1

I'm trying to quip

My package went to Nanjing, but I'm in Beijing; that's the complete opposite Jing.

For it to be funny in English, the reader would have to know that 京 in Nanjing 南京 and Beijing 北京 is the same, and the joke is a play on how 南 and 北 are opposites.

Here's my attempt at writing it, which is a fairly literal translation:

我的快递发到了南京,但是我在北京。那儿是完全相反的“京”。

It's meant to be a joke. However, I'm uncomfortable with the atypical grammar here. I'm not sure it's even possible to express this in Chinese.

Question: Is it possible to quip "My package went to Nanjing, but I'm in Beijing; that's the complete opposite Jing"?

  • 这让我想起一名专门翻译国家文稿的翻译员讲过的一些翻译难点,其中就有一句毛主席说过的,"(大概讲的是革命的必然性)就算没有我毛泽东,也还坐有毛泽西。"这个就特别难翻译。当然,他也没讲具体是怎么翻译的。 – Zhang Nov 21 at 2:25
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In speech, you can say: 我人在'北'京,快递却发到了'南'京.

It would add some joking effect when you put a bit emphasis on 北 and 南.

You don't have to say they are opposite literally. Your audience would seize that from your tone, which is the whole point of the joke.

2

我的包裹发到了南京,但是我人在北京,一个完全相反的「京」!
我的包裹发到了南京,但是我人在北京,怎么没发到东京?
我人在北京,但是我的包裹却偏偏背道而驰,跑到南京去了!
我人在北京,但是我的包裹却和我渐行渐远,往南京去了!

  • 1
    I like the second one: 我的包裹发到了南京,但是我人在北京,怎么没发到东京? – sylvia Nov 19 at 15:08
  • @Sylvia While this is funny, you will be surprised on how many Staffs taking the joke seriously with your package actually ends up in Tokyo – Alex Nov 19 at 17:38
  • @Alex right, it depends on the context whether to use it or not... – sylvia Nov 19 at 17:50
  • @sylvia Sorry, I missed a in the first sentence. – 賈可 Jacky Nov 20 at 2:18
  • @Alex Sorry, I missed a in the first sentence. – 賈可 Jacky Nov 20 at 2:18
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Your translation is accurate, but the point is that the original joke isn't funny, thus making the translation strange.

Advice 1:

Better not state both 北京 & 南京.

快递投给了南京,跟我在的京城反了个边。

Advice 2:

Better not play on 南 & 北.

我人在北京,快递给发了南京,真是中南海的文件发了总统府。

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My package went to Nanjing, but I'm in Beijing; that's the complete opposite Jing.
我的包裹去了南京,但我在北京,这是两个完全反方向的京!

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