Jay Chou: A Little Bit / 一點點 (English Translation)

「一點點」 is a nice little song from Jay’s last album, and isn’t too hard to learn – the lyrics are pretty colloquial. It’s about a guy who never paid any attention to his girlfriend, who eventually left him. (Who should we feel sorry for more?)

Non-literal translation, with notes for bits that are very non-literal, below.

幾次爭辯 幾次的失眠
A few arguments, a few sleepless nights

而我卻視而不見 從不先說抱歉
But I just pretend nothing happened, and never say sorry
[視而不見 is a chengyu, literally ‘see then not see’]

工作優先 跟朋友見面
Work’s the most important, as well as seeing friends
[Lit. Work priority, see friends]

永遠多過 給你的時間
It’s always more than the time I spend with you

那虧欠 一直放在心裡面
It’s been weighing on my mind the whole time
[More literally: this debt has been on my mind the whole time]

沒能說出口 你已走遠
Before I could say anything, you left
[Lit. Not able say out, you already leave far]

抱緊你 卻抓不住
Holding you tightly, but unable to grasp…

你的愛 剩一點點
…your love; there’s just a little left

那一天 你幾乎帶走 我所有的從前
That day, you almost took away my past

你說我 根本沒有因為愛你而改變
You said I didn’t change myself at all for you
[根本沒有因為愛你而改變 is literally ‘totally not because love you then change’]

我始終聽不進 你的勸
I never listened to you
[你的勸 is literally ‘your urges’, as in ‘to urge someone to do something’]

想吃甜點 想去電影院
You wanted to get something to eat or see a movie

而我卻都嫌太遠 你在委屈埋怨
But I didn’t want to go the distance, leaving you frustrated and in a huff
[你在委屈埋怨 include two verbs strung together; 委屈 doesn’t really correspond directly to anything in English, but meaning something like ‘frustrated’ or ‘wronged’.]

我連生日 都忘記敷衍
I even forgot your birthday, and brushed you off

卻只會要你 乖一點點
Asked you to not mess around
[Lit. But only will have you behave a little]


故事裡 不再出現與你相關的畫面
You’re not a part of my life any more
[More literally: “in this story, there won’t be another picture with you in it.” Classic case of a metaphor that doesn’t really work in English]

一個人的幸福 怎麼編
I can’t be happy on my own
[Lit. One person’s happiness, how to script?]
[An in-between translation would be “how could a story have a happy ending with just one person?”… but this sounds distinctly Chinglishy. This type of rhetorical question is common in Chinese, but not in English; see this song by Crowd Lu / 盧廣仲 for another example]

面對面 淚滑落在彼此的臉 那瞬間
If we were to see each other, we’d cry; but…
[Lit. Face-to-face, tears roll down at each-others’ face; that moment]

不再讓你離開 我身邊
…I would never let you leave my side again
[Lit. not again let you leave my side]

Edited on 2018/05/30 to improve the translation and add some extra notes, especially near the end. In particular, I now think the last two lines are talking about a hypothetical situation in which the singer and his love meet; the singer thinks that they would both cry, but he would do his utmost not to screw up again.

(It was only after I finished translating this song this afternoon that I realised that there sentences that are apparently statements in Chinese, but which are really talking about imaginary situations. So, see the link above for another good example.)

Other song translations…

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