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Discover Language Diversity on International Translation Day

SEP . 30 2020

International Translation Day is meant as an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security.

At Peking University (PKU), we also celebrate International Translation Day to bridge different cultures among various diverse groups within the PKU community. We invited 7 Pekingers to share with each other a well-known proverb of their native language.

Mkandawire Jimmy Billy

Nationality: Zambia
Native Language: Icibemba
Undergraduate student at PKU’s Yuanpei College

Good opportunity favors the active man.

“I chose this Bemba proverb because it conveys a message that many youths today have taken into consideration. We do not have had to wait for opportunity to come knocking at our doors, we should instead stay active and search for opportunities around us, for opportunity favors the bold.”
- Mkandawire Jimmy Billy
Michael Gritzbach
Nationality: Germany
Native Language: German
PKU Yenching Academy

Pride comes before the fall.

“It seems to link well with the traditional philosophy of Chinese people to not become arrogant and rather value understatement when being successful, which we can find in many previous leaders like Deng Xiaoping during China's rise to success. Furthermore, it is currently used by people in Germany to remind the public that just because we got better through the first part of COVID-19 than some of our friends abroad, it does not mean that we should overestimate our abilities or relax on this success or we will fall even harder in a second wave later this year.”
- Michael Gritzbach

Simran Preet Kaur
Nationality: India
Native Language: Hindi
PKU Alumna

Your destiny
does not depend on the lines of your hands,
because people who do not have hands
also have a destiny.

“I chose this proverb because I feel this is still still relevant in today's world. Some people work so hard and others just wait to get lucky. Many a times, this latter group also looks at the former and thinks they also got lucky in life. They don't realize how hard these people had to work to reach where they are.”
- Simran Preet Kaur

Regina Kovacs
Nationality: Hungary
Native Language: Hungarian
Undergraduate student from PKU’s School of International Studies

Lingering in this place,
there's nothing that makes me dissolve into tears:
I arrived here too early
but she arrived too late.

“Ady Endre is one of the greatest Hungarian poet of the 20th century. After reading his poem "I came too early" (Korán jöttem ide), it became my favorite poem, so I decided to translate the last verse. In this verse he shows his love and how much he misses his lover, who lives in Paris and can’t be with him. At the same time, he expresses that he was born in a wrong era and criticizes the progress of Hungary in the 20th century.”
- Regina Kovacs

Alexandra Pozhidaeva
Nationality: Russia
Native Language: Russian
Master's student from PKU's School of Journalism and Communication

Eyes are afraid,
but hands are doing the job
(you never know what you are capable of till you try it)

“We need to face challenges ahead of us and try out new things since we are young. I choose this proveb to share becasue I hope every Pekingers can overcome obsticles whilst chasing dreams.”
- Alexandra Pozhidaeva

Ren Shuanglan
Nationality: China
Native Language: Chinese
Undergraduate student at PKU’s Department of History

Empty vessels make the most noise.

“This proverb means that a man with great power, knowledge or some other positive qualities remains modest, while shallow people always like to boast themselves. I share this sentence to encourage foreign friends and myself that we should maintain modesty, constantly accumulate our own knowledge, and improve our abilities.”
- Ren Shuanglan

Mahedi Hassan Sunny

Nationality: Bangladesh
Native Language: Bengali
Undergraduate student at PKU’s Yuanpei College

A friend in need is a friend in deed.

“In the very beginning of 2020, people were afraid and panicked when the COVID-19 outbreak emerged in China. At that very critical moment, a lot of people left China but I didn’t. I was in China before the pandemic and enjoyed my life here, so I decided that I would stay in China and support China to fight the pandemic. I believed China would make COVID-19 under control within a very short period of time, and now the truth speaks. I wrote this proverb based on this experience. If you believe in your friends, you stay with them when they have a hard time, and then you are the true friend to them, and vice versa, so no matter what, keep having faith in your friends and stay with them.”
- Mahedi Hassan Sunny

What is the proverb that you would share with us?

Source: PKU (WeChat Official Account)