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Three steps to translate a Chinese poem into English
Below are Chinese poem in Chinese phonetic symbols (Pinyin)
Jiang Nan Ke Cai Lian
Lian ye he tian tian
Yu xi lian ye jian
yu xi lian ye dong
yu xi lian ye xi
yu xi lian ye Nan
yu xi lian ye bei
Step 1: Word by word translation
River south can pick lotus lotus
leaves how drifting drifting
fish sport lotus leaves middle
fish sport lotus leaves east
fish sport lotus leaves west
fish sport lotus leaves south
fish sport lotus leaves north
Step 2: Phrasing and changing word order
Here we make some improvements, connect words and change word order into readable sentences, then make a poem in English:
South of the river: to pluck lotus lotus
Lotus leaves drift, drift.
Fish sport, midst of lotus leaves;
Fish sport, east of lotus leaves.
Fish sport, west of lotus leaves.
Fish sport, south of lotus leaves.
Fish sport, north of lotus leaves.
Step 3: Rephrasing and finalising
Now we can do much more about this ancient poem, rewrite it to suit English language customs:
South of the river is the place to gather lotus,
Where among teeming leaves
Fish dart and play!
North and south,
East and west,
Between the lotus leaves they dart and play!