Samstag, 8. Februar 2014

Translator's Rant

So I'm very busy these days. Mainly because I was hired as a translator for

actual screenshot I took three minutes ago and then edited in MS Paint for three minutes
It's a great website with an astonishing variety of videos, suitable for beginners to 7d players (I reckon that even pros watch them). It's run by (relatively young and) active pros who are up-to-date about the latest Go fashions.

As you can see, everything is in Chinese. And I happen to speak Chinese. But I'm sure most of you don't.

That's why they asked me and a few others to translate a few videos to English, for the English WeiqiTV due to launch in March! It won't be completely free, but I think 0.74€ (1$ as of today) is reasonable for a video or a set of videos. And please check the free sample videos:) (in March).

By the way, WeiqiTV is looking for apt translators! Should be fluent in Chinese and written English and around Dan-level in Go.

But you know, Chinese and English aren't in the same family of languages. (A part of my university studies is linguistics, so I should kind of know what I'm writing about.) Like not even similar.

But according to the guy whose name I forgot, everything that can be expressed can be expressed in any language. I found that this does not always apply to translations of Go videos.
There is another dude (or was it two dudes? I don't remember:p) who said that the way you think is determined by your language. People who grow up with different languages think in different concepts. I do come across this sometimes in those videos.
Anyways, those are the two extreme positions on this issue. I think the truth is surely, as almost always (aah, an alliteration), somewhere in the middle. (Well, except darwinism vs. creationism.) And I'm sure someone has already thought of this and given it a scientific name. I hope my university teachers won't come across this blog.

So, when I translate from Chinese to English, most of the time it goes smoothly (according to the first dude's theory). But I come across several issues from time to time. Sure, there is always a way to paraphrase something, but there are aspects that cannot be translated accurately. Partly because I see to it that the English sentences are about as long as what they say in the videos. If I translate a Chinese phrase of 4 syllables to 3 English sentences, the subtitles won't be able to keep up with the speech.
Therefore, to a certain extent, a translation also includes an interpretation by the me, the translator. Which is why a certain knowledge in Go is required so that the interpretation of the translator doesn't differ too much from view of the dude talking in the video.

Firstly, the Go moves should be named correctly, which is not always as obvious as you might think.
Then what does the commentator think about these moves? Four-syllabic idioms happen to be a common way to express ideas with a poetic touch. Translating those sometimes sounds extremely stupid or over the top. But I usually find my way around them.

I planned to rant some more about Chinese grammar, but I realised that it might not be interesting to read, and I don't know it so well. (This is a common occurrence among native speakers in any language; if you want some grammar explained, from my experience it's usually safer to ask someone who's been learning that language. I think I speak Chinese like a 7-years-old kid who is abnormally versed in Go jargon.)

I shall rant about Go jargon instead.
First of all, let's take a moment to appreciate the geography of a Go board.

This tengen-centric view of the Go board defines various word for the move in the following diagram, in relation to the circumstances.

I will use this move to complain about the lack of English Go vocabulary. 
(Please note that my knowledge of English Go terms comes from KGS kibitz and Go books, no scientific background whatsoever. Also I'm sure this list is not complete.)

The word extend/extension is one of the most ambiguous translations of Chinese Go terms. (Also Japanese and, probably, Korean, but I know Chinese the best, so...:p) As a result, certain concepts of Go are not available for anglophone Go players (see second theory I mentioned).

So here are some moves that, dieu merci, have different names in English:

 Block, 檔
Push (see below)

Iron pillar 鐵釘
Etc. etc. etc.

Chances are you mistakenly call some of these "extend" or "nobi" anyway. According to Ferdinand de Saussure (I know his name because he was mentioned in like 8 of my classes), a sign, i.e. in our case the names we give Go moves, is composed of a signifiant and a signifié (yes, he was French). 
The signifié is the concept of a move in your brain, which is inextricably connected to its signifiant, which is what happens when we talk about that move. 
Therefore I think if you don't call the moves correctly, you are missing concepts and ideas. Thus learning what the moves mean would also make you a better player.

One very important distinction would be sagari and nobi.

Descend 立 =going DOWN
EXTEND!!! 長 =advancing AHEAD (regardless of geographical direction)
De Saussure also said that signs get their value only by opposition to other signs in the system. If you have only one name for so many moves, that name has no meaning.

Above I cited examples that can be translated fairly accurately.

But what do you call the following moves?

I call this move "drawing back" in the subtitles. This is definitely not a nobi.

"Escape the stone", however "extend" is also valid.
 No idea how to translate this move (narabi), but I REFUSE to call it nobi.

And who the flick first called this an "extension"?

 While making this post I realised that there are different kinds of "push" too.

爬 literally "crawl"
壓 to press
 衝 to dash, you know, Rambo-style

So far so good. This might not have blown your mind, but the whole point is to not call everything "nobi". (Not to mention the different kinds of "attachments" 碰, 靠, 托...)

I'll introduce you to two more Go concepts that don't enjoy literal translations in English.

1) 軟頭/硬頭 "Soft head/hard head":

This is the most commonly "soft head". White's further advancement will be hindered by the weakness imminent in this shape. This term also applies to positions other than on the edge:

White's head is totally soft. Black has many moves to choose from, should a fight go towards this corner. As opposed to a "hard head":

This is like the complete opposite of a soft head. Coincidentally, the last move in this position is called "phallus nobi".

2) 損

I always have a hard time translating 損 (or 虧). Literally it means "loss". However it can be applied to almost anything in Go. You can 損 points, an exchange (as in furikawuri ~trade) can turn out 損, you can make a 損 exchange ("a bad exchange"), you can 損 liberties, aji, ko-threats, etc........ Also 損 is used as verb, noun, adjective... as many Chinese words are.
I'm too lazy to complete this post right now:( Uaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavhghfbwdbclkj

Dienstag, 27. August 2013

Long Time


I haven't posted anything for a long time. What have I been doing?

-Now I have three kinda inactive blogs. :S

-I contributed the background music for the PORG recruting video 2012. (There will be a second video one day displaying the graphic progress that the project has gone through since then.)

-Schayan beat me in Austrian champignonship finals, so I'm Austrian vice champignon 2012! (I was champignon 2008-2010.)

-However, my team in German internet league (Deutsche Bundesliga), Berliner Zebrapinguine, legendarily won the tournament!

-I just received an A (einen 1er) for my Proseminararbeit (in German) about "Go in movies". :D

Bild auf dem Deckblatt

-Currently working on a list of Go vocabulary so people can read 围棋天地 Weíqí Tiāndì, a Chinese Go magazine.

-I became junior admin on KGS. So kids, behave!

-Unexpectedly, I played better than usual at EGC 2013, so I'm European 6d now!
Thus I shall raise my price for the rumoured Sandmann reviews: From now on, the price for one offline review will correlate with my EGD rating. E.g. at the time I'm writing this my rating is 2576.717, so one commentary of your game will cost 2.58€ (previously only 2.50€).

-Blogspot became much easier to use than last time:)

Cheers, Viktor

Dienstag, 2. Oktober 2012

Sandmann Reviews


My name is Viktor Lin. I am a very weak European 6d. You can find me on KGS as the Sandmann.

Sandmann Reviews is discontinued until further notice!

I am offering offline reviews of your games for very low prices! Since I became 6d, the prices will correlate with my EGD rating. Take my rating at the time of purchase and divide it by 1000 to calculate the price for one review in € (round up or down according to mathematical rules)!

Special offer: Divide my rating by 100 to get the price in € for 10 game reviews!

I specialise in making complicated stuff sound easy to grasp. My weak point lies in deep precise reading. If you want an accurate professional review of your game, please consult a stronger player instead (who does it for a living and probably knows exactly what he is talking about)!

 How can?

Send me a .sgf of your serious game via e-mail and I will return a .sgf of your serious game with comments scribbled in it.
Detailed instructions below.

Detailed instructions

My e-mail address: will be listed below. 

Subject: Use a headline that I can identify as definitely not a spam or virus.

Attachment: Attach the .sgf file of your serious game. .rar or .zip several files if you wish. Don't send me a virus or, even worse, blitz games.

Mail: If I know nothing about you, I need your rank and the country you reside in, or alternatively your accurate internet rank and the Go server you reside on.
Optional info: name, gender, age, occasion of the game, witty comment not involving lame pun, etc etc.
Choose one of the following: English, German, Chinese (traditional). If you do not, I will choose it for you randomly.

The Money: If we have met and are sure to meet again, you can finance my beer upon our reencounter. Otherwise please do an advance payment on paypal (my paypal address is the same as my e-mail address listed above) or specify a realistic way I can get my beer.
(I also accept donations.)

In fact, this is my e-mail address:)

Downsides of Sandmann Reviews:
-I cannot guarantee a high quality commentary of every game you send me as I am 6d amateur.
-It might take a while until you get your files back due to irregular opening hours.
-If you are stronger than me, please do not expect constructive comments.
-You will not get your money back if you are not satisfied with my service.

-Contrary to online stuff, you can send me and look at your commented games whenever you want (and so can I).
-Looking for more upsides.

For further questions please ask Sandmann on KGS!

Donnerstag, 30. August 2012

Pros' Nicknames According to Chinese Poker Cards

translated by the me
to be completed when I overcome the laziness

♠A 聂卫平 Nie Weiping "Go Saint"
♠K 藤沢秀行 Fujisawa Hideyuki "World's Number One of First Fifty Moves"
♠Q 大竹英雄 Otake Hideo "Cosmetic Player"
♠J  林海峰 Rin Kaiho 二枚腰 (google says "Two Waists")
♠10常昊 Chang Hao "Duck"
♠9 高川格 Takagawa Kaku "Fox"
♠8 依田紀基Yoda Norimoto "Tiger"
♠7 朴永训 Park Yeonghun "Half Point Prince"
♠6 周鹤洋 Zhou Heyang 濟公 (not sure what it means, can range from "Facilitated Duke" to "Economic Husband")
♠4 谢赫 Xie He "Xie Saint"

♥A 古力 Gu Li "Ancient Great Force" (Gu Li means ancient force)
♥K 曹薰鉉 Cho Hunhyun "Gentle Wind Fast Gun"
♥Q 孔杰 Kong Jie "Little Beauty"
♥J Yu Ch'ang-hyeok "World's Number One Attacker"
♥10加藤正夫 Kato Masao "Stone Amputator"
♥9 陈祖德 Chen Zhude "Chinese Fuseki"
♥8 崔哲澣 Choi Cheolhan "Venomous Snake"
♥6 刘小光 Liu Xiaoguang 天煞星 (google suggests "Day fiends" but I think it means more like "Nemesis". I've also seen Kato Masao being refered to by the same nickname.)
♥5 芮乃伟 Rui Naiwei "Witch That Paints the Board"
♥4 王立誠 O Rissei "Assassin"
♥3 Cao Dayuan "Little Zhuge" (Zhuge Liang, one of the greatest strategists and scholars in Chinese history, his uncommonly two-charactered family name is synonymous with intelligence and strategy)
♥2 胡耀宇 Hu Yaoyu "China Hero"

♦A 坂田栄男 Sakata Eio "Razor"
♦K 趙治勲 Cho Chikun "Digging Mole"
♦Q 小林光一 Kobayashi Koichi "Subway Style"
♦J  木谷実 Kitani Minoru 聖童丸 "Sacred Boy Dumpling"(??)
♦10俞斌 Yu Bin "Washing Mashine"
♦8 周俊勳 Zhou Junxun "Red-faced King"
♦7 石田芳夫 Ishida Yoshio "Computer" (Electronic Calculator)
♦5 王檄 Wang Xi "Rapid Cannon"
♦2 邱峻 Qiu Jun 磨王 "King of Polishing" (in the sense of being diligent, I'd guess. It's a pun on 魔王, demon king, which sounds the same in Chinese)

♣A 李世石 Lee Sedol "Little Lee Flying Knife" (or perhaps Shuriken)
♣K 武宮正樹 Takemiya Masaki "Cosmic Style"
♣Q 马晓春 Ma Xiaochun "Demonic Sword"
♣J  張栩 Cho U 韋陀天 (google suggests "Veda days", literal translation would be "Heaven of steep banks made of leather")
♣10罗洗河 Luo Xihe "Divine Pig"
♣9 小林覚 Kobayashi Satoru 本格派棋士(I don't know what it means, google suggests "The Grid represented in terms of financial", however "Basicist School Player" would make sense, as a friend suggested)
♣8 刘星 Liu Xing "Beauty Guy" (althogh Liu Xing means "Killing Star":D)
♣6 橋本宇太郎 Hashimoto Utaro "Tensai (=Genius) Utaro"
♣2 井山 裕太 Iyama Yuta "Golden Boy"

Joker 李昌鎬  Lee Changho "Stone Buddha"
Joker 吳清源 Go Seigen "Saint of Shōwa" (Shōwa period 1926-1989)
Extra Card: 54 Go masters, sorted by their playing styles. Blabla disclaimer

Samstag, 7. April 2012

Lerngruppe deutschsprachiger Jugend

article for dgoz
dumped like bird poop

Es begann bei der deutschen Jugendmeisterschaft, der damalige Live-Kommentator Jun Tarumi, übrigens der stärkste in Deutschland lebende Japaner mit französischer Nationalität, erkannte, dass die Kinder Sachen konnten, die es gar nicht gibt. Er schlussfolgerte, dass diese auf KGS aufgewachsen waren und es ihnen an der Weisheit alter und ehrwürdiger Japaner mangelte, dessen Künste Jun meisterhaft beherrschte.
So trat er eines sonnigen Nachmittags durch die Pforten des dunklen Reiches und erspähte mich auf KGS. Alsdann sprach er mich an, der ihm an Laienhaftigkeit der schwarzen KGS-Magie ebenbürtig war: "Du Viktor, ich möchte den Kindern helfen." Da wir die auf KGS geläufigen Fähigkeiten nicht hatten, aber trotzdem irgendwie EGF 5dan waren, deuchte es uns, wir könnten die Kinder das Andere prima lehren.
So ist endlich - es waren schon viele Monde vergangen - die Lerngruppe deutschsprachiger Jugend entstanden. Es wurden 12 Kinder auserwählt, die gegeneinander Duelle im Reich des Bösen austragen, die dann jeweils Juns und meinen Senf abbekommen, in der Hoffnung, ihnen das Mysterium zu unserem 5dantum darbringen zu können. Zusammen wollen wir den Künsten frönen, die die finsteren Mächte bezwingen.
Wenn das funktioniert, wie es uns dünkt, haben wir im Sinne, den Kreis der Lehrlinge und der Motivatoren des nächsten Durchgangs zu vergrößern. Momentan beschränken wir uns auf Jugend und deutschsprachig (man glaubt gar nicht, in welchen Ländern noch deutschsprachige Jugendliche existieren) und arbeiten mit der größten (großteils) westlichen Liga überhaupt (angeblich) zusammen mit mehr als 300 Teilnehmern jeden Monat - dem Advanced Study Room, der auch nicht deutschsprechender Nichtjugend Einlass gewährt.

Viktor the ineradicative

Take 2

Es war einmal die deutsche Jugendmeisterschaft,
Pinguschaf hat da den Kommentator gemacht.
Der Kinder Züge waren ihm nicht geheuer
wie auch die deutsche Klopapiersteuer.
Alsdann fand er mich auf KGS eines schönen Nachmittags
"Du Viktor, ich möchte den Kindern helfen.", sprach's
und ward's Thema lange nicht mehr angesprochen.
Nun haben wir doch angefangen vor wenigen Wochen,
und die erste Runde ist inzwischen fertig.
Es sind uns beiden zwölf Kinder gegenwärtig,
sie kommen aus der Welt aller Länder,
von 2k bis 4d, deutschsprechender
Natur und jünger als ich, der ich bin ein 20-Jähriger.
Man findet uns auf KGS im Raum "Deutsche Jugendliga"
und wir arbeiten zusammen mit dem "Advanced Study Room",
der größten westlichen Liga überhaupt ohne Teilnahmekriterium.
Wenn du willst mitmachen oder bist nur neugierig,
so wollest du klicken auf!

Viktor the indecipherable

Samstag, 25. Februar 2012

The Imba Ninja League

In naher Zukunft wird Pinguschaf mit mir als Handlanger sich einen Kindheitstraum erfüllen und auf KGS eine Liga für die deutschsprechende Gojugend leiten, die diesen Text verstehen und in der Lage wären, eine sinnige Antwort zu verfassen.

Da wir noch keinen hirnigen Namen für dieses Projekt haben, nenne ich es vorübergehend die Imba Ninja League.

In der Imba Ninja League werden die auserwählten Kids, die in der Regel U20 sind und eine sinnvoll adäquate Spielstärke haben, aufgefordert, circa einmal die Woche eine ernsthafte Partie untereinander auszutragen. Pinguschaf und ich stellen uns das so vor, dass Kinder, die auf KGS aufwachsen, genau das gut können, was wir nicht können, und dass wir sie das, was sie nicht können, anständig lehren können.
Zusätzlich haben wir vor, bei vorhandenen Ressourcen Lektionen und Lehrpartien anzubieten. Bei Fragen stehen wir auch zur Verfügung, sofern deren Beantwortung wir mächtig sind. (Da wir selber nicht so dermaßen stark sind, verlangen wir natürlich kein Geld.)
Des Pudels Kern zum Stärkerwerden liegt aber auch beim intensiven Selbststudium. Darum haben wir derweil nicht vor, obligatorische Hausaufgaben zu geben.

Je nach Anzahl und Spielstärke der Auserwählten wird es evtl. mehr als eine Imba Ninja League geben. Wir hoffen, dass wir beides effektiv steigern können, wenn mehr Lehrmenschen dazukommen.

Vorschläge, Ideen, Beschwerden, Spenden u. Ä. bzgl. der Imba Ninja League werden immer gerne entgegengenommen.

Update: Man hat sich auf den Namen "Lerngruppe der deutschsprachigen Jugend" (LDJ) geeinigt.

Samstag, 31. Dezember 2011

An Interview with Schayan Hamrah, Austrian Champion 2011


The Austrian championship finals, a class A tournament, took place in mid December and I proudly present to you an interview with the winner, Schayan Hamrah, conducted and translated by the sandmann! So, how does it feel to be the Austrian champion?

Schayan: It’s somewhat cool to be the Austrian champion (the youngest of all times:D). It’s a pity though that the previous champion didn’t make it to the finals, I’d rather have seized the title from him than winning it in this manner.

Schayan is the youngest champion in Austrian Go history at 16 years and 3 months, beating the previous record by 8 months. Coincidentally, Schayan is also the current Austrian youth champion.

s: How did the finals go?

SH: It was exhausting and enthralling! After I lost the first game from a favourable position by 1.5 I didn't imagine that I could pull myself together and win the remaining games since I had yet to face the toughest (imho) opponents, but with a good bit of luck and endurance I somehow did it after all.

s: Which was the hardest game?

SH: The one against Lothar Spiegel 4 dan. I ended up viktorious after 4 and a half hours, by 3.5 points.

s: I watched the live relay on KGS. I saw there were many close games.

SH: Indeed! This shows that the best players in Austria are very close in strength.

s: Did you prepare for the finals?

SH: I replayed a few Korean games every day to boost my fighting spirit. Sometimes I had too much of it in my games though.

s: Do you play on the internet?

SH: I do, but I rather play in real life (preferably with shell and slate stones in the Go club which are actually not free to use).

s: How is the Go situation in Austria?

SH: The game is not as widespread as in e. g. France or Germany or the Czech Republic. As a result there are fewer strong players. The Austrian champion is only 3 dan compared to the 6 dans of the above mentioned countries. We need to work on this still.

s: Are your friends more interested in Go than before you won this prestigious title?

SH: Nay, they're more into partying than mind sports.

s: Do you want to say anything else?

SH: Nah.

s: Thank you!

Happy New Year everyone!