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I have come across the song 爱人跟人走 (lyrics here). I'll give a complete translation attempt of this Hokkien song:

It's already 3 years since you left me;
Have you gone away without [ever] turning back?
[This] really is unexpected.
My heart is like a hollow turnip.

I couldn't imagine, I couldn't imagine
You would go away with someone else.
You didn't care for me, you didn't care for me,
Who had so deep feelings [for you].

Looking unrestrained was of no effect.
Someone's youth was very irritating.
Ah… cruel person,
I hate that you hate old people.
With you I will always…
If the field has no ditch, the water won't flow.

As you can guess, the problematic part is:

外表漂泊無捨效
誤人青春上可惱
啊…無情的人
恨你是恨到老
永遠來甲你
田無溝水無流

First of all, from searching my reference I have guessed 漂泊 should be in fact 飄撇 (飘撇), which the reference "translates" to 潇洒,帅气,洒脱, and says is often used to describe young males; also, since the subtitles in the video have BO LANG and the characters suggest gōo lâng, I found 某人 is pronounced bóo-lâng. I also know, from the reference, that is often used as 最…地, and since the subtitles here spell it as , which I have seen for this usage of the word, I guessed it might be the right translation. Otherwise it may be translated to Someone in their youth was irritating. Anyway I think this refers to the rén with which (the àirén) has gone away. Finally, is often used to spell , a word which the reference spells and says means (object particle) or gēn, , or maybe other meanings I don't remember. With these observations, I came up with the above translation. Now any advice on the other part of the translation is very welcome, as is a transliteration of this with the reference's system. The questions anyway are:

  1. Are the spelling corrections correct?
  2. Is the translation of the reported part correct?
  3. How does the final proverb-like phrase fit into the song, and connect to the line above which is incomplete as it lacks a verb?

Update: The following points sum up what @GeorgeChen said in the comments:

  1. 恨你是很到老 is «I'll hate you till I'm old» or, more literally, «My hating you is hating till I get old»;
  2. in Mandarin is waste; so the phrase in Mandarin would mean Wasting someone's youth is very annoying; my reference, however, only lists 差错, which is a noun use and therefore not the right one here, and 妨害、耽擱、拖累 as translations; tuolei is dragging like ball and chain, therefore decidedly not right here; fanghai means to harm, and could be right here; or dange, to delay; so we shall wait someone who knows Hokkien to tell us which is right; on my side, I'll take waste, though it's not listed in my reference;
  3. 永远来甲你 makes no sense in Mandarin, but probably does in HOkkien; indeed, kah or ka are prepositions in Hokkien meaning 把、跟 and 到,既然,哪会 in reverse order; so would 永远来跟你 make sense?
  4. The proverb is translated right, but how does it fit in the song?

So I'm left with the following questions:

  1. WHich translation is correct for ?
  2. How do I fit the proverb in the song?
  3. How do I translate (and possibly complete) that apparently nonsensical phrase of point 3 above?
  4. Are the spelling changes I suggested "right", meaning that I correctly recognized the words used in the song?
  • I guess we can consider this song as a form of poetry, which is why I tagged this question poetry. – MickG Sep 12 '14 at 9:20
  • For those who are willing to finish the translation, the reference spells as , as , 磅心 as 蓬心, as (or rather, the word in the song which is distinct from gēn but has the same meaning), the word spelt as . Also, 無彩 means kěxì or 徒然 or 浪費, so that line should translate to In vain did I, in vain did I / Have such deep feelings. – MickG Sep 12 '14 at 9:32
  • Not correct. 恨你是恨到老 is wrong. It means "hate you forever(untill I'm old)." 誤人青春上可惱 definitely missed the mark, it roughly means "wasting people's youth is annoying." 永遠來甲你 makes no sense. The last proverb is fine. – George Chen Sep 12 '14 at 14:35
  • Uh-huh OK. So = to waste, and 人青春 is implying a de between rén and qīngchūn, right? As for the other phrase I guess there is Hokkien at work. Looking up gives meanings jìrán, dào and zěnme huì / nǎhuì. Do you speak Hokkien? – MickG Sep 12 '14 at 15:29
  • Sorry, I don't speak Hokkien. Disregard my comment. – George Chen Sep 12 '14 at 15:35
5

愛人跟人走
my love has gone with someone else

離開已經三年後  
It's already 3 years since you left me;
你煞有去無回頭
you gone away without turning back
真是乎人想抹到
[This] really is unexpected.
心肝親像磅心的菜頭
My heart is like a broken radish

想抹到想抹到
I couldn't imagine, I couldn't imagine
你會去跟人走
You would go away with someone else.
無彩我無彩我
You didn't care for me, you didn't care for me,
感情用這厚
Who had so deep feelings [for you].
外表漂泊無捨效
Looking handsome, natural and unrestrained was of no effect.
誤人青春上可惱
wasting people's youth is the most annoying.

啊無情的人
Ah… cruel person,
恨你是恨到老
hate you forever(until I'm old, or until death).
永遠來甲你
With you I will never…
田無溝水無流
across the line to each other (have a relationship)

word meanings and notes:

無彩:

無彩: means "in vain", "uselessly",  
the translation above is **meaning translation**,  
because he don't care about me, so whatever I do, is useless
the **direct translation** is:
無彩我無彩我
waste my, waste my
感情用這厚
so deep feelings [for you].

煞:

煞 also means "surprisingly"
你煞有去無回頭
you gone away surprisingly without turning back

田無溝水無流:

direct translation ( or literal translation )is:

If the field has no ditch, the water won't flow.

metaphor explaining:

"the field" is like " I ", "the water" is like " you (or he, the one who left her)".
ditch, in OALD8, the english meaning is:
a long channel dug at the side of a field or road, to hold or take away water
so, "the ditch" is like "the way to contact me"
"flow" is like "talk to me or touch me"
so, the whole sentence is:
if I don't allow you to contact me, you won't have any chance to talk to me or touch me.

useful online dictionary:

http://twblg.dict.edu.tw/holodict_new/index.html

http://twblg.dict.edu.tw/holodict_new/result_detail.jsp?n_no=9721&curpage=1&sample=%E7%85%9E&radiobutton=1&querytarget=1&limit=20&pagenum=1&rowcount=13

  • OK. But doesn't bô-tshái mean kěxì or in vain? And isn't suah-ū the same as 哪有, which means how did you…?? Also, until has one l. till has two. – MickG Sep 14 '14 at 8:21
  • 1
    I have edited the anwser again. And thank you for correcting my english. – papapasan Sep 14 '14 at 13:32
  • You are welcome. I'd suggest block quotes rather than preformatted text for the notes on the words. What does 田無溝水無流 mean exactly? I mean, it's used in some metaphorical way, since the literal meaning is (isn't it?) the one I stated in the question. So what does it mean in this "metaphorical" sense? – MickG Sep 14 '14 at 13:42
  • 1
    I have edited the anwser again. your literal meaning is right. and I've added metaphor explaining. and I've learned something new about "stackexchange" from you. – papapasan Sep 14 '14 at 15:01

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