The Healer's Helpmate

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Liáo-shāng shǒucè
疗伤 liáo-shāng = 'heal injury'.
手册 shǒucè = 'handbook'.
Healing injury handbook
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Zhìliáo bǎodiǎn
治療 zhìliáo = 'to heal, treat'.
寶典 bǎodiǎn = 'treasured book'.
Treasured book of healing
Isha no Iroha
癒者 isha = 'healer, doctor'.
no = connecting particle
いろは iroha = 'rudiments'.
Healer's rudiments
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Trợ Lý Người Chữa Thương trợ lý (助理) = '(personal) assistant'.
người = 'person'.
chữa thương (thương = 傷) = 'heal injury'.
Assistant to the healer

The Healer's Helpmate is a reference book for healing.

The most obvious problem is how to translate 'helpmate'. The English suggests that the book is like a person who assists the healer in his/her business, but this simile will not necessarily travel well.

The Chinese translator chooses to call the 'helpmate' a 手册 shǒucè or 'handbook'. The Taiwanese version uses 寶典 bǎodiǎn or 'treasured book', which is treasured presumably for its usefulness. The Japanese translator uses いろは iroha, meaning 'rudiments'. いろは iroha are the first three syllables of a traditional arrangement of the hiragana alphabet, so the term is analagous to 'The ABC of Healing' in English. (The iroha alphabet arranges the hiragana into a poem for easy remembering. It is now largely obsolete). Only the Vietnamese translator goes with the original English expression, choosing trợ lý or 'personal assistant'.

The term 'healer' means 'someone who heals'. Healing is associated with a broad range of conditions, from wounds to illnesses to spiritual disease. However, in modern English it tends to refer either to the healing of wounds or to spiritual healing. Both the Mainland Chinese and Vietnamese translators make specific reference to the healing of wounds. The Japanese translator takes the word for 'doctor', usually written 医者 isha, and writes it 癒者, meaning 'person who heals'. This manages to convey the message that this is a book of medical treatments while indicating the Japanese word 'to heal', 癒す/ 癒える iyasu/ieru (the difference is one of transitive vs intransitive). Only the Taiwanese translator uses a fairly straightforward word for 'to treat', 治療 zhìliáo.

Category: Medical

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