Calligraphy translation

Other Chinese or Japanese calligraphy issues that does not seem to fit any of the categories above.
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Calligraphy translation

Post by Customer » Mar 8, 2011 1:43 pm

good morning. hope this email finds you well.

i am trying to get a couple poems translated for a school project. i have attached the links below. i would also like to have the individual characters translated.


is this something you can help me with? if not, can you please refer me to someone?

i look forward to hearing from you. thank you.


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Post by Gary » Mar 8, 2011 1:57 pm

These are written in ancient zhuanshu (xiao zhuan) known in English as "seal script". This writing dates back to hundreds of years before Christ. It's kind of the Chinese version of Egyptian Hieroglyphics (actually, the generation before these, known as "bronze script" really looked like pictures of the things they represented). The term hieroglyphics technically does not apply to the calligraphy you are presenting. If I don't say that, some scholar will see this and correct me.

It takes hours to decipher such writings in zhuanshu. The form of the characters is just so different from modern Chinese, that even if you are fluent in Chinese, you have to look up more than half the characters individually in a special zhuan character dictionary.

The resulting grammar will probably be in ancient Chinese (like "Low English" or "Old English" of the period influenced by Germanic and Anglo-Saxon tongues). This must be approximated into modern Chinese and then translated into English for you.

Best case scenario, these are 3-hour projects for each one. At $20 per hour for the translator's time, that's $60 each.

I don't want to charge you that amount, but that's my cost. In fact, my translators are booked up at the moment, so I honestly don't want the work. I'm just telling you all of this for a bit of education and perhaps to convince you to find an alternative course of action.

Sorry for the tough news on this.

Here's a primer on seal script information and translation for you: ... php?t=3734


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Post by potato » Feb 29, 2012 12:04 am

Hey,the second poem reads thus:


Warning! I'm just a college freshman, so my translation might be slightly off by a couple of words. And I did this in a couple of minutes :P

hint: the calligrapher has very helpfully included the poem in a much more readable script on the left margin (yes, those tiny characters).