Pinyin subtitles for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Er, someone has created Hanyu Pinyin subtitles for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wòhǔcánglóng / 臥虎藏龍 / 卧虎藏龙). They’re in UTF-8 (Unicode) and come in two varieties: one with tone marks (link above), the other without. The latter would be useful primarily for those who have trouble getting diacritics to appear properly, such as many of those watching the movie through a TV hooked up to a DivX DVD player.

The set of subtitles also includes English and Mandarin in Chinese characters (both traditional and simplified versions).

The subtitles might seem to go by a bit quickly. But that’s generally because people don’t have much experience reading Hanyu Pinyin. (Also, the English subtitles leave out a lot. But the Pinyin ones are comprehensive.) Practice reading and you’ll get much faster at it.

Remember to use these only for good (e.g., practice reading Pinyin, Mandarin learning, helping those with problems reading Chinese characters) and not bad (e.g., piracy).

still from the movie, showing the subtitled text of Li Mubai saying 'Jianghu li wohucanglong'

15 thoughts on “Pinyin subtitles for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

  1. I remember the English subtitles were a bit odd, especially the names. Wasn’t it that a character Bei Leye was always called Sir Teh or something like that?

  2. Yes, the names in the English version are a bit of an oddity. Some match well with the Mandarin, others are a bit off (e.g., “Wudan” for “Wudang”), and some are just head-scratchers (e.g., “Jen” for “Xiao Long”).
    Here are some examples:
    * Shu Lien — Xiulian
    * Li Mu Bai — Li Mubai
    * Sir Te — Beile ye
    * Jade Fox — Biyan Huli
    * Sun Security — Xiong Yuan Biaoju
    * Giang Hu underworld — Jianghu
    * Bo — Liu
    * Jen — Yu Jiaolong (Xiao Long)
    * May — Mei
    * Tsai — Cai
    * Wudan Mountain — Wudang Shan
    * Lo — Xiao Hu

    “Jade Fox” for “Biyan Huli” (blue-eyed fox) is a somewhat oblique translation. I suppose the “jade” comes from bì (?). Regardless, though, “Jade Fox” certainly sounds like the kind of name you’d expect in a movie like this. So I think that one works.

  3. This is an excellent example of the kind of thing that can help popularize pinyin.

    Now, who wants to start an online Mandarin portal with links to news stories, short stories etc all in pinyin?

  4. The subtitles on most of the video releases (including the Blu-ray) actually use “Sue” (!) instead of “May” or “Mei”. Lee and James Schamus did the theatrical subtitles so I assume they’re responsible for “Jen”, “Lo”, “Bo”, etc., although god knows what they were thinking.

  5. Oh okay, Wiki says Xiaohu’s surname is Lo (Luo), so I guess it’s the same for Bo? And I thought maybe “Giang Hu” might be Minnan or Cantonese, but evidently not…

  6. I would find much more useful:

    Chinese subtitles in Chinese characters (Hanzi) and Pinyin together. Even better, have English next to it. I’ve got a few movies that display both.

    The tone marks are important. If the file is saved in Unicode, it might show correctly. Otherwise may need to convert to tone numbers.

  7. I don’t much care for displaying tone numbers. That style just doesn’t make for easy reading. As a technical matter, though, it would be easy to make such a version.

    I’ll be posting a link soon to a complete set of subtitles. The set contains:
    * Pinyin (with tone marks)
    * Pinyin (without tone marks)
    * English
    * traditional Chinese characters (in both Big5 and Unicode versions)
    * simplified Chinese characters (in both GB and Unicode versions)

  8. Pingback: Pinyin news » How to create Hanyu Pinyin subtitles

  9. Dear authors of this blog,

    I am very happy to find some people engaged in generating Pinyin subtitles. I have tried my hand at this task before, however my results were flawed due to using sub-standard Hanzi-Pinyin converters. I do have Wenlin, however I find it too tedious to use it since it takes forever to do the manual adjustments.

    Would anyone with the “Key Chinese” software like to help me converting the Hanzi-Subtitle-Files of the movies “Eat Drink Man Woman” and “20 30 40” into Pinyin? It would be just a matter of hitting the convert button in Key Chinese, and sending me the txt-file back. I would then complete all remaining steps and would make the subtitles available to everyone subsequently.

    Please send me an email or reply in these comments if you can help me out. Thank you!

    Best regards,
    Viktor Brech

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