人生三大不幸: 少年得志,中年失業,臨老入花叢

Why do we think that they are considered as three big misfortunes?

少年得志大不幸~怕的就是人生在青春年少時就得到成功,反而會容易變得不知珍惜或不知謙卑,而犯了驕奢倨傲,懈怠懶散的壞習慣,到後來很可能會摔得更慘跌得更痛.  See http://tw.knowledge.yahoo.com/question/question?qid=1105050406781

 

I would translate it as:

少年得志大不幸

To have early success but unsustainable is a big misfortune in life.

 

Why do we think that 臨老入花叢 is a misfortune?

Uusually it means 老了有外遇, 最後搞得妻離子散、人財兩失或心神不寧、事業.  See http://paulfrankmonkey.pixnet.net/blog/post/24335095

 

I would translate it as:

臨老入花叢大不幸

To have adultery in old age is a big misfortune in life.

 

Elisa’s translation: 
人生三大不幸: 少年得志,中年失業,臨老入花叢

1.   To have success in youth but unsustainable, to be jobless in middle age and to commit adultery in old age are the three big misfortunes in life.

 

2.  To be young with short success, to be middle aged and unemployed, and to be old aged and adulterous are the three big misfortunes in life.

 

3.  Life’s three big misfortunes:  Success in youth but unsustained, unemployment in middle age and adultery in old age.

 

Listed below are my original translations.  I made the revision as stated above because I was initially confused by the phrase "少年得志".  As a matter of fact when I first glanced at this, I thought that there was a typo and that it should be "少年不得志".   How could "少年得志" be a misfortune?  Wouldn't that be a good thing?  To state that it is life's misfortune to be successful in youth does not make sense to me at all.  Not until I went online and did more research did I realize that it truly meant "少年得志" and the metaphor behind it.   If you translate it literally, you create confusion to others and that is why I changed the translations.  Since I was confused, I would think that others not exposed to Chinese culture would have more confusion. 

Anyway, these are my original translations if you prefer a literal translation.  Just keep in mind to provide ample explanations if you do decide to use the literal translation. 

 

1. Life’s three big misfortunes: Success in youth, unemployment in middle age and adultery in old age.

 

2. To be successful in youth, to be jobless in middle age and to have amours in old age are the three big misfortunes in life.

3. To be young and successful, to be middle aged and unemployed, and to be old aged and adulterous are the three big misfortunes in life.

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