11 May 2016

PLA Recruiting Ad: The Rap Video—Annotated Translations by Dr. Kevin Jensen & Prof. Mark Metcalf

PLA Recruiting Ad: The Rap Video


Click here to watch on YouTube


Background and summary from South China Morning Post:

‘Just waiting for the order to kill, kill, kill’: China’s military tries to woo young recruits with slick video featuring rock and rap soundtrack

  1. Excerpts from video translated by Kevin A. Jensen, Ph.D., former Assistant Professor of Chinese, United States Military Academy at West Point

Click here to watch an excerpt of the rap video-style recruiting ad (subtitles in traditional characters).

Each service is displayed throughout. Although the Chinese characters on the screen are simplified for the original mainland audience, the Chinese characters in the subtitles are traditional for the Hong Kong audience.

Transcript and Annotated Translation:

In the upper left screen you see: 「八一电视」(August First TV – China’s answer to AFN) with「有線新聞」(i-CABLE News – a Cantonese cable news channel in Hong Kong) superimposed on top.

In the upper right screen you see: 「腾讯视频」(Tencent QQ).

In the middle of the screen you see: 「战争随时爆发」(War Can Break Out at Any Time).

Male voice says: 「戰爭隨時爆發。」(War can break out at any time. – Note: With whom?)

Male voice says: 「你們準備好了嗎?」(Are you fully prepared?)

In the middle of the screen you see: 「有線中國組解放軍徵兵片段」(i-CABLE China Group PLA Recruiting Segment)

Male voice says: 「你們怕不怕?」(Are you afraid?)

Male chorus says: 「不怕 !」(We’re not afraid!)

Male voice says: 「怕不怕?」(Are you afraid?)

Male chorus says: 「不怕 !」(We’re not afraid!)

Male voice sings: 「只等一聲令下。」(We’re only waiting for the order.)

Male chorus says: 「殺、殺、殺 !」(Fight, fight, fight! – Note: While this word could also be translated as “kill,” it is used in the military and in sports to set a unit or team in motion, hence “charge” or “fight.”)

Male chorus sings: 「時刻聽從黨的指揮。」(We always heed our Party’s command. – Note: The PLA answers directly to the Party and now to Xi Jinping.)

Male chorus sings: 「國家尊嚴我們捍衛。」(We protect our country’s dignity. – Note: The phrase “Our country’s dignity” appears frequently in modern discussions concerning China’s “Century of Humiliation” at the hands of foreign aggressors.)

Male chorus sings: 「精忠報國的拳頭部隊。」(We are knockout troops utterly devoted to serving our country. – Note: The phrase “utterly devoted to serving our country” was tattooed on the back of Yue Fei 岳飛 (1103-1142), a Song dynasty general famous for fighting foreign aggressors.)

Male voice sings: 「首當其衝,捨我其誰?」(We are the first to bear the brunt; if we don’t do it, who will? – Note: The phrase “first to bear the brunt” appears frequently in Qing dynasty discussions concerning the threat to Chinese ports from foreign aggressors. The phrase “if we don’t do it, who will?” is from Mencius 孟子 (372-289BCE), who lived in a time when the traditional territory of China was fragmented; he sought to advise an enlightened ruler on reunifying China and reclaiming its lost territories.)

Male chorus says: 「召之即來,」(When you summon us, we come at once; – Note: The phrase “When you summon us, we come at once” is from Lao She 老舍 (1899-1966), a famous author who lived most of his life during the “Century of Humiliation”; a victim of the Cultural Revolution, he was posthumously rehabilitated shortly thereafter and remains quite popular.)

Male chorus says: 「來之能戰,」(When we come, we can fight;)

Male chorus says: 「戰之必勝。」(And when we fight, we are certain to win. – Note: These three lines, beginning with the quote from Lao She, are a quote from Xi Jinping, describing the PLA.)

Male chorus says: 「殺 !」(Fight!)

In the middle of the screen you see: 「參军报囯青春的榮耀」(Joining the Military and Serving Your Country Will Be the Glory of Your Youth!)


2. Full-length video translated by Prof. Mark Metcalf, retired U.S. Naval officer and Lecturer in Chinese literature at the University of Virginia

Click here to watch the full-length video posted on Chinese website.

Click here for Chinese lyrics and accompanying photos.


“Combat Declaration” of the Powerful Striking Force from the Sky

Our task always on our mind 脑子里 永远有任务

The enemy always in our eyes 眼睛里 永远有敌人

Our duty always on our shoulders 肩膀上 永远有责任

Enthusiasm always in our chest 胸膛里 永远有激情

War can happen at any time and we’re always prepared! 战争随时爆发,我们随时准备着!

In the scorching sun or in moonlight we remember this cry 烈日和月光给我记住这种呐喊

I see my unshakeable brother arrive to lift gale force winds and billowing waves 看我铁 打的兄弟来了掀起狂风巨浪

Wherever we go we leave behind iron and steel strength 踏过的足迹留下钢铁的力量

One after the other solid chests in full battle array 一个一个坚实的胸膛时刻全副武装

Helmet on tight and cartridge belt fastened securely 扣紧你的钢盔勒紧子弹袋

Wearing combat boots and desert camouflage maintains my combat status 穿上战靴沙漠迷彩保持作战状态

Two arms swinging take me forward. Two legs striding move me ahead 双臂摆动向前带 双腿阔步朝前迈

An attitude of vowing, come hell or high water, to carry the revolutionary cause into the future 誓入刀 山火海的姿态继往开来

Time waits for no one as a life-or-death crisis has obviously already arrived 时不我 待生死关头显然已经到来

Orders As inviolate as mountains, see warfare always urgent 号令如山看金戈铁马一直迫不及待

Let your reputation shine. Bring out your mettle. 亮出你的招牌 拿出你的气概

With a willingness to face any danger, once again be accountable for justice 用万死不 辞再给正义一次交代

Are you afraid? (We’re not) Are you afraid? (We’re not) 你们怕不怕(不怕)怕不怕(不怕)

Wait and engage the enemy when the order is given (Kill. Kill. Kill.) 只等一声令下(杀杀杀)

Relying on innate loyalty and courage once again to shock 用天生的忠肝义胆再一次震撼

For our honorable peaceful brothers (Risking all!) 为了光荣的和平兄弟们(拼啦)

Even if a bullet passes through my chest 就算子 弹穿过我的胸膛

My mission is still engraved in my heart 使命依 然刻在我的心脏

Training from the central plains to the borders 从中原练到边疆

We can fight. We can be victorious. 能打仗 打胜仗

We constantly follow the Party’s order 时刻听从党的指挥

We defend our nation’s honor 国家尊严我们捍卫

A fighting force serving the nation with unreserved loyalty 精忠报国的拳头部队

Bearing the brunt. Who else but me? 首当其 冲 舍我其谁

Morale arises unbridled. A furious look flaring up. 士气疯狂上涨 杀气火冒三丈

Impregnable moral integrity. Confidence arising from belief.骨气固若金汤 底气源自信仰

Courage grasping opportunity. Righteousness tramples geographic advantage. 勇气攥 紧天时 正气踏着地利

Like a sickle and hammer we are merged into one. 就像镰 刀和锤头我们紧紧合二为一

(Peaceful Army) We are bodyguard for the motherland.(和平之师)我们做祖国的卫士

(Mighty Army) We are the teeth of a ferocious tiger.(威武之师)我们是猛虎的牙齿

(Cultured Army) Carrying forward an age-old history.(文明 之师)弘扬悠久的历史

(Righteous Army) Holding high the invincible banner.(正义之师)高举战无不胜的旗帜

Train troops a thousand days. (Thousand days) Actual combat a thousand times. (Thousand times) 练兵千 天(千天)实战千遍(千遍)

The confrontation is unavoidable so I dare to reveal the sword. (Reveal the sword) 狭路相逢所以我敢亮剑(亮剑)

I dare to do what must be done; in the army there is no joking. 敢做敢当因为军中无戏言

This is the pre-combat declaration.这是战斗前的宣言

Undergoing countless trials and repeatedly experiencing toughening 通过层层的考验经受一遍遍的历练

That flowing blood and sweat of the past is transformed into a bolt of lightning 那些曾 经流过的血和汗化成一道闪电

An unceasing and repeatedly flashing conviction. A continuously reinforced chain.不断频 闪着信念 不断加固这锁链

Surely your can hear that mighty sound! 气吞山河的声音你一定听得见

(Called upon at any hour. Able to fight when called. Certain of victory when fighting. Kill!) (召之 即来 来之能战 战之必胜 杀)

For further background on Prof. Metcalf’s translation, as well as other interesting linguistic issues, check out Victor Mair’s “Inspirational PLA Video” entry on the Language Log website.