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Charlatan: If you are REALLY curious about the meanings of character names, read below. Might be a little LONG. No spoiler.
First of all, we should know that Chinese is a tonal language, while English assigns stress to one syllable of every word. Tone is one of the distinctive features of standard Chinese(Mandarin). If we neglect the four tones in the transcription of Chinese names, we may lose/misunderstand informations, sometimes are quite important. Just look at these names: Chén Guǒ(Boss), Wèi Chēn(God of shamelessness), and Wǔ Chén(Captain of Team Everlasting). We’ve got three “Chen”s here but they don’t share the same tone. Yep, there are still two of them alike, but if we write them down in ideogram, you’ll see that they are completely different(of course their meaning varies). Now we’re at around Chapter 800, as a Chinese fan who has run through the whole novel four times, if you already find it hard remembering Chinese names, well, keep working, cuz still loads of new names ahead.
I mentioned this point just because I saw a comment saying their names are similar. In fact, not at all😂.
Second, Chinese is a high-density language, it means it carries more information per syllable than English, besides, Chinese has an enormous amount of so called set phrases(Chinese idioms) which are in general consist of only 4 ideograms each, but can tell a whole story!(that’s an insane information density). For the fluency of reading, it’s not possible to translate their names accurately. The translator has had to trim.
Butterfly Blu is a vey talented writer, his works are written with much literary skill, as well as naming. We know that names can convey something, and almost every author would use this technic. For instance, in the Beggar’s Opera of John Gay, we have Lockit, Macheath, Peachum, etc. Without knowing the meaning of the names, it will definitely be a great loss.
So, enough talk, let’s get started.
 叶修[Yè Xiū], MC
叶秋[Yè Qiū], the younger brother
In Asian culture, if we are brothers, our names are usually some how similar, as if to demonstrate that we are brothers. It’s kinda like the rhetorical figure anaphora😄
another example will be more obvious:
苏沐橙[Sū Mù Chéng]
苏沐秋[Sū Mù Qiū]
(Sū is their family name, not Sū Mù.)
They doesn’t need to rhyme, but “anaphora”.
Here we can see 叶秋 and 苏沐秋 have a character in common—the last character [Qiū], means autumn. This is merely a coincidence.But in the case of “One Autumn Leaf” is not.
*I’ll write word-for-word translation between【】
一叶之秋[yí yè zhī qiū]【One Leaf ’s Autumn】
The second and the last character are exactly the name of Yè Qiū. Or, it might be a combination of Yè Xiū and Sū Mù Qiū.
We know that it’s Sū Mù Chéng who picked this name for YX. She knows YX’s real name from the very beginning, so maybe she wished that they could fight together in the Glory.
And, “One Autumn Leaf” is a mistranslation, cuz the literal translation should be “The autumn of one leaf”, “one leaf” is actually an attribute of the word “autumn”. We shift the order, and the artistic conception changes.
P.S.Chinese is an isolating(analytic) language, means it plays with word order, and lacks inflections in morphology. That’s one of the reasons why it has such a high information density.
BUT! When Sū Mù Chéng picked this name, she made a typing error. She wanted to type “一叶知秋”[yí yè zhī qiū],the pronunciation is exactly the same as “一叶之秋”[yí yè zhī qiū], but you already found that the third character has changed. The third character “知” here means “know, foresee”, so the whole meaning changed completely, because “One Leaf ’s Autumn” is a noun phrase whilst the one with “know” is a sentence which means “From a falling leave we can tell this year/my life(here’s a pun) is coming to an end.” 【One leaf heralds autumn】This is precisely the set-phrase I mentioned above.
Sū Mù Chéng preferred a poetic name, but her fingers slipped. So here we have 【One Leaf ’s Autumn】instead of 【One leaf heralds autumn】. Sad story.
What about “Lord Grim”? Another mistranslation!
君莫笑[jūn mò xiào]【you don’t laugh】
“Lord” in this context is the second person imperative when you address sb in a very respect way, kinda like “my lord” in English, but a little different. The sentence means “please don’t laugh”. It comes from a verse of a poetry of Tang Dynasty. The whole poetry is:
(There are two translating versions)
Grapewine I would like to taste,
have to go yet I would crave.
Thou dost not tease drunk soldiers of all,
Long ago few come back from war.
Exquisite wine in cups that glitter at night,
The pipa(a Chinese instrument) playing on horseback urges us to drink.
Laugh not if we lie drunk on the battlefield.
Since ancient times how many have ever returned from campaigns afar?
So “君莫笑[jūn mò xiào]【you don’t laugh】”are the last three words of the third verse. What the hell is “Lord Grim”?😂
When we see this name, we can perceive the solemn and stirring shadings, when YX just got kicked out of EE then bring out a Card with this name. And thinking about the pro league is just like a battle field, only very few of the players could enter the pro circle and those who win the cup are even fewer.
Nevertheless, we can not ask more, cuz as the translator of the Anime of TKA said, it’s a pity that we cannot make subtitles very much “faithful”, the cross-culture translation is so hard. I bet some of you has already blamed that the English subtitles just flying through the screen and you can not catch up with them.
If anyone is interested in the true meaning of their names(not only for characters but also the names of guilds are so beautiful), please give me a thumb or reply in the comment, to let me know if it’s worthy to continue.
btw, My major is foreign languages and literature. I major in German and live in Italy currently. So please forgive my low Englisch level.😂The King's Avatar
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