Notes Made When Translating: Journey to the End

The Fourth Song 第四首歌

Wow I made it! :D This is the last of the 4 official songs in the Nirvana in Fire series. Also I found a new GIFing software and I'm not afraid to use it!

This particular song is actually the official theme song for the Nirvana in Fire Mobile RPG game (wow!). If you're interested in having a look follow this link.

I found this song quite by accident but immediately loved it after listening – the lyrics so well written, the music such flare. I was once again impressed by the series’ production values, even the song for the game is good XD.

The singer for this song goes by a nickname called 音频怪物 “Sound Wave Monster”. He’s actually a pretty famous online singer who does both original and remakes of songs and has release 2 albums according to my research.

Some Commentary (Rants) on the Game 说说游戏那点事儿

Firstly I'm very unhappy that I cannot download this game from the Australian Apple App store. It's limited only to the China App Store. :( Being a long time RPG and MMORPG fan this is very annoying, and also it means I can't give much of a review of the game.

Secondly yes, it is available on Android platforms, so if anyone has played it please put some info in the comments! 
Mei Changsu - very nice :D
Being a Chinese RPG it’s likely of the free to play but pay to ace model. The good thing about this models is you usually get to play the full game for free but it’ll be like playing a game on hard mode. The people who like the game a lot and want to win can spend real money to buy conveniences (they’re called ‘whales’, and I appreciate whales) like better gear, power ups or storage. 

Towards the end of the video of the song linked below there is a series of in game character designs and they all look very pretty. Or you can go here and see the designs for some of the characters - I did have to do a double take at Xia Jiang's design.
?????????????? Who?????????? Oh O_o.....

Notes Made When Translating: Journey to the End 翻译《归殊》的笔记

This song was not done as part of any of the translations during the subbing of Nirvana in Fire, so all translations were done by yours truly :).

Title: 归殊 Journey to the End  or
                   Return of Shu
Lyrics: 沄汐 Yunxi
Composition: 劉泰戈 Liu Taige and 音頻怪物 Yin Pin Guai Wu
Singer: 音頻怪物 Yin Pin Guai Wu, Real name: 李楠 Li Nan

The title of this song is quite an interesting choice with a double layer of meanings.

The first one is literally, the “Return of Shu”, 归 (guī) means to return and 殊 (shū) is the Shu in Lin Shu's name.

The second meaning is in reference to the chengyu 殊途同归 (shū tú tóng guī) which means “reaching the same goal via different routes” or “all roads lead to Rome” for the English equivalent. 殊途 (shū tú) literally means “different routes” and 同归 (tóng guī) here means “same place to return to” or essentially the same goal. The phrases focuses on the process of reaching the end goal and not so much if the end is good or bad or if even reached. So the alternate title I came up with is "Journey to the End".

The first line of the song tells us the stages of life Lin Shu has lived through, there isn’t many. The first half of his life is about friendship, loyalty, that ended, and he was forced to wander literally and figuratively. This is one of two refrains that is repeated throughout the song as a lament on the fickleness of life.

半生义气 半世浪迹
Lit: Half a lifetime of brotherhood and friendship, half a lifetime of wanderings
Lyrical: Life, half of friendship, the other of wanderings

Best friends will always be best friends

The fragrance of medicine becomes his companion as he builds a new name for himself in his forced exile.

药香缠骨 铸就一纸江湖名
Lit: Fragrance of medicine entwines the bones forging an insubstantial name in the pugilist world
Lyrical: Fragrance of herbs entwined, forging an empty name

The use of this non-standard quantifier 一纸 (yī zhǐ) in this line is very clever. The word literally translates to “one paper”, the entire phrase 一纸江湖名 “one paper of a name in the pugilist world”. Paper is flimsy, fragile, easily destroyed, of not much value. It infers that the fame that Lin Shu created for Mei Changsu was not of much value to him personally, an empty name, just a mean to an end, a stepping stone in his plans. 
Mei Changsu created for one purpose only
He returns to Jinling the capital, revisit and retrace the steps he used to take but this time he is not the passive party. He controls the ebb and flow and the fate of not only the people around him but also the fate of the Empire. The battle for power is figuratively described as a game in which Mei Changsu advises on the moves.

踏归金陵 重游故地
Lit: Stepping back to Jinling, revisiting familiar places
Lyrical: To return to Jinling, retrace the steps

指点一局 浮沉江山的博弈
Lit: To advise a round, (control) the ups and downs of the contest of the kingdom
Lyrical: To advise a round, the ebb and flow of the contest of the world

The phrase 浮沉 (fú chén) literally translates to “float sink”. This phrase is used to mean “rise and fall” of a thing or a person’s life, whether they are thriving or decaying. This phrase usually implies a sense of passiveness, where you are unable to control your fate and instead must drift along with the ebb and flow of the tide. However here the song cleverly turns it into active action to describe how Mei Changsu takes control of the flow of not only the nation’s fate but also the fate of the people involved.
Listen to me
The song makes a comparison to the young and carefree, concluding that they are but a fleeting moment in life, just some stories people would later enjoy retelling.

少儿郎 策马骋千里
Lit: Young man, spur on the horse and gallop for a thousand miles
Lyrical: Young man, spur on and gallop without bounds

Lit: It’s but a story of virtues and candor told by others
Lyrical: It’s but a story of virtue and candor

嶙峋 (lín xún) means jagged, craggy mountain rocks. This is later extended to mean someone who has a innate strength of character and candor - 傲骨嶙峋 (ào gǔ lín xún). Standing up straight and unwavering as the mountains.

We have never stopped talking
And in forgotten graves, the spirit of the people who were wronged do not rest and continue to call.

枯冢里 铮铮铁骨不屈
Lit: In the withered tomb the clanging iron bones do not yield
Lyrical: In withered tombs, bones do not yield

Lit: Who still remembers the anguished calls of the heroic souls smothered by the flames?
Lyrical: Who remembers the call of souls smothered by the flames?

铮铮铁骨 (zhēnɡ zhēnɡ tiě ɡǔ) chengyu, means a firm and unyielding character. 铮铮 (zhēnɡ zhēnɡ) is the sound of metal hitting against metal, clanging. The chengyu uses the clanging of ‘iron’ bones to describe a strength of character.

The wronged do not rest
The wind rises and blows. This refrain is repeated as reminder of the strife that is stirred up in the world.

风起兮 风起兮
Lit: The wind rises, the wind rises
Lyrical: Oh how the wind rises, how it blows

兮 (xī) is an auxiliary word used mostly in Classical Chinese (文言文). Its equivalent to saying “Ah~” or “Oh~” or “How~”.

That ‘wind’ which has been blowing for more than a decade and has made many things into stories and song and buried many feelings forever entombing them in the past. Such things have no place, or more correctly it cannot have a place in the battle for power.

Lit: Blowing for ten years making songs from separation
Lyrical: Rushing past decades, songs of separation

再相聚 被无情埋了曾经
Lit: Meeting again, the heartless have buried the past
Lyrical: To meet again, the heartless have buried the past.

Not the same anymore
Each and every move in the battle is a carefully calculated move. A single move, a single game piece is sometimes enough to influence the ultimate outcome of the game. And looking back perhaps you won’t even know whose trap you’ve fallen into.

一子棋 一平局
Lit: Placing a game piece, making a draw
Lyrical: To place a piece, force a draw

Lit: Plot a round of trickery and deceit
Lyrical: Plot a round of trickery and deceit

回首时 不识是谁人手笔
Lit: Looking back, who knows whose piece of work it is?
Lyrical: Looking back, who knows who it was?

手笔 (shǒu bǐ) means “(a) piece of work” usually used to describe a piece of text or painting. Here it’s used to describe the schemes being played out.

There's times when things don't go as planned but you don't know why.

The first refrain is used again to remind us of the impermanence of things in the world, but this time it’s coupled with the determination to fight against the fate that has been laid out.

半生义气 半世浪迹
Lit: Half a lifetime of brotherhood and friendship, half a lifetime of wanderings
Lyrical: Life, half of friendship, the other of wanderings

指点一局 浮沉江山的博弈
Lit: To advise a round, (control) the ups and downs of the contest of the kingdom
Lyrical: To advise a round, the ebb and flow of the contest of the world

The next lines matches and adds on to the earlier lyrics and reminds us again to the wrongs suffered. A grave with only a handful of soil, how rushed and simple. Can that constitute a suitable grave? No, but even that was more than what the Chiyan army received. Such pains and suffering cannot be put into words.

一抔土 葬骸骨不平
Lit: A handful of soil, bury the remains, restless bones
Lyrical: A handful of soil bury restless bones.

Lit: How many regrets are too hard to even write in history
Lyrical: How many regrets, too hard to pen even in history?

Stories that need to be told
There is no arguing that it such wrongs must be addressed but it’s a dangerous path that he will not allow anyone else to travel along with him.

来时路 那人只身入局
Lit: On the road here, that person enters the fray alone
Lyrical: On road to here, he enters the fray alone

Lit: Restore the eternal name of the men of Chiyan to what it was
Lyrical: To restore the eternal name of Chiyan

千秋 (qiān qīu) literally “a thousand autumns” which stands for eternal.
I come because I'm willing
The wind rises, strife is stirred up again with his arrival and it rages in the courts ever more ferociously as the end nears. But how many see it, feel it? 

风起兮 风起兮
Lit: The wind rises, the wind rises
Lyrical: Oh how the wind rises, how it blows

Lit: The lofty Court is full of wind and rain
Lyrical: In the lofty Court it storms

All of you, traitors! But in who's eyes?
To be loyal to your country, to love it, to save it, is not for name or fame.

拥江山 未留生前生后名
Lit: To embrace the Kingdom, leave no name before or after death
Lyrical: To embrace the Kingdom, no name needs to be left

拥 (yōng) means to embrace, or hug and its’ meaning is extended to be “to love” – not in the romantic love sense, but a patriotic sense. In the series Lin Shu agreed with no hesitation to not 'return' to the 'living' after the Chiyan case retrials. Leaving his name in history was not his goal. Similarly 'revenge' is too shallow a word to describe the things that he had set out to achieve. 
For you and I, there's no need to meet again
When the war starts, when the country needs him again, he will without hesitation re-adorn his armor and all this is for a belief that is held dear in his heart. His life will be to create, to forge and prove through his actions, his beliefs.

战火起 硝烟急
Lit: The flames of war rises, urgent acrid smoke
Lyrical: Rising flames, urgent acrid smoke

Lit: Only to wait till he re-adorns the armor
Lyrical: Wait for him, to re-adorn his armor

便是将 一生铸一腔赤心
Lit: then he’s a General, using a life to forge (create) an unyielding loyal heart
Lyrical: then he’s the General and this life is all for his belief.

To where they belong
Another year, when the Langya list is written anew, he is not there anymore to be placed back on the list.

又一年 叹琅琊榜上再无名
Lit: Another year, lament that the name is no longer on the Langya List
Lyrical: Another year, that name is no longer on the list.

But his name will be written else where

Conclusions 结论

In listening to this song I found it very different in tone to the other songs in the series. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that's its for the NiF game. 

The other songs lamented for the characters and events that happened in a prostrate tone. However in this song there is more a sense of a fight, of dissatisfaction, the unwillingness to accept fate and the will to change it. It high lighted the character's actions and fight in the story.

 Afterword 后记

Well thank you all for sticking with me :) This is the last of the "Notes Made When Translating" series I had set out to write for the songs in NiF about one month ago. I initially thought it would take a while, but its had been so very enjoyable, especially with everyone's comments that I managed to power through.

This was a very interesting and I must say educational experience for myself. In trying to write up these little notes I had to verify my own understanding of terms and anecdotes that were mentioned. On several occasions I had to correct my own assumptions or erroneous understandings. It really forces you to go and clarify your own understandings of everything.

I also hope that these notes also help you to gain a bit more of a feel of the general background to this world presented in Nirvana in Fire and perhaps gain an extra dimension in your viewing experiences. 

At the moment I'm not sure what further posts I'll write XD, so I guess I'll play it by ear and see if anything else comes up!


Thank you all :)