of the new trailers where Amon is on stage?
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« Reply #55 on: Mar 31, 2012 09:06 pm »

^ Have screenshot, will translate.

Found screenshot, ignore the red circle.



We already saw this slogan in episode 101 with the protestor in the park. 参加革命: Join the Revolution

Now it makes me wonder where does Amon get all his money to print such huge banners and posters...
« Last Edit: Mar 31, 2012 10:46 pm by Icy_Ashford » Logged



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« Reply #56 on: Apr 15, 2012 04:01 am »

Some of my translations have been featured on Avatar Wikia because I am awesome. However, if you're going to put these in Avatar Wikia, please credit me for the translations because it's time-consuming work and it's nice to be credited for one's work.





So you're wondering what's on the note?

Words above Aang's head: 共和城 meaning Republic City. Can't see the rest since Steve's collar/shoulder/body blocks the rest of the words
Words on the left side of the note: 廿五 meaning 25. So that note is a 25 yuan note.
« Last Edit: Apr 15, 2012 04:17 am by Icy_Ashford » Logged



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« Reply #57 on: Apr 15, 2012 04:04 am »

Nice! Thanks for translating that too, Icy Cheesy

So Aang's on the 25. I wonder if Zuko's face is on a bill too.


Edit -- This other picture has more of the bill. It looks like the other side just repeats the 25 from the left side:


« Last Edit: Apr 15, 2012 04:07 am by SMBH » Logged


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« Reply #58 on: Apr 15, 2012 04:18 am »

Thank goodness the notes don't have serial numbers. That would be a pain to write so many things on one note. I guess they don't have the counterfeit hologram portrait thing either. =P
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« Reply #59 on: Apr 15, 2012 06:09 am »

Edit -- This other picture has more of the bill. It looks like the other side just repeats the 25 from the left side:

http://i.imgur.com/pi7e5.jpg

Well here is a bigger version from sifu



Looks like it is a repeated 25.
« Last Edit: Apr 15, 2012 06:13 am by Noirsam » Logged



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« Reply #60 on: Apr 15, 2012 06:20 am »

Ooo, so it's PURPLE! I love purple. Yep, still a 25.
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« Reply #61 on: Apr 15, 2012 06:27 am »

Nice big picture! ^_^

Oh I hope this isn't just a thing they made for the premiere party. I wanna see these being used in the show! And also another bill with Zuko's face on it Grin
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« Reply #62 on: Apr 16, 2012 01:01 am »


Most of the words are too small/blurry to translate. I'm hoping the other people who attended the party would have taken clear pictures of everything.

The only words I can make out are the Chinese words for Avatar on Korra's poster which are 降世神通. You know what they mean, it's been said so many times "Divine medium who has descended on the world".
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« Reply #63 on: Apr 16, 2012 01:24 pm »

A friend says the letters on the gold background look like Republic City Police Tower/Station: 共和城警塔
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« Reply #64 on: Apr 16, 2012 09:42 pm »

I want that 25 yuan bill! Or wouldn't that be a renminbi?
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« Reply #65 on: Apr 16, 2012 09:45 pm »

RMB is the currency of China. I believe yuan was used in olden Chinese times...
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« Reply #66 on: Apr 18, 2012 12:04 am »

RMB is the currency of China. I believe yuan was used in olden Chinese times...
Guy living in China here. The way it works is that the renminbi (RMB) is the unit of currency in the PRC. People say something is "200 RMB" but it's more formal and appears on documents more often. It's often there as a distinction between other kinds of currency. So it's a little like saying "US Dollars."

The word "yuan" is more generic and refers to any kind of currency, historical or modern. It's very common to say something is "200 yuan" in conversation. "Yuan" is kind of like saying "dollar" -- there are many kinds of dollars in the world but you typically know which one you're talking about. The Mandarin terms for US dollars and euros literally translate as "US yuan" and "European yuan."

We also say "kuai" a lot, like "200 kuai" -- this is less formal and is like saying "bucks" instead of "dollars."
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« Reply #67 on: Apr 20, 2012 12:41 pm »

Edit: Realization! 70 years has passed in the Avatar World and they're still using Traditional Chinese. In the real World, Chinese speaking countries (particularly China) introduced Simplified Chinese in the 1950s in help increase literacy. I am indifferent towards Traditional Chinese because I have been schooled in the Simplified form ever since I can remember. Some say the traditional form is "beautiful". Others say simplified is easier to write. Whatever way it is, they're both pronounced the same way. It just means more work for me because I have to look up the word first before translating.

Kind of interesting that the people of the Avatar World are still sticking by Traditional Chinese.
Quick note to say that I can think of an in-world explanation and a real-world explanation for the traditional/complex Chinese (and apologies if this is old ground or covers stuff you already know). The in-world explanation of "it's the 20's" works for me, but the real-world one involves the China/Taiwan issue. Simplified Chinese characters is purely a mainland China thing, instituted by Mao Zedong to increase literacy by making the language easier to write. Since it was introduced after the Kuomintang fled the mainland and took over Taiwan, Taiwan never adopted it and stuck with traditional characters. I think Hong Kong has largely stuck with traditional characters as well, since they were run by the British until 1997, so they didn't have to follow the dictates of Beijing.

I am pretty sure I remembered reading somewhere that the translator/calligrapher for Avatar was from Taiwan, so he would have used the traditional characters for all the writing. Even if he had happened to be from the mainland, though, he may still have written out calligraphy in traditional characters. I'm sure some people do calligraphy in simplified characters, but I've never seen it.

Also, the time when simplified and complex characters looked mixed in "Cave of Two Lovers" was probably because the all writing in the caves was in "seal script," which is archaic Chinese. Think like how "s" in colonial American posters looks like an "f" and then magnify for Chinese characters. The seal script version of a character may have looked more like the simplified version than the complex version.

Thanks for the effort in posting the translations, too, BTW.
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« Reply #68 on: Apr 23, 2012 06:56 pm »

I know it's archaic Chinese. It's mentioned here.



Some of my translations have been featured on Avatar Wikia because I am awesome. However, if you're going to put these in Avatar Wikia, please credit me for the translations because it's time-consuming work and it's nice to be credited for one's work.



From Episode 103: The Revelation


(Top row) 见证: The two words together means "Witness". If you want to take the words apart, then the first word "见" could be "see/witness" while the second word "证" can be interpreted as "demonstration" to become "Witness the demonstration". However, that isn't necessary and "witness" alone is just fine.
(Bottom row) 今晚九时: Tonight at nine.

This is the only scene where I saw Chinese words. If I missed any out, feel free to send in the screenshot and I'll translate it.


(Words on top of note) 世界之家 which literally translates to "Home of the World" Hmm... There should be some more words. Maybe it's referring to Republic City being the home of the world's best something?


(Top banner) 药材店: Herbal medicine shop
(Bottom banner) 理发店: Barber shop

I have a feeling these banners would repeat in the city. =P


(Horizontal text) 见证 which means "Witness". Please see the first image of this post for more details.
(Vertical text) 参加革命 which means "Join the Revolution". We have seen these words on the banner in the park from episode 101.
« Last Edit: Apr 24, 2012 12:48 am by Icy_Ashford » Logged



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« Reply #69 on: Apr 23, 2012 07:02 pm »

^I was about to ask you about that pic Icy, but you beat me to it.
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« Reply #70 on: Apr 23, 2012 08:31 pm »

What about the back of the yuan? What does this say?

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« Reply #71 on: Apr 23, 2012 09:00 pm »

^ I edited my original post.
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« Reply #72 on: Apr 24, 2012 12:32 am »

Can you translate these two signs, Icy?



or is it too dark/blurry/small?



Also, I think you've already translated the green text in this big poster, but how about the red text on the top?

« Last Edit: Apr 24, 2012 12:34 am by SMBH » Logged


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« Reply #73 on: Apr 24, 2012 12:49 am »

^ Translations added to original post. =)
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« Reply #74 on: Apr 24, 2012 04:41 pm »

Have you already translated this? I think it may have been one of the small & blurry ones.

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