About 3 years ago, I received an email from a young girl who was interested in the 'Growing Up With Shanghai' project. She was Shanghainese and going to school at Berklee in Boston and wanted to know more about field recording and this project.
Eventually, through our correspondence I told her I was looking for translators for this project, specifically one who could transliterate the Shanghai dialect into characters. Then she introduced me to this wonderful woman- Jenny- who is also her mother. Jenny was so excited about this project as a way that she could promote Shanghai culture to everyone. This project could not be what it is today without her enthusiasm and desire to make it a great document of the city she loves.
Jenny transliterates the Shanghainese dialect into written characters. While there is no standard way of writing for the dialect (so I am told), there are some publications out there that write articles and stories in this fashion. For me, I see this transcript is the bridge between the audio and the text. It is what makes the audio tangible.
For those of you who do not read Chinese characters, it is interesting because in the transliteration of the dialect using Chinese characters, some Chinese characters are used purely for phonetic purposes not for the meaning of the characters. So again it has some relationship to the element of sound even within the writing itself. Fascinating.
So, without further ado... Welcome to Jenny:
Terence LLoren (TL): What is your favorite:
Jenny Zhang (JZ): 大自然给予我们的色彩都喜欢 根据心情会选择对应的色彩 ：绿色 红色 蓝色
Nature gives us the color we like according to the mood we are in. I would choose the colors: green, red, blue.
TL: 电视剧 ?
JZ: 不爱追剧 喜欢看艺术人文频道 、野外探险、古诗词、中医养生、美食天地
I love to watch shows about arts and humanities, wilderness exploration, ancient poetry, Chinese medicine health, and food.
JZ: 看的懂的都喜欢 老上海历史 建筑设计 心理学 艺术 绘画 语言文化地方 人物志 美食杂志
Anything I can read! I like books about Shanghai history, architectural design, psychology, art, painting, language, culture, local character, famous writers, and food magazines.
JZ: 研究探索吴语文化、 字画、钢琴古董 、音乐舞蹈 、身心灵探索 、美食、 旅行 、运动 、园艺 、手工制作 、自闭症志愿者公益项目策划服务、亲子游戏设计、声音录音、摄影 、泡图书馆、博物馆
I like to study and explore Wu culture, calligraphy and painting, piano antiques, music and dance, body and soul exploration, food, travel, sports, gardening, handmade, autism volunteer, project planning services, parent-child game design, sound recording, photography, hanging out at the library, and museums.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
JZ: 旅行 、园艺厨艺、志愿者服务、翻译整理推广吴语录音文字 、看电影、听音乐会
I like to travel, garden, volunteer, organize events, do translation and to promote Wu-recorded text, go to movies, and see concerts.
When were you born?
Where did you grow up in Shanghai?
JZ: 虹口 徐汇 长宁
In the Hongkou, Xuhui, and Changning Districts.
TL: 你以前的老家是什么样子的? 怎么变化？
What was your neighborhood like before? How has it changed?
JZ: 出生在上海独立的花园洋房 由于文化大革命历史种种原因 房产被他人霸占大部分 后来又被拆迁
When I was born my family lived in a house with a garden. During the Cultural Revolution, the property was occupied by others. Today, the house is demolished.
How has Shanghai culture changed since you were growing up?
JZ: 在城市发展过程中 大量动迁 旧房子拆迁 有利有弊 不该拆的都拆了 改革开放 大量外来人口不加选择地涌入城市 首当其冲 语言文化受到冲击 课堂里只能说普通话 只要孩子们进入幼儿园起上海话 就变成洋泾浜 正宗的上海话 越来越不会说 最受影响的就是80后90后 …他们无法传承给自己的孩子们。
In the process of urban development, the large number of relocation and demolition of the old houses have pros and cons. They should not have demolished all the old places. During the reform and open up era, when a large number of non-Shanghainese entered the city, the first thing to be affected was the language. In schools, the only language that was taught was Mandarin. The moment kids started school in kindergarten, the accent of the Shanghainese dialect was affected and began to lose its authenticity. As a result, less and less people speak genuine Shanghai dialect, especially those who were born in the 80s and 90s, and now are unable to pass the true dialect down to their children.
What do you think of GUWS?
JZ: 我觉得很棒！可以让参与项目的一部分上海人 有机会静下心来 思索一下自己成长的经历和环境的变化，当再回到曾经熟悉的地方做一个回忆时 可以有一个渠道让他们表达出来 他们和上海之间的息息相关的情怀。
I think this project is great! It gives Shanghainese people a chance to sit down and think deeply about their experience growing up and how their surroundings have changed. When you revisit and recall the memories of a place that you intimately know, it encourages them to examine their relationship with their city. Growing Up With Shanghai gives them a channel where they can express their close relationship with Shanghai.
Why this project a valuable document for Shanghai?
JZ: 一部分有创意的上海人的录音 让更多的人听到录音感受了解到过去的上海 以及变化着的环境 包括上海人 。对上海的语言文化也是一个保护 。从录音过程中也挖掘和了解了更多精彩的上海历史文化，通过他们的声音也唤起了越来越多的人 来讲上海话 学习和传承上海话 。保护母语，最主要声音也是最最能激发人们对曾经生活过的地方记忆。也让因为各种原因无法走出家门的人 也可以随着录音采访者脚步一起去了解曾经的上海人的生活和现状。通过文字也可以领略到吴语文字的魅力，有助于学习上海话。可以有多种选择来了解 学习上海话 ，作为参与者 我也是收获颇多……
Some of the creative recordings lets many people, including Shanghainese, hear and understand about past Shanghai and how the environment has changed. It also protects the Shanghai dialect. From the recording, the digging and research, and finally to the transcription, this project offers a deeper understanding of the wonderful history of Shanghai culture.
At the same time, their voice encourages more and more people to speak, study, and pass on the Shanghainese dialect. By using sound you can not only arouse the people’s memories toward the life of a place, at the same time you protect the dialect. It also allows people who for whatever reason that cannot leave their house to walk in the footsteps of the storyteller and understand the past and present lives of Shanghainese people. At the same time, people can appreciate the charm of the Shanghai characters and will help them to learn to read the dialect. Ultimately, this project gives you a variety of choices to learn the Shanghai dialect. I also have learned a lot by working on this project.
What is your job for this project?
JZ: 负责上海话录音翻译整理 校对 推广制作 我喜欢上海话
I am responsible for the translation and proofreading of the Mandarin and Shanghainese transcripts. I like the Shanghai dialect.
What is the most challenging thing about the translation?
JZ: 郊区的方言听不懂 有些方言只有老人家会说 语言濒临失传 他们也不知道如何写这些字口口相传 字典也查不到字 只能先用音译标注 不断学习 很有挑战性 我喜欢
The dialect of the districts outside of the city can be hard to understand as some of the dialects only the older generation can understand. These dialects are becoming endangered because there is not a standard way of writing them. These dialects can only be passed down by word of mouth. No dictionary can tell you which characters to use, you can only use transliteration to document these dialects. This is the most challenging part and I like it very much.
Do you want to say anything else?
JZ: 先把目前的项目 做好，享受这个创作的过程……感谢T，我们可以一起做这件事情！
I want to try my best to complete this project and enjoy the creative process at the same time. Thank you Terence for letting me be a part of this project!