Translation talk:Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Latest comment: 2 months ago by Xover in topic Source of this text
Information about this edition
Edition: Mao Zonggang (Qing Dynasty)
Source: ISBN 9571407720
Contributor(s): Initially translated by A-cai
Level of progress:

[untitled thread] edit

If anyone else would like to help me with entering in some of the text you can find it on unsigned comment by Winn3317 (talk) 16:01, 5 May 2006.

Please indicate where the translations are from. Recent translations may be copyrighted.--Jusjih 16:13, 15 September 2006 (UTC)Reply
I recently bought the C.H. Brewitt-Taylor translation of ROTK (ISBN 0804834679). In the intro, it says that Brewitt-Taylor translated ROTK in the 1920's. The translation being less than 100 hundred years old may indeed pose copyright problems. However, in comparing the text from with my book, it is considerably different:
An empire long united, must divide; an empire long divided, must unite. This has been so since antiquity. When the rule of the Zhōu Dynasty weakened, seven contending kingdoms sprang up, warring one with another until the kingdom of Qín prevailed and possessed the empire. But when Qín's destiny had been fulfilled, arose two opposing kingdoms, Chǔ and Hàn, to fight for the mastery. And Hàn was the victor.
Empires wax and wane; states cleave asunder and coalesce. When the rule of Chou weakened seven contending principalities sprang up, warring one with another till they settled down as Ts'in and when its destiny had been fulfilled arose Ch'u and Han to contend for the mastery. And Han was the victor.
The explanation at is that they changed the Romanizations into Pinyin, and corrected some of the text. But, in looking at their version, it might as well be a brand new translation. It may have been inspired by Brewitt-Taylor's translation, but it is definitely not his translation. The translation comes from the people at If they freely release their translation per GFDL, then no problem. However, if we go with the translation from, we shouldn't list C.H. Brewitt-Taylor as the translator. -- A-cai 12:00, 28 July 2007 (UTC)Reply
On the other hand, the translation at might be considered a derivative work, and thus still pose a copyright problem. Is there a copyright lawyer in the house? -- A-cai 12:08, 28 July 2007 (UTC)Reply
For what it's worth, I looked up Brewitt-Taylor and he died in March 1938. If it affects the copyright status, he lived in China at the time he made the translation, and the Chinese copyright term is life plus 50 years. Here's a link to his obituary. Ironfrost (talk) 04:46, 2 March 2010 (UTC)Reply
I'm considering starting all over with a fresh Wikisource translation. My version of the above would be:
Wikisource translation (my version, for the time being)
It is a general truism of this world that anything long divided will surely unite, and anything long united will surely divide. At the end of the Zhou Dynasty, seven kingdoms vied for supremacy, and became a part of the Qin Dynasty. Similarly, after the Qin Dynasty was destroyed, Chu and Han vied for supremacy, and became a part of the Han Dynasty.
I would strive to be as literal as possible, without sacrificing readability English. For example, I could have been 100% faithful to the original by saying, "In speaking of the great trends under the heavens" (It is a general truism of this world that). However, this sounds awkward in English, so I would tend to compromise, and go for something that captures the spirit of what the author was trying to convey. I would be willing to give it a shot, and then let other wordsmiths eventually smooth out the English.
I also want to ditch the overly complicated html layout in chapter one. It is gorgeous, but too unwieldy for most potential contributors. We don't want to scare away the linguistic and historical experts with a bunch of style sheet codes ;-) I think a simpler table design would work much better. If anyone objects to my plan, please let your thoughts be known, because I plan on diving in within the near future. -- A-cai 13:15, 28 July 2007 (UTC)Reply

translation (into German) for reading group possible ? edit

Hello, I am in the planning of setting up this reading group on Wikiversity: v:Romance of the Three Kingdoms (by Luo Guanzhong). And for preparation I would like to work more with the text. So I thought, I could start translating the offered text step by step from here to German and while translating: gather more info about the content (e.g. looking up history facts on WP).

I have already asked at German Wikisource: they told me that unfinished text (here we have right now chapters 1-5 finished from total 120) there would be deleted (besides the lack of time to review the text finally). Now I have two options: to put the translated text on

  • English Wikiversity (it has also GFDL)
  • German Wikiversity (which has CC-BY-SA 2.5)

I guess I would need the permission of the people who participated in this project ? As far as I looked, this seems to be at least mainly: A-cai, Winn3317 and more -> the prob is with what when users do not reply back or even worse how to contact IPs (which is nearly impossible) ?

Is there perhaps another way to deal with the translation ? ----Erkan Yilmaz uses Chat (try) 18:24, 24 March 2008 (UTC)Reply

The text can be used only under the GNU FDL, id est: in GNU FDL wikis like en WV. Each user (including IPs) who has contributed copyrighted content has to be asked for permission if the translation should be available under another license. Thus it would be the best to take the parts of the users who have given permission and to translate the rest of ch. 1-5 new. For the results under CC it would be the best to define the "attribution" (-BY) as project name (not individual authors) --Histo 20:58, 24 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
First of all, is there a German edition of the text that is public domain? The translations by w:Franz Kuhn are not public domain. [1]
If there is no option but to start a German translation from scratch. According to oldwikisource:Wikisource:Subdomains coordination, the German project accepts translations, so discussion with them should continue until so we can better understand what their issues are, and how we can help allay their fears. Where is you current discussion with them?
There are two more options to host the German translation until it is complete: put it on Multilingual Wikisource, or put it here on the English Wikisource.
John Vandenberg (chat) 22:33, 24 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
Thank you all for your fast replies.
The discussion which took place was actually only an informal chat with one person (not with Histo). I don't want to cause trouble now - if some misunderstanding happened because of this, it is solely my responsibility - and not from somebody else.
What has happened so far ? The text is imported now to English Wikiversity (which has GFDL): see Romance of the Three Kingdoms. I have started to translate into German (see here). I am keeping also the English + Chinese text. Please advise me, what would be the best way to proceed ? For me the place where the text stays is not relevant. If I can put it here, even better, because then I have probably faster contact with the translators, where we will profit from the interaction.
"First of all, is there a German edition of the text that is public domain?" -> not that I know of.
btw: We got already feedback: see here. My intentions are for the time being: to get more info about the (con)text for the reading group (which will start in the future) and read the text while translating more intensively. ----Erkan Yilmaz uses Chat (try) 23:12, 24 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
I'm not sure if I understand all of the issues. The translation which you currently see on English Wikisource is 99.9% my own. It is not copyrighted. If I understand GFDL correctly, I do not believe you need permission from anybody to use it. However, wouldn't it be better to base the German translation on the original Chinese? I'm not sure that a translation of a translation would be ideal. However, if you cannot find a suitable Chinese-German translator willing to take on such a huge task, I can sympathize. -- A-cai 23:28, 24 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
It is not clear that this translation is "not copyrighted". Unless otherwise specified it is copyright, and may only be copied/modified in accordance with the GFDL. To release it into the public domain, it would need to be tagged with {{PD-release}} after all contributors have agreed to that. John Vandenberg (chat) 23:46, 24 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
Hello A-cai, also thank you for your fast reply.
Unfortunately I can not speak Chinese :-( And since I saw this translation by you and this is a wikimedia foundation project, I tend to use this one more.
GFDL: usage (not translation) is no problem for other projects which use GFDL (like the English Wikiversity where it is imported now and which after chatting with John seems also a suitable place).
I had the idea to import it into German Wikisource or Wikiversity and translate it then there, but that would have caused probably some probs (because of permission so far not available).
On the other hand, if the material would stay in one place I could cooperate more with you (e.g. review the English translation - see my questions here about the "autumn moons" - you could also on a visit here see that there has changed something on the talk pages or in the pages itself and I could then get feedback by you and vice versa).
A-cai: would you be interested in some form of cooperation ? ----Erkan Yilmaz uses Chat (try) 23:57, 24 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
I'm happy to reply to questions that are posted here. I probably would not check the Wikiversity site all that often, so this talk place would be a better place to find me. As to your questions:
  • "autumn moons": around earth (in close distance) I just see one moon, so either it is a typo or a metaphor for something ? done
answer: Yes, this was a typo. I fixed it immediately after seeing your post. Thanks for pointing it out.
  • "green mountains": means perhaps that there are trees or other green plants blooming on mountains ?
answer: Correct, the implied meaning is that there are tree or plants on the mountain which makes it look green in color.
b. I also had the urge to translate it sometimes a little more different, e.g.
b1. "wie oft war die Abendsonne rot ?" -> "wie oft war die Abendsonne schon rot ?"
in English: "how many times has the setting sun been red?" -> "how many times has the setting sun already been red?"
answer: Ancient Chinese grammar does not have the same strict rules about past or present tense etc. The literal translation would be: "how many times evening sun red?" I don't know about German, but such a sentence is very awkward in English. Therefore, a translator must infer what the appropriate tense should be in the translation. I hope this explanation makes sense. In other words, the word "already" is not found in the original, but it is implied. Therefore, I would include it in my translation if it makes the German sound better. Just my personal opinion. As you know, translation is as much an art as it is a science.
b2. "gewöhnt wie sie sind" -> "gewöhnt wie sie es schon sind"
in English: "accustomed as they are" -> "accustomed as they are already"
But I sticked to the English text. Perhaps later in a second run this can be changed ?
answer: Again, if it sounds better in German with the "already" included, it does not really change the meaning, in my opinion.
c. Also I am not sure if here is missing something ?
"how many things from past and present have they laughed and talked about with each other?" -> "about how many things from past and present have they laughed and talked about with each other?"
answer: As a native English speaker, my original wording sounds more natural:
  1. how many things from past and present have they laughed and talked about with each other?"
However, I can understand how the structure of the English sentence might be confusing. Hopefully, I have answered your questions. If you need further clarification, feel free to make another post. -- A-cai 11:56, 25 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
A-cai - you are just amazing :-)
I didn't expect such an answer - thanks - your answers clarified things for me.
Now I am even more eager that my ordered books arrives :-) ----Erkan Yilmaz uses Chat (try) 12:08, 25 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
Erkan, I have a question for you. Did you say that the German Wikisource would not allow incomplete translations? If so, it sounds like a wrong-headed policy to me. At the rate I'm going, it may take me 20 years to translate all 120 chapters (unless I get some help!). If English Wikisource did not allow incomplete works, I would not have even attempted it. That would have been a shame, since I think that my translation, while not perfect, is a breakthrough with respect to integration of multimedia and hypertext (thanks to the wiki architecture). Feel free to tell them I said that. -- A-cai 12:18, 25 March 2008 (UTC)Reply
Yes, I have seen that you work good [2].
de.WS: it didn't trouble me at that point in time, because I wanted it as a step to get into the realm of the ROTK. I am sure later on in the project, people will be convinced to take it also into de.WS - hopefully. As said above it was in IRC where only 1 person at that time replied. ----Erkan Yilmaz uses Chat (try) 13:36, 25 March 2008 (UTC)Reply

import problems edit

Well, I had yesterday import problems (see Wikiversity Colloquium). So I guess I will have to wait for all to be imported at a later time :-( ----Erkan Yilmaz uses Chat (try) 11:26, 25 March 2008 (UTC)Reply

Maps edit

The size of the maps in each chapter has always been a challenge for me. My dream has always been to have a Google earth type map, where all of the place names are labeled on the map, and you can dynamically zoom in and out at your leisure. Unfortunately, Google earth/maps is not an option for Wiki. I think I hit on the best compromise so far with the introduction of overflow scrolling. With this change, the map will automatically cut off and add horizontal scrolling, if the screen is too small. If you are on an Ipad, Iphone or Ipod touch, you will need to use two fingers together to push the map around. To zoom in and out, you would still pinch and squeeze. On a regular laptop or PC, the scrollbars and zoom menu options will accomplish the same thing. If anyone is good at these sorts of technical issues and has an idea for how to make it even better, please let me know. Thanks. -- A-cai (talk) 02:18, 19 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Source of this text edit

@A-cai: First: awesome work on this translation!

But I also wonder what the source of this text that you are translating from is? Xover (talk) 08:26, 3 March 2024 (UTC)Reply