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But I'm looking for some clarification on what this means? I've tried translating it myself, but I've come up with something that looks quite unnatural, and wrong.

期待勿空, 思念勿空, 记得痛, "Don't be empty of expectations, don't be empty of thoughts, remember the pain

流年勿空, 情宿勿空, 记得梦. Don't be empty, don't be empty of love, remember the dream"

曹蜀的《勿空》

踏遍风华的城,找寻遗失的梦 一无所有的空,最懂坚持是什么, 期待勿空,思念勿空,记得痛 流年勿空,情宿勿空,记得梦 暮色坠入深渊,还黎明一一个诺言 情仇爱恨是个圆,少了谁都是残缺 期待勿空,思念勿空,记得痛 流年勿空,情宿勿空,记得梦 眼泪勿空,感动勿空,心与心厮守 站在路的终点,落花与烟火都成镜头 镜头中的你我,热烈却只剩下照片 期待勿空,思念勿空,记得痛

2 Answers 2

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A melancholy little poem!

When nothing is left, that is 空。 If something remains, that is 勿空。Thus I regard 勿空 here as "not gone, not absent"

踏遍风华的城,
Magnificent cities everywhere
找寻遗失的梦 一无所有的空,
seeking the lost dream of complete emptiness
最懂坚持是什么,
what do you finally understand (by your) perseverance?
期待勿空,思念勿空,
expectation is not gone, (the) longing is not gone,
记得痛 流年勿空,
my memories are sorrow (the) fleeting years are not gone,
情宿勿空,
old emotions not gone,
记得梦 暮色坠入深渊,
remembering the dream (as you) drop into the abyss of twilight,
还黎明一一个诺言 情仇爱恨是个圆,
returning with the dawn, each promising in turn passion or animosity, love or hate

少了谁都是残缺 期待勿空,思念勿空,
only very few are uninjured, expectation (is) not gone, (the) longing is not gone,
记得痛 流年勿空,情宿勿空,记得梦 眼泪勿空,感动勿空,
my memories are sorrow (the) fleeting years are not gone,
情宿勿空,
old emotions not gone,
记得梦 眼泪勿空,
remembering the dream (our) tears are not gone,
感动勿空,
(the) feeling (is) not gone,
心与心厮守 站在路的终点,
standing at the end of our road (our) hearts together,
落花与烟火都成镜头 镜头中的你我,
in the camera lens falling flowers and fireworks all become us,
热烈却只剩下照片 期待勿空,
only photos of our ardent love remain (but the) expectation (is) not gone
思念勿空,记得痛
(the) longing is not gone, my memories are sorrow.

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  • Correct. Here 勿 means "不(not)".
    – r13
    Aug 14, 2022 at 16:40
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Here is my translation, based on my interpretation as a native speaker. I twisted the literal translations to fit what I think the author wants to get across

I think the whole idea of 勿空 is just a poetic expression of how the protagonist still holding on to the feelings vividly, thus I spun that idea in different expressions throughout.

踏遍风华的城

Through the glamorous city

找寻遗失的梦 一无所有的空 (I interpret the idea of 一无所有 here as to say the protagonist will not be able to get their old love back)

I sought for a broken dream that shall never be

最懂坚持是什么,(I twisted 'know the reason of insistence' to the idea of 'the will goes on)

Yet, my will goes on

期待勿空,思念勿空,记得痛

The wish and yearning are ever-bright in my heart, for the pain remains

流年勿空,情宿勿空,记得梦 (the emotion in this context is clearly romance)

The fleeting years and the love once shared is ever-bright in my mind, for the dream remains

暮色坠入深渊,还黎明一一个诺言 (since the next sentence refers to the idea of a cycle/completeness, it seems to me the 深渊 here is talking about how twilight will give way to the night)

Twilight descents into the abyss of the night, a promise will be returned to the dawn

情仇爱恨是个圆,少了谁都是残缺 (here I chose to use the idiom of the coin to better convey this idea in English)

Love and hate are two sides of the same coin, for one cannot do without the other

期待勿空,思念勿空,记得痛

The wish and yearning are ever-bright in my heart, for the pain remains

流年勿空,情宿勿空,记得梦

The fleeting years and the love once shared are ever-bright in my mind, for the dream remains

眼泪勿空,感动勿空 (Here I think 'feeling' is not poetic enough so I turned it into 'heartbeats')

All the tears and heartbeats are ever-present in my soul...

心与心厮守 站在路的终点 (Since 厮守 generally refers to couples being together, I used the idea of 'one', and I twisted 'standing at the end of the road' to 'parted at last')

Yet, the two hearts that was one, parted at last

落花与烟火都成镜头 镜头中的你我,热烈却只剩下照片 (Here I don't think translating 落花 and 烟火 literally would be a good idea, the core idea here is that the couple no longer feels the same love like how they were in past time. I wanted to prioritise delivering the idea)

The fire in our eyes, ingrained in the frames of a life long-past, is nowhere to be found

期待勿空,思念勿空,记得痛 (Slightly change the translation here for the ending)

My wish and yearning shall go on, for this pain will never end.

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