This will be my first shot at translating lyrics by my favorite Chinese-language singer: 孙燕姿, Sunyanzi (tones: 1, 4, 1). She’s a Singaporean “mando-pop” singer, and earlier this year I just went head over heels for her [music]. Below is a link to my favorite one: 未完成, “To Be Continued.” This has been my pick-me-up-and-throw-me-out-into-the-world song all spring, really injects a healthy dose of joy into my day.
Here’s a Youku link to the music video (but with low quality sound).
Here’s a Youtube link for sound quality.
And a link for listening to/downloading the mp3 未完成 To Be Continued
I’ve never translated poetry of any kind before, and with this I’ve gone with a mix of direct translation and plenty of “poetic” license. Remember that poetry always sounds strange in translation, song lyrics look dead when written down and, most importantly, I’m a noob at this. Here goes…
Take the long way home, mixing things up a bit, 绕个路回家 有些事开始复杂
It’s a turn of phrase, one that I’m growing into 拐个弯说话 代表必须长大啦
Gotta make sure, you’ll never quite make it on time, 要确定自己 总好象是来不及
With that shifting mood, can I get an answer from someone?心情在变化 能否找个人要答案 快回答
When you’re your boss, can’t be taking any days off, 开始负责任 都不能有点懒散
But left alone you’ll give the brain a break, what to do? 虽然私底下 常常让脑袋在放假 该不该
Put it this way: I can’t wait for the changes I can’t see, 这么说来 对我有期待 不知不觉是改变
I’m to be continued, and what comes up comes out, 未完成的我 一出现就要有表现
Feels pretty good, 感觉不错
To live is to change, and to never finish up. 生活在世界未完成是个期待 永远做不完
[absurdly cute laugh, followed by repeat of earlier verses]
Think, think normal, think special, think freedom, 想 想平凡 想特别 想自由
It all like that long way home, the extra turn, 我想一切就像 绕个路 拐个弯
The extra load, pick it up, forced to become who I am. 要负责任 别偷懒 在逼着我成长
Put it this way: a heart full of unspeakable wishes, 这么说来 自己的期待 有时说不出来
Choices made of intuitions, 未完成什么 我会考虑我的直觉
Feels pretty good, 感觉不错
To live is to change, and to never finish up. 生活在世界未完成是个期待 永远做完
Lots of non-poetic clunkiness in translation (and trouble in my formatting) but you get the idea. Sunyanzi was most popular about ten years ago, meaning that most college-age women in China love her. You can say what you want about Chinese music, but I’m just glad that this generation grew up with the above lyrics as opposed to this.