Chinese Dream: Flying nine days

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From Fangyi Cheng:


Zhōngguó mèng fēi jiǔtiān 中国梦飞九天
("China's Dream soars beyond the highest heaven")

The Chinglish translation on the sign is from Baidu Fanyi or Bing Translator.

tiān 天 has a multiplicity of meanings: day, sky, heaven(s), God. weather, nature, season, celestial, overhead.

Here jiǔtiān 九天 means not "nine days", but "the Ninth Heaven; the highest of heavens; the empyrean".

In the context of the PRC space program, tiān 天 may be thought of as "skies" or even "outer space".

Thus, "The Chinese dream (or: China's dream) soars into (or: beyond) the skies (or: into outer space)."

Other possibilities: "China's dream soars beyond the skies / heavens / highest heaven / empyrean."

[Thanks to Pan Da'an and John Rohsenow]

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4 Comments »

  1. Ed Connelly said,

    April 5, 2014 @ 6:04 pm

    This the problem with machine translations. They
    are even worse when it comes to Classical Chinese.

  2. Victor Mair said,

    April 5, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

    Another instance in support of the correct translation of 九天:

    =====

    Máo Zédōng: “Kě shàng jiǔtiān lǎn yuè, kě xià wǔyáng zhuō biē.

    毛泽东: “可上九天揽月,可下五洋捉鳖。

    "[I] can ascend to the empyrean to take hold of the moon, can descend into the five oceans to grasp the turtle"

    =====

  3. Graeme said,

    April 6, 2014 @ 1:59 am

    Just don't mention MH370 in this context.

  4. GeorgeW said,

    April 6, 2014 @ 7:55 am

    @Graeme: Please tell CNN. Please! This may be the last possible relationship to the flight that has not been exploited ad nauseam.

    (Sorry for the digression, but when I saw the post, this was what came to my mind as well.)

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