nothing to say

February 1st, 2008

lzh tells me this guy‘s a famous university professor who writes somewhat similarly to Lu Xun, that his university doesn’t like him because he’s too honest (like Lu Xun). Well, unlike the maths teacher who’s reference for lzh’s boss’ son I had to translate a couple of days ago, he writes like he has a good command of the language, and so it’s a fair bit of work for me to read his posts, but I was struck by his latest post, 无话可说/Nothing to Say. It’s a short one, so I’ll translate it here (and as always, corrections and constructive criticism are welcome):

无话可说/Nothing to Say

Xiao Han


These few days, I’ve been reading the news online- apart from the blizzards, what other news is there? Of course, I was wanting to write something.


Today I received a letter from an editor friend of mine inviting me to write an article, inviting me to write something about the blizzards  in the south. But, to tell the truth, modern civilisation is just like a person’s own body, so fragile it can not stand a single blow, and facing it I have nothing to say.


Some things are so moving they leave you speechless; some things are  so shocking they strike you dumb; and then there are some things that are so astounding you’re left with nothing to say.


I can ony use these few words- weak as they are, these are my heartfelt wishes, people stranded in the boundless white, I hope you return to your warm homes as early as possible, to a New Year reunited with your family.

So yeah, I took a few liberties rearranging things in English, but I think I got the right meaning. But I’m impressed with Xiao Han, and although he writes (naturally) at something above my level, I’m going to try a few longer pieces, too.

Let’s face it, real world study is infinitely more interesting than textbook study.

Of course, I won’t be abandoning the textbook- real world articles and essays and novels don’t take the time to sit down and explain points of grammar or those other little niceties of language to you. I just intend to keep mixing the textbook study up with real world study to keep my interest levels up, first of all, and give me a leg up into real world written Chinese.

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