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Some time ago, I bumped into this song called 有一种爱叫做放手. Full lyrics with translation below. Any comments are welcome. What I was wondering is: at a certain point near the start, after an if-clause and a question, we have the line:

候鸟失去了南方 | Migrating birds have lost the south.

All I can tell about this sentence is that it means these migrating birds can no longer find their way on their migrations. How is this linked to the rest of the song? I mean, it starts off talking about how the girl has grown tired of the affair with the singer, then it goes on talking about that, and saying they should split up, and in the middle, this bird line. Sounds totally disconnected from the rest of the song to me… is it really? Also, should I interpret it as a question despite the absence of the interrogative particle 吗?

如果两个人的天堂 | If the heaven of us two
像是温馨的墙 | Like a warm wall
囚禁你的梦想 | Is imprisoning your dreams,
幸福是否像是一扇铁窗 | Has happiness become like a barred window (i.e. a prison)?
候鸟失去了南方 | The migrating birds have lost the south.

如果你对天空向往 | If you long for the sky,
渴望一双翅膀 | Crave for a pair of wings
放手让你飞翔 | And splitting up would make you fly,
你的羽翼不该伴随玫瑰 | Your wings should not, like roses
听从凋谢的时光 | Follow a time of withering.

浪漫如果变成了牵绊 | If [our] romance has become a yoke,
我愿为你选择回到孤单 | I will choose to go back to solitude for you.
缠绵如果变成了锁链 | If your bond has become a chain,
抛开诺言 | [I will choose to] break my promise.

有一种爱叫做放手 | A kind of love is called splitting up,
为爱放弃天长地久 | Leaving eternity for love.
我们相守若让你付出所有 | If our protecting each other makes you lose everything,
让真爱带我走 | Let true love take me away.
有一种爱叫做放手 | A kind of love is called splitting up,
为爱结束天长地久 | Ending eternity for love.
我的离去若让你拥有所有 | If my leaving makes you have everything,
让真爱带我走 说分手 | Let true love take me away    [and make me] say we split up.

如果两个人的天堂 | If the heaven of us two
像是温馨的墙 | Like a warm wall
囚禁你的梦想 | Is imprisoning your dreams,
幸福是否像是一扇铁窗 | Has happiness become like a barred window (i.e. a prison)?
候鸟失去了南方 | The migrating birds have lost the south.

如果你对天空向往 | If you long for the sky,
渴望一双翅膀 | Crave for a pair of wings
放手让你飞翔 | And splitting up would make you fly,
你的羽翼不该伴随玫瑰 | Your wings should not, like roses
听从凋谢的时光 | Follow a time of withering.

浪漫如果变成了牵绊 | If [our] romance has become a yoke,
我愿为你选择回到孤单 | I will choose to go back to solitude for you.
缠绵如果变成了锁链 | If your bond has become a chain,
抛开诺言 | [I will choose to] break my promise.

有一种爱叫做放手 | A kind of love is called splitting up,
为爱放弃天长地久 | Leaving eternity for love.
我们相守若让你付出所有 | If our protecting each other makes you lose everything,
让真爱带我走 | Let true love take me away.
有一种爱叫做放手 | A kind of love is called splitting up,
为爱结束天长地久 | Ending eternity for love.
我的离去若让你拥有所有 | If my leaving makes you have everything,
让真爱带我走 | Let true love take me away.

为了你失去你 | Losing you for you,
狠心扮演伤害你 | Heartlessly pretending to hurt you.
为了你离开你 | Leaving you for you,
永远不分的离去 | A breakup that we will never undo.

有一种爱叫做放手 | A kind of love is called splitting up,
为爱放弃天长地久 | Leaving eternity for love.
我们相守若让你付出所有 | If our protecting each other makes you lose everything,
让真爱带我走 | Let true love take me away.
有一种爱叫做放手 | A kind of love is called splitting up,
为爱结束天长地久 | Ending eternity for love.
我的离去若让你拥有所有 | If my leaving makes you have everything,
让真爱带我走 说分手 | Let true love take me away    [and make me] say we split up.

Note: the title is 有一种爱叫做放手 | Yôu yī zhông ài jiàozuò fàngshôu | A kind of love is called splitting up.

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    那一句是指候鳥失去了去溫暖南方的自由 – vuluvsa Feb 2 '17 at 10:37
  • "放手"用 relinquish 或 let go 比較適合。 – vuluvsa Feb 5 '17 at 2:01
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well as you can see at 如果两个人的天堂, the lyric tell us that there are a couple, 像是温馨的墙 tell us that the man/girl feel that their love like just like a wall, 囚禁你的梦想 imprison the his girlfriend / her boyfriend dream, 幸福是否像是一扇铁窗 then he begin to think, is this happiness has become a barred window that imprison the dream, 候鸟失去了南方 just like group of bird need/want to migrate to south, but they can't.

It's a very interesting metaphore, bird are usually migrate to the south when north become cold, it is something they need to do. In this song the writer illustrate that dream is something that as important as bird need to migrate. But when we has somebody that we love, somehow that love is stronger than the dream that we need to pursue. So the writer say this love just like prison that imprison us from pursue our dream.

Hope that explain your question, this is a very good song, I heard it once years ago, and what a surprise i can hear it again when i open your question.

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    Compare French manquer à (literally "to be missing at", idiomatically "to be missed from", used often where English would directly use "to miss"). The use of 失去 is similar here. – Michaelyus Feb 2 '17 at 23:56
  • I uploaded an English version to Youtube. Thought you might like it :). – MickG Jun 30 '17 at 10:55
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In Chinese poems or lyrics, it uses a lot of metaphors and imply. If you read the entire first paragraph of the lyrics, it actually talked about two contrast feelings and an if .. then situation. Also when translating poem or lyrics, one must fully understand metaphor (and the context) and often can't translate literally. For example, 温馨 means warm, but also mean pleasant, 囚禁 in general means imprison, but here it means capture or encapsulate. It actually imply a room where the walls fill with full of good dreams and memories, and the barred window like a trap, 候鸟失去了南方 is simply means that migrating birds lost its sanctuaries in the south, implying that there is no where to go, or there is lack of direction. So here is my translation for the first paragraph:

如果两个人的天堂 | If the heaven of two
像是温馨的墙 | like pleasant walls
囚禁你的梦想 | that captured your dreams,
幸福是否像是一扇铁窗 | (Then) is happiness like a trap behind a barred window?
候鸟失去了南方 | (or) migrating birds lost its south sanctuaries?
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you'd better say this :The migrating birds have lost their homeland.南方 in this song mains warm place. it more likes homeland.

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I ended up translating the whole song as:

If the heaven that we lived in,
Acting like a warm wall,
Is blocking all your dreams now,
Has our happiness become a prison
Whence migrating birds can't flee?

If you're longing for the sky
And craving for two wings
And could fly if you left me,
Then you shouldn't let your wings, like roses,
See the time they wither off.

If our romance now just keeps you tied,
I will choose my loneliness for you, love.
If our bond has now become a chain,
I'll break my promise.

There's a kind of love called parting,
Leaving endless things for true love.
If my being with you makes you lose it all,
Let true love make me leave.
There's a kind of love called parting,
Stopping endless things for true love.
If my breaking with you makes you have it all,
Let true love make me leave.

So now you can sing this in English if you want :). I uploaded it Chinese-English-Chinese to Youtube just now.

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