Nyin khiung oi hen ngai tsang hiau chut-theu
Phin-sii nu-lit nyin he ngo m seu
Won ka thai-se yit thai chiu
Loi fu-tam he hau seu
Tsau-sin yu am tso sam ki sip khiung
Ngai tau pot-phiang kut-theu thung yiu
Tso tau siu
Han kiang ngo-si lau-pho wuk yiu chiu
Tso tau hon liu
Tsiu-sii oi tong cia khau lau phen-yiu
Nyien-khiang oi sit-khu tso-sii mok pha siu
Chut-theu ke nyit-tsii han yu
When poverty allows me, I will succeed
People who work hard in common times are not scarce in hunger
The whole family, young and old people, are a big tree
And holding it up is rather sad (?)
In the morning from when it's still dark I make clothes in the tens.
If I fall ill and my bones hurt, I still
Work till I'm thin
I still fear I'll starve to death and my wife abd my house will be poor again
I work till my sweat flows
I often have to rely on old friends for borrowing [stuff]
When you're young you must suffer work and not be afraid of disgrace
There will still be a day of success
The above is my character approximation, transliteration, and translation attempt for a Hakka song by Zhang Shaolin. I am unsure about the following:
- Translating 愁 as sad is the only option given the character, but I would expect something more like "hard, difficult" than "sad"; is that correct, or is there another seu/siu which fits best? Or maybe 楸 is the wrong character?
- Is my reading of 早晨由暗做杉几十穷 correct?
- That 当借 feels a bit like it should be a single verb, but I can't find it; is my translation fine?
Any other inputs are of course welcome.
The first line is extremely prone to misinterpretation, because:
- 人穷 is reported by Minhakka… um, seems to be reported by Minhakka as "poverty", the culprit being «人窮起盗心», translated to «poverty leads to thievery» when a more literal (i.e. structure-reflecting) translation is «if a man is poor he will grow a thief's heart»;
- 肯 also means "allow";
- The sound "ngai" is, in my mind, automatically matched to the pronoun "ngâi", meaning "I"; however, it is also the verb 捱, meaning "to endure, to suffer".
So after clearing up point 1, only one option is left:
人穷爱肯捱正晓出头 | If a man is poor, only when he is willing to endure hardships will he succeed
With point 1 not cleared, the obvious interpretation is what I gave at the beginning. If we change the interpretation of 肯捱 without clearing up point 1, we end up with:
Only when (正) [I] will (爱) be willing (肯) to endure (捱) [my] poverty (人穷) can (晓) [I] succeed (出头).