#36 Guest Episode: Allan Lau and Duck Lau, Part 2 (粵語)

Born and raised in Canada, Allan Lau is a versatile musician, doing everything from orchestrating movie scores to crafting commercial theme tracks for multinational corporations. He is also a voice artist and bass singer, bringing to life video game characters and movie trailers.
Duck Lau Cho Tak is an award-winning Hong Kong musician/composer actively engaged in various music scenes. He is also an experienced singer, having served as chorus member and performance director for numerous concerts and records. 
In this second part of our interview, we discuss some principles and interesting aspects of Cantonese voiceover work and lyric writing.

  1. 範圍 faan6 wai4 (N) range
  2. 配音 pui3 jam1 (VO) voice over
  3. 賺(啲)外快 zaan6 (di1) ngoi6 faai3 (VO) to earn (some) extra money
  4. 熟悉 suk6 sik1 (ADJ) familiar
  5. 歪(晒) me2 (saai3) (ADJ) (totally) crooked/slanted
  6. 港產片 gong2 caan2 pin2 (N) Hong Kong made movie
  7. 聲線 seng1/sing1 sin3 (N) (a person’s) voice
  8. 把(聲) baa2 (seng1) (C) measure word for voice
  9. 幕後 mok6 hau6 (ADJ/N) behind the scene / backstage
  10. 英雄 jing1 hung4 (N) hero
  11. 配生 pui3 saang1 (VC) to dub vividly
  12. 角色 gok3 sik1 (N) role
  13. 咪埋眼 mei1/mi1 maai4 ngaan5 (VO) close eyes
  14. 循環再用 ceon4 waan4 zoi3 jung6 (V) recycle and reuse
  15. 資深 zi1 sam1 (ADJ) experienced/veteran
  16. 前輩 cin4 bui3 (N) senior/elder
  17. 江湖大佬 gong1 wu4 daai6 lou2 (N) gangster
  18. 惡霸 ngok3 baa3 (N) bully
  19. 淫魔 jam4 mo1 (N) sex predator
  20. 警司 ging2 si1 (N) police constable/superintendent
  21. 光頭 gwong1 tau4 (ADJ) bald
  22. 神探 san4 taam3 (N) detective
  23. 死仔包 sei2 zai2 baau1 (EXP) bad boy/son
  24. 攞獎 lo2 zoeng2 (VO) receive award
  25. 諗深一層 lam2 sam1 jat cang4 (EXP) on second thought
  26. 現場 jin6 coeng4 (ADJ) at the scene live
  27. 收音 sau1 jam1 (VO) pick up / receive sound
  28. 產量 caan2 loeng6 (N) output/yield
  29. 節省 zit3 saang2 (V) to save (money, time, etc.)
  30. 口噏噏 hau2 ap1 ap1 (V) to mumble
  31. 對白 deoi3 baak6 (N) dialogue
  32. 爭(噉啲)嘢 zaang1 (gam2 di1) je5 (VO) to miss (somewhat little) things
  33. 技巧 gei6 haau2 (N) skill/technique
  34. 哽耳 ngang2 ji5 (ADJ) disturbing/unpleasant to the ears
  35. 後期 hau6 kei4 (ADJ) post- (period)
  36. 工廠 gung1 cong2 (N) factory
  37. 密室 mat6 sat1 (N) sealed room
  38. 頒獎典禮 baan1 zoeng2 din2 laai5 (N) award ceremony
  39. 音效 jam1 haau6 (N) sound effect
  40. 剪接 zin2 zip3 (N) media editing
  41. 時代 si4 doi6 (N) era/period
  42. 演變 jin2 bin3 (V/N) to evolve; evolution
  43. 動畫 dung6 waa2 (N) animation
  44. 外購 ngoi6 kau3 (ADJ) imported
  45. 講究 gong2 gau3 (ADJ/V) exquisite; to pay particular attention to
  46. 宣傳 syun1 cyun4 (N/V) promotion; to promote
  47. 挑戰性 tiu1 zin3 sing3 (N) challenge
  48. 正正經經 zing3 zing3 ging1 ging1 (ADV) seriously
  49. 咬字 ngaau5 zi6 (N) enunciation
  50. 極其量 gik6 kei4 loeng6 (ADV) at most
  51. 高處未算高 gou1 cyu3 mei6 syun3 gou1 (EXP) There is always someone or something better (lit. higher).
  52. 瀡落去 soe4 lok6 heoi3 (VC) to slide down
  53. 直程 zik6 cing4 (ADV) outright/simply
  54. 譯法 jik6 faat3 (N) translation
  55. 成立 sing4 laap6 (V) to establish
  56. 機構 gei1 kau3 (N) institution
  57. 使命感 si5 ming6 gam2 (N) sense of mission/purpose
  58. 道德 dou6 dak1 (N) ethics, moral
  59. 流傳 lau4 cyun4 (V) to circulate, to spread
  60. 出(咗)街 ceot1 (zo2) gaai1 (VO) (media) to go on air
  61. 打造 daa2 zou6 (V) to build, to create
  62. 建造 gin3 zou6 (V) to build, to construct
  63. 建立 gin3 laap6 (V) to build, to establish
  64. 戰略 zin3 loek6 (N/ADJ) strategy; strategic
  65. 純粹 seon4 seoi5 (ADV) just, simply
  66. 對象 deoi3 zoeng6 (N) target person
  67. 顧客 gu3 haak3 (N) client, customer
  68. 誤會 ng6 wui6 (N/V) misunderstanding; to misunderstand
  69. 傳達 cyun4 daat6 (V) to convey, to transmit
  70. 傳播 cyun4 bo3 (V) to broadcast, to spread
  71. 演變 jin2 bin3 (V) to change over time
  72. 頂唔順 ding2 m4 seon6 (VC/ADJ) cannot stand; unbearable
  73. 粗口 cou1 hau2 (N) profanity, swearing
  74. 脷 lei6 (N) tongue
  75. 正確 zing3 kok3 (ADJ) correct
  76. 獨特 duk6 dak6 (ADJ) unique
  77. 糾正 seon4 zing3 (V) to correct
  78. 懶 laan2 (COL) to be full of oneself, to pretend
  79. 大方 daai6 fong1 (ADJ) chill, easygoing, generous
  80. 術語性 seot6 jyu5 sing3 (ADJ) technical, filled with jargons
  81. 街頭 gaai1 tau4 (N) street
  82. 功能 gung1 nang4 (N) function
  83. 借花敬佛 ze3 faa1 ging3 fat6 (EXP) regifting (lit. to borrow flowers for paying homage to Buddha)
  84. 框 kuang1 (N) frame
  85. 填詞 tin4 ci4 (VO) to write lyrics
  86. 簡化 gaan2 faa3 (V) to simplify
  87. 扭音 nau2 jam1 (VO) to tweak musical note (to match word tone)
  88. 篤入去 duk1 jap6 heoi3 (VC) to insert with finger or long object
  89. 山雞變鳳凰 saan1 gai1 bin3 fung6 wong4 (EXP) total transformation (lit. pheasant becomes phoenix)
  90. 人工智能 jan4 gung1 zi3 nang4 (N) artificial intelligence
  91. 神器 san4 hei3 (N) magical device
  92. 分析 fan1 sik1 (V/N) to analyze; analysis
  93. 得個(笑)字 dak1 go3 (siu3) zi6 (EXP) only about… (laughter)
  94. 聯盟 lyun4 mang4 (N) alliance
  95. 在場 zoi6 coeng4 (V) to be at the scene; on site
  96. 靈感 ling4 gam2 (N) inspiration
  97. 笠高帽 lap1 gou1 mou2 (VO/EXP) to flatter (lit. to wear high hat)
  98. 經典 ging1 din2 (ADJ/N) classic
  99. 負責 fu6 zaak3 (V) to be in charge
  100. 缺點 kyut3 dim2 (N) disadvantage, flaw
  101. 作品 zok3 ban2 (N) creative work
  102. 補充 bou2 cung1 (V/N) to add information; supplement
  103. 撐 caang3 (V) to support
  104. 貢獻 gung3 hin3 (V/N) to contribute; contribution
  105. 生成器 sang1 sing4 hei3 (N) generator
  106. 平台 ping4 toi4 (N) platform
  107. 大數據 daai6 sou3 geoi3 (N) big data
  108. 辨認 bin6 jing6 (V) to recognize
  109. 鏈結 lin4 git3 (N) link
  110. 無止境 mou4 zi2 ging2 (EXP) endless
  111. 生態 sang1 taai3 (N) ecology
  112. 可惜 ho2 sik1 (ADJ) too bad, pitiful
  113. 空間 hung1 gaan1 (N) space
  114. 開枱 hoi1 toi2 (VO) play mahjong (lit. open table)
  115. 牢騷 nou4 sou1 (N) complaint, discontent, grievance

ADJ - Adjective

ADV - Adverb

C - Classifier

COL - Colloquial

EXP - Expression

N - Noun

V - Verb

VC - Verb complement

VO - Verb object


Raymond: 噉我又知道喇,我哋講咗咁耐音樂啦。噉呀但係呢,我亦都知道,即係你哋嘅工作其實範圍1都好廣啦。譬如我都知道,Alan 你都會啲做啲同即係應該係啲配音2,或者即係利用你嘅聲音去做其他嘅工作。你係咪都有啲嘢想同我哋分享呀?

(Now as we know, we’ve talked for a while about music. However, I also know that the scope of your work is pretty broad. For instance, Alan, you’ve also done voiceover, or used your voice for other sorts of work. Is there anything you’d like to share?)

Allan: 係呀,其實呢起初呢就係,多一份,即係賺啲外快3噉啦。噉又喺屋企,好方便又可以錄到噉樣。噉呀,同埋呢,我細個都會留意啲人講嘢嘅口音呀,點解有啲人講嘢咁得意呀,噉有啲高啲低啲。噉即係譬如睇電視,let’s say it was,大家都好熟悉4嘅呢個:“1989年度無線電視勁歌金曲季選”噉。噉我又諗,點解佢係…係,唔係“1989”(normal tone),點解要係“1989”(place emphasis on “Jat1”)呢?點解唔係“無線電視” (normal tone),係“無線電視(se6)”噉呢?噉呀有啲乜嘢… 

(Yes, though at the start this was just to earn a bit of extra money. It’s also pretty convenient to record at home. Furthermore, when I was a kid, I paid a lot of attention to people’s voices when they spoke, why some people sounded so interesting, some higher and some lower. Like when watching TV, everyone was pretty accustomed to this: “1989 TVB Jade Solid GoldAnnual Hit Parade.” I would think, why didn’t they say “1989,” but instead “1989” [emphasis on the first part of the number]? Why didn’t they say “TVB,” but instead, “TVB?”)

Raymond: 蕭亮叔呀應該係唔係叫。

(That was Robert Siu Leung, wasn’t it?)

Allan: 蕭亮叔,係喇。阿媽唔係噉教我講廣東話嘅,點解歪晒5嘅呢?噉樣啦,噉到睇港產片6嘅時候又會留意到啲,每個,每個角色嘅聲音啦,嘅聲線7啦。即係譬如,見到洪金寶噉樣,佢把聲,噉跟住睇第二套戲呢,就唔係洪金寶做嘅。但係點…我認得嗰把聲8。點解洪金寶咁得閒走去配人哋嘅聲呢?噉再大啲先至發覺,原來根本嗰個唔係洪金寶把聲嚟嘅,係保全叔。即係原來係,先知道原來早期嘅港產片係由七八九十年代都係配音嘅。大多數都係由呢班幕後9英雄10配生11角色12嘅。

(Robert Siu Leung, yes. That’s not how mom taught me to speak Cantonese, why did he shift it all like that? And then when it came to watching Hong Kong movies, I would also notice the voice of each character, the timbre. For instance, when I saw Sammo Hung, with his voice, when I saw a second film of his, he didn’t do his own voice. [Note: Hong Kong cinema, particularly in the 80s and 90s, had a strong culture of recording sound and image separately, even for the Cantonese release; the person who appeared onscreen wasn’t necessarily the owner of the voice coming through the speakers.] Still, I knew that voice. How could Sammo Hung be so at leisure that he could go do voiceover for someone? But the bigger discovery was realizing that what I had initially heard was not Sammo Hung’s voice, but rather Lam Pou Chuen. It turned out that the early Hong Kong films from the 70s, 80s, and 90s were all dubbed. There were a lot of backstage heroes giving a lifelike dubbing for the various roles.)

噉覺得佢哋好犀利,噉當你知道咗嘅時候呢,你如果你咪埋眼13聽呢,其實你發覺每套電影呢,都係得個三四個嗰把聲,一路循環再用14噉樣嘅。噉即係其實今年,2022 年,呢都有兩位好資深15前輩16就離開咗,一位就係盧雄叔,就係早,早幾個月添嘅。噉年頭仲有朱子聰啦。嘩,佢哋真係配好多好多。

(I thought they were pretty amazing. Once you know about it, if you close your eyes and listen, you'll find out that in every movie, it's just a few voices that cycle through over and over again. But this year, 2022, we've lost two experienced veterans. One is Paul Lo, who passed away a few months ago. There was also Chu Chi Chung earlier this year. Wow, they really dubbed a lot of films.)

噉我,盧雄叔走咗嘅時候,我睇返佢啲網上嘅訪問呢,就好得意嘅。佢把聲係比較沉啲呢,噉通常配親嗰啲都係一啲江湖大佬17呀,啲惡霸18呀噉樣啦。噉即係,嗱,佢配邊個、邊幾個最多,譬如曹達華啦,大傻哥呀,鄭則士呀,曹查理呀呢啲噉樣啦。因為呢啲…啲“淫魔19”呀嗰啲。啲惡人噉樣。但係有一幕戲呢,就 somehow 就係佢地幾個同時識佢地四個嘅。係同一個 scene 嘅。所以佢就要整個 scene 一把聲…

(When Paul Lo passed away, I went back and watched some of his online interviews, which were quite interesting. His voice was rather deep, so he usually dubbed the roles of criminal underworld types. As for who he dubbed the most, he dubbed a lot for Walter Tso, Shing Fui On, Kent Cheng, and Charlie Cho–those sort of actors. It was because they… they played these sorts of “lustful demons,” the villains. But there's one scene where he had to somehow voice all four characters at the same time in the same scene. So for the whole scene it was just his voice...)

仲有一個好好笑嘅喎。早期啲,嗰啲電影呢, around 1980s 嗰啲呢,通常呢,有親一個西人呢,一個白人呢, 就係唔知點解識硬係講廣東話嘅,就係佢做㗎喇。通常呢,啲咩嘢咩嘢警司20呀噉嘅。梗係就係:“我係灣仔警司 Robinson,就已經唔係好高興,你即刻寫份 report 俾我。” 噉套套戲都係嗰把聲。喂,冇理由香港得一個警司㗎。點解個個係呢個…噉呀,好好笑呀呢啲。噉呀,跟住,係啦,保全叔啦,就係叮噹啦,洪金寶啦,係嘛。噉你有冇睇《最佳拍檔》呀?噉大家都有睇過啦,Sam Hui 嗰套。 原來金頭…唔係,光頭21神探22都唔係佢把聲。即係唔係麥嘉把聲嚟㗎嘛。

(There's another funny thing. In early films, around the 1980s, there's often a westerner, a white person who somehow knows how to speak Cantonese, and he did it. Often, he was Police Chief So-and-so. Like: “I’m Chief Robinson from Wan Chai, and I’m already quite displeased, go write a report immediately.” Every series had that same voice. And there was no explanation for why there was only one police chief in Hong Kong. Why did everyone do this... It was really hilarious. After that, yes, there was Bo Chuen who played Doraemon as well as Sammo Hung, right. And have you ever watched Aces Go Places? Everyone has seen it, the film with Sam Hui. Turns out Gold Head... no, the bald detective, it turns out it’s not his voice at all. Which means it is not Karl Maka's voice.)

Raymond: 係邊個配呢?

(Who did the voiceover?)

Allan: 叫做金貴叔,已經走咗㗎喇。 但係所以其實點解我覺得佢好犀利呢,就係佢用嗰個噉嘅台山,不知係咪台山話呀,嗰啲“你個死仔包23吖!你唔知道! (a phrase in Taishanese)” 嗰啲呢,係好 iconic 嘅,佢嗰把聲。甚至乎好似係咪麥嘉都有攞獎24呀。

(His name was Gui Chin, he already passed away. But why I think he was amazing is the way he used Taishanese–I’m not sure if it was Taishan dialect or not–with those phrases like, “You little rascal! You really don’t know!” Those are all very iconic, in his voice. And Karl Maka even ended up winning an award.)

Raymond: 係。


Allan: 但係呢你諗深一層25喎。佢演戲係一部分啫,但係佢後面配生咗佢。所以,我聽聞後尾香港金像獎好似如果嗰個角色係配音嘅呢,就 ban 咗,唔可以攞獎。因為唔 fair 嘛,唔係話,唔係話麥嘉啲戲唔好、佢演唔到呢個,但係你將佢配咗嘅時候,我唔知係咪真有幾多 percentage 係你,係你出嚟囉。噉直至到港產片90年代中呢,先至慢慢 transition 去現場26收音27喇。因為以前錄拍戲呢,嗰啲機又好嘈啦,環境又嘈啦,噉啲戲又多啦,產量28多啦,為咗節省29時間呢,甚至乎佢哋連個稿都未寫好。噉,總之嗰個演員喺鏡頭面前口噏噏30噉,可能鬧緊你,就係:“1234567 食咗飯未 54321”噉樣就算數嘅喇。之後配嘅時候先至寫返啲對白31落去噉樣囉。

(But if you think deeper about it. His acting is just a part of it, the rest is the lively dubbing behind the scenes. So, I heard that in the end, the Hong Kong Film Awards banned characters that are dubbed from winning awards. It's because it’s not fair–that’s not to say that Karl Maka's performances aren’t good, or that he can't play this character, but when you dub him, I don't know what percentage [of the performance] is yours, coming from you. Until the mid-90s, Hong Kong movies gradually transitioned to on-set sound recording. That’s because previously, machines on set were very noisy, the environment was noisy, so there were many movies where the production volume was high that to save time, sometimes they hadn't even finished writing the script when they had already started filming. Anyway, the actor in front of the camera might be mumbling or yelling at you something, like, “1234567 Have you eaten yet 54321.” They were just counting like that. Then the actual lines were written during the post-production for dubbing.)

Raymond: 係。


Allan: 噉,噉呀但係即係要求高咗呢,因為荷李活其實一早已經轉咗係 sync sound 啦,現場收音啦。噉所以到 90 年代中期嘅時候,就要噉現場收音。但你會發覺呢,好似一開始收音嘅時候,你嗰啲戲好像冇咁,冇咁好睇嘅喎。爭噉啲嘢32嘅喎 somehow。又或佢哋嗰啲技巧33唔係咁好喎。你會發覺可能好多環境聲啦,或者好多房聲好“嗡”啦,或者又 mix 得唔好、唔夠大聲啦。都有一、幾年時間去 transition 過去,先至聽得清楚嗰啲聲囉。 

(But then the requirements increased because Hollywood had already switched to synced sound, or recording along with the video. So when it reached the mid-90s, then they got simultaneous recording. However, you’ll find that as soon as they also started recording sound, the movies became less fun to watch. Something was lost, somehow. That or their tech skill wasn’t as good. You’ll notice a lot of background noise, or ambient room noise, or the mix isn’t good, not loud enough. There was a year or two of transition to get through before you could hear the sound clearly.)

噉,到反而而家呢,好得意喇,而家我哋聽就大部分嗰啲都係現場收音,但係好多時會有啲,譬如外地嚟嘅演員, let’s say 嗰一幕戲係個個講… 香港人嚟,講廣東話嘅。突然間,let’s say 有一個係講國語,但係配返廣東話。嗰一個呢,你就好哽耳34,突然間,嘩,好明顯嗰個係配嘅。噉,呢個就可能係有… 即係唔係話嗰個配音員配得不好呀,但係亦都係要後期35工作呢,因為呢, say 如果嗰一幕戲嗰四個演員,係一個工廠36入邊拍嘅,噉工廠可能好大呀,好空曠呀,好多“嗡嗡”聲呀噉樣。噉,但係配音個間密室37入邊呀,間房仔。噉啲聲係好唔同𠺢嘛。 所以佢處理、佢 mix 嘅時候,佢要加返啲嗰啲現場嘅房聲呀,要 match 返每把聲嘅 eq 呀,個 tone 呀噉樣囉。

(Now, on the contrary, it’s very interesting, as most of what we hear is recorded onset, but often there might be some actors who, for example, come from outside Hong Kong, but in the film, let’s say, they play Hongkongers who speak Cantonese. For instance, let's say there's one [actor] who speaks Mandarin, and it's dubbed over in Cantonese. But that can be pretty hard on the ears, that one moment of dubbing is very obvious. Perhaps that's... well, that's not to say that the voiceover artist is bad, but it still needs some post-production work. Let's say the scene is shot with four actors in a factory, and the factory has a lot of background noise. Maybe the factory is very large, vast and empty, and there's a lot of /wang-wang/ noises. However, the noises in the sealed room used for dubbing are totally different. That means when they're doing the sound mix, they need to add in the room tone in order to match and equalize the sound.  )

Raymond: 所以聽你講先,即係更加,更加了解呢個電影嘅製作呢,嗰個音效、音響係幾重要。以前我記得細個,譬如睇譬如奧斯卡頒獎典禮38,點解佢哋頒咁多獎呀,又咩嘢音效39呀,咩聲音嘅剪接40呀噉樣,其實就係因為呢個係好影響嗰個出嚟個電影嘅質素。噉,香港嘅電影工業係後期喺呢方面先追上。噉所以你都見到配音佢所扮演嗰個角色呢,即係都隨住時代41演變42。 噉但係我又覺得而家,隨… 即係到到而家發展呢,即係呢個配音嗰個市場又唔一樣喇,因為而家多咗動畫43嘅製作,噉呢個你一定要配㗎嘛係咪。

(Listening to you speak just now, I got a better sense of film production, particularly how important the sound effects and sound systems are. I remember when I was little I would watch the Oscars and wonder why there were so many awards for things like sound mixing and editing, but it's because it's one of those factors with a huge influence on a film. It was only in later stages that Hong Kong's film industry caught up in this regard. You can really see how when they play roles in dubbing, it really shifts with the times. But based on how it had developed up to now, the market for dubbing is not the same, as now there are more animated works, and they definitely need dubbing.)

Allan: 係,其實呢,呢班,呢班我覺得幕後英雄啦,即係七、八十年代呢班配音員呢,係到咗電影要用現場收音嘅時候呢,其實佢哋少咗工作㗎喇 。 因為佢哋係做幕後呢啲,噉已經有演員出聲喇,噉仲唔需要佢哋把聲呀。噉好多呢就轉咗去電視啦,啲外購44劇啦,或者係卡通片啦,就唯有配呢啲囉。唔記得咗頭先想講乜嘢, sorry。

(Yup, though I think that the post-production heroes are really those voiceover artists from the seventies and eighties, as once they started recording audio during scenes, they were working less.  Since all their work was in post but actors were saying their lines on set, they didn't need their voices anymore. A lot of them switched over to TV, dubbing imported dramas or doing cartoons, the only stuff that had dubbing. I don't remember what I wanted to say, sorry.)

Raymond: 噉你自己嘅經驗呢?你配過啲咩嘢呢? 

(What about your experience? What have you dubbed for?)

Allan: 我自己呢,除咗電影、電視劇之外,噉基本上其他都好多嘢有配過嘅。我諗最多係廣告啦,廣告都做好多,例如 Gucci 呀, TAG Heuer 呀,可口可樂呀。噉第二最多就可能係遊戲機角色。而家遊戲機都好講究45嘅,都好大 budget 嘅。有好多唔同角色要配。有啲係電影嘅 trailer,啲廣告啦,或者係啲政府宣傳46呀噉呀乜都得。我配過一個呢,反而我覺得係最 challenging 嘅、最有挑戰性47嘅,就係一個《多鄰國》嘅字典呀。佢係 Duolingo,要廣東話字典,呢個呢… 

(​​Me, besides films and TV dramas, I've done voiceover work for a lot of other things. I think what I've done the most of is ads, I've really done a lot of them, like for Gucci, TAG Heuer, Coca Cola. After that the thing I've done the most is video game voiceover. Nowadays games are very detailed and have big budgets. There are all sorts of roles that need dubbing. Then there have also been movie trailers, ads, and government PSAs. I think the most challenging job I've had was a dictionary for Duolingo. Duolingo wanted a Cantonese dictionary, and it…)

Raymond: 叫“多鄰國”呀?我都係第一次聽喎,我都唔知有中文名。Duolingo 叫“多鄰國”呀?

(That's Duolingo's name in Chinese? [Lit. "Many Neighbor Kingdom"]. That's the first time I've heard it, I didn't know it had a Chinese name. Duolingo is called "Do1-leon4-gwok3?")

Allan: Duolingo,係喇係喇。佢點解咁難呢?因為平時如果要做啲角色扮演呢,反而就冇問題,嗰啲即係誇張啲都不緊要。但係呢個要正正經經48噉樣呢,係俾人學,即係字典嚟𠺢嘛係咪。你唔可以有啲怪聲,噉同埋每一個字,個發音要好準確,咬字49呀。噉再加上呢,呢一個呢, 係一個,佢要用廣州口音。噉我之前有話俾佢聽,我話我唔係廣州人囉。呢啲口音我未必係啱嘅,即係我極其量50係香港嗰邊多啲嘅。佢又話唔緊要,有錯你再改啦噉。我先發覺我好多嘢係讀錯晒。即係我自問自己都會好留意啲“你”呀,“我”呀呢啲啦,都 OK 啦。嘩但係正式嘅廣州廣東話,即係發覺係高處未算高51。佢哋,例如咩呢,我哋話“呢度”啦, “here” 噉樣啦係咪。我哋有時講“呢 (lei1)”呀嘛,或者“呢(nei1)”呀噉。唔得㗎。要“呢(ni1) 度”,“ni”。

(Duolingo, yes, yes. Why was it hard? Because usually when you’re playing a role, it’s not a problem if you exaggerate or play up some stuff. However, this had to be totally proper, as it’s for someone to learn from, a dictionary, of course. You can’t have any weird sounds or a word or pronunciation out of place, your enunciation has to be perfect. On top of that, they were using Guangzhou pronunciation. I told them early on that I was not from Guangzhou. My pronunciation might not be totally correct, as I am at most sound more like from Hong Kong. They said it wasn’t an issue, if there was a mistake I could just go back and fix it. I found that there was a lot of stuff that I totally read wrong. Like I would find myself paying more attention to “nei5,” “ngo5,” and those tended to be OK. However, proper Guangzhou Cantonese, I found, always demands better. For instance, “lei1 dou6,” “here.” [In Hong Kong] We’ll say “lei1,” or “nei1,” but that isn’t right. It has to be “ni1 dou6,” “ni1.”)

Duck: “呢(ni1) 度”。

(“Ni1 dou6.”)

Raymond: 會連聲調都要你講埋,“呢 (falling tone) 度”噉樣。

([In Guangzhou] They’ll even require you to do tones like “ni1 dou6” has a falling tone on the “ni1.”)

Duck: “ni1…”

Alan: 噉又冇,冇嗰啲。

(There wasn’t that, it didn’t have that.)

Raymond: 冇咁 picky 呀係咪。有啲人係講 high falling… 

(So it wasn’t that picky? Some people use a high falling tone…)

Duck: 係呀,聲調都有㗎。

(Yes, there’s also that tone.)

Allan: 嗰個 stereotype,佢又唔使去到嗰啲嘅。即係唔使瀡落去52嗰啲。但係一定要 “ni1” 囉,“li” 都唔得,“呢(li1)度”都唔得,唔接受。噉呀,或者係一啲我哋平時會唔好覺嘅。“請(ceng2)問”啦,就要“請(cing2)問”啦,係咪?“利(lai6)事”就要變咗“利(lei6)事”啦。唔可以“利(lai6)事”,即係紅包嗰啲啦。“今年(nin4)”,唔係“今年(nin2)”啦,呢啲啦。噉但係,呢啲都係啲發音啦,但係有啲直程53我聽都未聽過嘅。即係我,嗱, accountant 我哋叫咩呀?

(Regarding that [accent] stereotype, they didn’t take it that far. They didn’t make you slide down in tone like that. However, you definitely had to say “ni1,” as “li1” didn’t cut it either. There were also some things that we usually wouldn’t think about. For instance, ceng2 man6 should be cing2 man6, right?And lai6 si6 becomes lei6 si6. You can’t say lai6 si6 when referring to a red envelope. And it’s gam1 nin4, not gam1 nin2, like that. Now these are all pronunciations, but there are some that I’ve simply never heard before. Like “accountant,” what do we call that?)

Raymond: 會計師。

(Wui6 gai3 si1.)

Duck: 會計師。

(Wui6 gai3 si1)

Allan: 佢要我讀“會(kui2)計師”喎。

(They call it “kui2 gai3 si1.”)

Raymond: 吓?


Duck: “會(kui2)計”?

(Kui2 gai3?)

Allan: 我聽都未聽過。呢啲就係,真係可能係要嗰度嘅人先係知道係佢哋想用呢個發音囉。噉所以都學到好多嘢。

(I’d really never heard it before. With this sort of thing, it’s only because of what pronunciation that they wanted that I learned about it.)

Duck: 噉唔係淨係發音,“會計”嘅“會”就係…佢直程係第二個字呀,定係點呀?

(But it’s not just the pronunciation, with the kui2 in kui2 gai3, is it simply just a different character, or what?)

Raymond: 唔係,佢普通話都係嗰個字,但係讀“會計(kuai4 ji4, in Mandarin Pinyin)”嘛。即係佢用嗰個譯法54啦,或者佢認為應該係應該噉樣讀。

(No, in Mandarin it’s also that character, but they read it kuai4 ji4. They use that translation, or they think that’s how it’s supposed to be read.)

Allan: 係啦。或者如果有廣州嘅聽眾,係咪嗰度有另外一種讀法?佢寫就係同,都係同一個字嚟嘅…

(Yup. If there are some listeners from Guangzhou, is there another reading there? Do they write it with that character?)

Raymond: 係。


Allan: 個“會”字噉樣啦。噉呀,呢個學到嘢啦。噉但係呢,另外一樣嘢令到我,近呢一、兩年呢,突然間覺得自己有一個好 strong 嘅 identity 呀。其實呢個好奇怪,用咗英文講添。即係呢個廣東話嘅,自己係一個,對於呢個我嘅母語呢,以前呢,其實我就唔係好理呢樣嘢嘅,甚至乎呢,即係幾年前,我同阿 Duck 呀、阿維呀、Athena 幾個喺度成立55呢個 VantoPop 呢件事嘅時候,我都未有咁,咁 strong 嘅對於,嗰陣時我諗住,我咪唱吓廣東話囉,冇所謂,鍾意又唱吓英文囉,再唔係就唱吓國語囉噉樣。

(With the hui6/kui2 character, I learned something new. However, there was some other stuff in the past year or two that suddenly led me to find I had a very strong sense of identity. Wow, that’s strange, I even used English to say it as well [commenting on the code-switching of “strong” and “identity” in the previous sentence of Cantonese]. By that I mean when it comes to Cantonese, my mother tongue, I didn’t really care about it very much before, to the point that a few years ago when Duck, A-Wai, and Athena started “VantoPop” [a Vancouver-based Cantopop collective], I didn’t have that strong of a feeling as to whether or not we should sing in Cantonese. If we wanted to, we could  also sing in English or Mandarin, whatever we felt like.)

但係呢,呢件事係咩呢,就係當我錄一啲廣東話嘅 VO,但係個 client,個客,佢就唔係 Chinese 嚟嘅,可能係外國人噉樣啦,即係個 middleman 噉啦。收到份稿,畀我睇,就係,佢話:“It’s Cantonese.” 噉呀。噉我一睇, okay,係就係寫咗繁體字,但係好明顯唔係 Cantonese 啦,即係“這是什麼的”嗰啲噉樣啦。因為佢哋可能一次過呢就翻譯好多種語言, Mandarin, Cantonese, 乜乜乜乜噉樣。噉佢就俾咗,佢又唔知,佢就可能呢,俾人呃咗,話“轉咗 traditional 喇,就係等於 Cantonese 喇。”噉我要解釋俾佢聽:“唔係,呢個係… spoken 嘅。寫,我哋嘅… vernacular 同埋個 written 又唔同…”乜乜乜乜噉講一大輪啦。即係等於你俾份西班牙嘅稿我,要我讀意大利文噉樣嘅意思。

(However, the issue that I’m talking about comes up when I’m recording some Cantonese voiceover, but the client isn’t Chinese, maybe a foreigner, the middleman. They get a draft and give it to me to read and say, “It’s Cantonese.” As soon as I look at it, okay, what’s written is traditional characters, but it clearly isn’t Cantonese. Like “Ze2 si6 sam6 mo1 dik1.” [Note: A Cantonese reading of Mandarin phrasing/written Chinese.] It’s because they probably just translated the script into a lot of languages in one go, like Mandarin, Cantonese, etc. So when they got it, perhaps they didn’t know or were fooled or something, like someone told them, “If you change it to traditional characters then that equals Cantonese.” So then I have to explain, “No, this is… spoken. When writing, our.. vernacular and written language aren’t the same.” That’s basically the gist of what I say. It’s like if you gave me a script in Spanish but wanted me to read it out in Italian.)

噉通常都係三個 results 㗎。一係就“哦原來噉呀,OK,我改返,我俾返個廣東話稿你啦。” 呢個就 OK 啦。二就係:“啊,唔係吖?我個客、我嗰個乜嘢乜嘢翻譯機構56話 ok 嘅喇,照讀啦。”噉樣。噉我就好唔願意之下,我就會有一個 struggle 喺度,究竟應唔應該讀呢?即係 as a job,我讀咗、收咗錢,冇人知嘅。因為嗰啲可能係一啲普通嘅 business presentation 呀,嗰啲醫學上嘅,即係冇人理、冇人知係我嘅。但係你諗返覺得呢,有個使命感57喺度。係道德58上,我錄咗出去,就會流傳59落去,將來有人聽咗以為呢啲係廣東話。 噉慢慢如果個個係唔理佢嘅時候,讀錯晒,噉廣東話會變咗咩呢?就,所以我就,唔,有啲 struggle 囉,呢樣嘢令到我。噉呀所以更加會加深咗,我對於我自己嘅母語同我嘅呢個 identity 係乜嘢囉。

(Usually there are three results. The first is, “If that’s the case, OK, I’ll get it changed into Cantonese and give it to you.” This is okay. The second possibility is, “Huh, really? My client, whatever translation institution said it was okay, just read it like that.” In this case, I really don’t want to do it and will have a bit of struggle over whether I should ultimately do it. It’s a job, so I can read it, take the money, and no one will be any wiser. It could be some run-of-the-mill business presentation, or something medical, and no one will care because they don’t know me. But when I think about it, I feel a sense of duty. Ethically speaking, when I record something and send it out, it circulates, and in the future people will hear it and think that this is Cantonese. If gradually we don’t care about that, reading stuff wrong all the time, then Cantonese will change, right? So then I experience a struggle brought on by this sort of stuff. So then it got deeper, thinking about who I was in regards to my mother tongue and language.)

Duck: 我都有少少,聽到呢樣嘢啦,諗返起我喺加拿大呢,有陣時聽、睇呢邊嘅廣告呢,間唔中佢會有… 因為可能呢邊真係有好多講廣東話嘅人。噉所以啲廣告有時會配返廣東嗰啲,嗰啲話落去。雖然佢個本身嗰條片係本身英文嘅。 噉可能佢想啲廣東話嘅人都買嗰啲嘢呀,噉啦。但係間唔中呢,嗰啲字, 嗯?我唔信我聽,咁奇怪嘅。 唔會噉講嘅喎。有陣時會出咗街60嘅喎。 

(I’ve also heard some stuff like this. It makes me think back to when I was in Canada and saw an ad, and sometimes they’ll… because maybe there are many Cantonese speakers, so sometimes they’ll dub ads in Cantonese, though the clip would originally be in English. Maybe they want Cantonese speakers to buy their products, something like that. But sometimes the words, they’re a bit off. I don’t trust what I’m hearing, it’s so strange. It’s not how we’d say it. Sometimes it even goes on air.)

Allan: 係呀。 即係我會,有啲,有幾個呢,可能你話我好 stubborn 啦,定係我嘅堅持,我唔知啦吓。但係有啲事呀,我會唔講嘅,即係我會,例如“打造61”。我點解成日要講、用個“打”字,我點解唔可以“建造62”呢?“建立63”呀,“constructive” 唔係幾好呢?點解係都要用個 physical, physical violence,其實同一個,係咪以前我哋叫“建造” 𠺢嘛。或者,“fireworks”我哋叫乜嘢呀?我哋不嬲都係叫“煙花”㗎。“煙花”,“花”係 flower,好靚嘅一件事。但係就而家好多變咗“煙火”。 點解係… OK 啦,即係你可以自己諗啦,鍾意邊個,又或仲有一個, “strategy”, 我哋叫乜嘢?

(Yup. It might be that I’m pretty stubborn, or that I persist, I don’t know, but there is some stuff that I won’t say. For instance, why do we always say daa2 zou6. Why use daa2 and not say gin3 zou6? Wouldn’t gin3 laap6, “construct” be a lot better? Why do we have to use physical violence, whereas before we would say gin3 zou6? [Note: daa2 zou6, or dǎ zào in Mandarin, is a verb more characteristic of spoken Mandarin in China than spoken Hong Kong Cantonese that is nonetheless sometimes used in Cantonese under the influence of Mandarin.] Or what do we call “fireworks?” We always say jin1 faa1 [Lit. “smoke flower”].  The faa1 in jin1 faa1 means flower, something very beautiful. But now it’s become jin1 fo2. Why…. OK, you can think for yourself and decide which one you prefer, or there’s a “strategy”--what do we call that?)


(Caak3 loek6.)

Allan: 廣東話係“策略”呀嘛。 噉但係呢,又係變咗喇而家,“戰略64”。你明唔明呀,即係佢樣樣嘢都變咗好,vio… 我唔可以話 violent 啦。即係“策略”咪就“策略”,點解要“戰”,點解要 “battle”,點解要 “war” 呢樣嘢呢?所以我有啲會堅持,即係呢啲,係囉。

(In Cantonese it’s caak3 loek6. However, it’s now also become zin3 loek6. [Lit. battle plan] Do you understand how it’s become very vio… I can’t say “violent.” As in, “caak3 loek6” is a strategy, so why add the zin3, why do you need “battle,” why do you need “war?” So I am very persistent with this sort of thing.)

Raymond: 係,我諗我覺得呢個語言唔係純粹65話啱定錯嘅問題。而係你選,你嗰個用字、選字呢,亦都顯示咗你嗰個,你個文化、你個思想,或者你受,即係你受嗰個環境嘅影響,會影響你嘅用字係咪?噉所以,正如你啱啱亦都提出,喺廣州或者喺香港用語都唔一樣。噉好明顯廣州嗰度受普通話嗰個影響大好多呢,所以佢用嗰個字呢,就比較接近普通話。噉所以係呀,你都講得啱㗎,即係如果你譬如你,你,即係你配音又好,或者你工作上面又好呢,即係如果你嗰個,需要你、明知你嗰個對象66顧客67對象,或者你要表達個信息應該係點樣嘅文化,或者你,你背後係想俾人知道,你係代表住乜嘢嘅話呢,噉你嗰個用字其實應該都要相對配合囉,即係。我覺得係呀,好多時大家亦都未必明白呢點呢,亦都會,即係造成好多嘅誤會68呀,或者甚至嗰個信息就,嗰個傳達69上就出咗問題。

(Yeah, I don’t think this is simply a question of language being right or wrong. Now, those words that you chose also demonstrate your culture, your thinking, or the influence of your environment, it all affects your word choice, right? So as you just pointed out, word choice in Guangzhou and Hong Kong are not the same. What’s very obvious is that Cantonese in Guangzhou has sustained a lot more influence from Mandarin, so it’s closer to Mandarin. So what you said is right, as in if you want your voiceover to be good, or you want to do well in your job, you need to know your target audience, your customer, or the culture into which you are expressing information. Or if you want to tell people about your background or what you represent, then your word choice needs to match. I think a lot of people don’t understand this, which causes a lot of errors or even some problems in terms of the transmission of information.)

Allan: 其實係嘅,係冇啱與錯嘅。即係語言嘅傳播70、推(廣)同文化呀,藝術係一樣,係一路演變71緊嘅。噉即係好似我啱啱去到香港嘅時候,我都未習慣啦,又未接受到當地嘅英文。即係,嗱,本身你知嗰度英式英文,呢度係美式嘅。噉都好多唔同嘅字呀。呢度“truck”,嗰度 “lorry”。噉口音又係啦。即係,我嘅 “number”, “file”, “exit”,竟然會變咗 “num-bar”, “fi-lo”, “ex-sit” 噉樣。我初時都好唔舒服。噉但係,但係慢慢呢,我又唔係喎,嗱,新加坡又… 

(Actually you’re right, there is no right or wrong. It’s just the proliferation of languages, they also spread culture, just like art, always changing over time. Like when I first got to Hong Kong, I wasn’t used to it and couldn’t quite get local English. You know that it’s British English, while here [in Canada] it’s Americanized. There are a lot of different words. Here it’s “truck” but there it’s “lorry.” And then there’s the accent. My “number,” file,” “exit,” suddenly they “num-bar”, “fi-lo”, “ex-sit,” like that. I wasn’t comfortable with it in the beginning. However, gradually I got better with it, ah, and then there’s Singapore…)

Duck: A… E-lan. Hello, E-lan (in Cantonese accent). 

Allan: 係喇,最頂唔順72就係,連我自己個名… “點稱呼呀?”我認為我正確嘅英文我就,我一定係講返“Alan”,“Alan”。“阿雲?Aaron?”唔係,我即係最後都要逼我講粗口73先得嘅。“E..?”噉呀。

(Yeah, that I really can’t stand, even my name. “What’s your name?” I think in proper English my name is “Alan, Alan.” “a1-wan6? Aaron?” No, and in the end I even have to swear to get my point across. “E..?” Like that. [Note: Allan is referring to having to use a Cantonese profanity to express the “lan” sound in his name.]

Raymond: 香港最出名嘅嘛 Alan 嗰陣時。

(“Alan” was the most famous back then in Hong Kong.)

Allan: 係呀,噉,阿褚鎮東都係呀 , 褚鎮東我哋另一位好出名嘅音樂人。

(Yes, Anthony Chue, he was another one of our famous musicians back then.)

Duck: Anthony.

Allan: 嗱,A-N-T-H-O-N-Y,噉,即係,美式嘅,即係所謂正確就係 “An-thony”, 有 “th”呀嘛,噉咪74喺牙中間,“Anthony”,但係冇人聽得明呀。後尾佢就 “An-Ton-ni”,要 “ton ton 聲”先至啱嘅噉樣。噉但係阿 Raymond 講得啱,其實語言嘅嘢,最終都係講俾對方聽啫。如果對方接受、接收唔到嘅,噉我,我嘅所謂幾正確75都冇用㗎,都等於零㗎,係嘛?噉所以同埋慢慢講返佢哋嘅語言,噉新加坡又 Singlish 啦。噉就算英文,去到喺美國都好多種英文啦。喺中南部嗰啲 “I come from Alabama” 或者就算唔好講咁遠呢,加拿大 Newfoundland 都好唔同嘅。 

(Ah, A-N-T-H-O-N-Y, in the American way, the proper way to say it is “An-thony” with the “th,” your tongue has to be between the teeth. “Anthony.” But nobody understands it. In the end they say “An-Ton-ni,” with the “ton” sound. But what Raymond said is right, language is ultimately spoken for the benefit of the listener. If the listener accepts it or doesn’t accept it, my so-called “correctness” doesn’t really matter, it’s all nothing in the end, right? But getting back to language, like Singapore also has Singlish. It counts as English, and if you go to America there are also a lot of Englishes. In the middle of the south there’s, “I come from Alabama,” or why not speak of a bit farther afield, Canada’s Newfoundland is also very different.)

Cameron: 哈哈,係。

(Haha, yes.)

Allan: 完全同我哋… “what are we speaking now?” 我都聽唔明嘅。所以我覺得又唔係喎,香港都可以有佢嘅獨特76嘅英文𠺢嘛。

(It’s totally… “What are we speaking now?” I don’t understand. So I also think it’s not, Hong Kong can also have it’s own unique type of English.)

Raymond: 係呀,“Kongish” 呀嘛叫。

(Yeah, it’s called “Kongish.”)

Allan: “Kongish” 又得,即係好…佢嘅 identity 就係呢,噉我咪跟住又 “fi-lo”, “num-bar” 噉樣講。噉大家聽得明就得囉。

(“Kongish” also works, it’s very… that’s it’s identity, so I might as well say stuff like “fi-lo,” “num-bar”--as long as people understand it, it’s fine.)

Raymond: 係,嗰個除咗你已經入咗廣東話詞彙之外,就算英文字本身嘅用法都唔一樣嘅。譬如我一個,我以前覺得好哽耳嘅,即係嗰啲名詞變咗做形容詞噉樣用呢,譬如話“你好 fashion 呀,你好 fashion 呀”。我:“唔係 fashionable 咩?點會好 fashion 呀你?”我發音又俾人糾正77喎… 

(Yup, besides entering into the Cantonese lexicon, its usage is also different from that in English. For instance, I used to find it really grating when nouns became adjectives, like saying, “You’re so fashion, so fashion.” I’d say, “Aren’t I fashionable? Why very fashion?” My pronunciation would also get corrected by people… )

Allan: 係呀係呀係呀。

(Yes, yes, yes.)

Raymond: 係呀,即係我話 “sound” 呀嘛,佢話:“乜嘢 ‘sound’ 呀?‘生’  呀嘛!‘生’  呀,有冇 ‘生’ 呀。”我嘅同學噉樣糾正囉。

(Like I’ll say, “Sound,” and they’ll say, “What sound? Isn’t it saang1? saang1, isn’t there a saang1?” There’d be corrections like that with my classmates.)

Duck: “生仔”咪“生”。

(When giving birth it is “saang1.”)

Allan: 係呀.


Cameron: 好有 feel,就係。

(It has a lot of feel, also.)

Duck: 好有 feel 呀。

(It has a lot of feel.)

Raymond: “Feel” 都 ok。係喇。

(Feel is also OK, yeah.)

Cameron: I wouldn’t say “that has a lot of feel.” 應該係 “feeling”。

(I wouldn’t say “that has a lot of feel.” [In English] it should be “feeling.”)

Raymond: 好有 feel,好啱 feel。

(It has a lot of feel, it really fits/matches feel.)

Allan: 呢個係,即係變咗係佢自己嘅 vocabulary 喇。 “俾人 fit 咗呀”。有次王雙駿都係啦,我同佢一路夾緊 rehearsal,有啲嘢問佢,佢叫 C-a-r-l 呀個名。

(This is a case of it becoming its own vocabulary, like “he got whipped”. There was this one time with Carl Wong, we were busy rehearsing together, and I asked him something and called him “C-a-r-l.”)

Raymond: 係。


Allan: 我好自然,即係我冇諗嘅情況之下,“Carl, Carl” 噉樣。跟著,容祖兒喺度笑,78喺度“ger~” 噉樣。喂,個個都話 “Carr”。

(I was very natural and without thinking about it said “Carl,” “Carl.” Then Joey Yung stood there smiling, standing kind of awkwardly. She had kept calling him “Carr.”)

Raymond: 喺度爆祖兒啲嘢。佢都會笑人… 

(Wow, even exposing Joey Yung here. Even she would make fun of people…)

Allan: 佢唔介意嘅。佢笑,佢唔介意嘅,好大方79嘅佢。 唔係,所以係得意嘅,當個個都係講“阿 Carr”,“阿 Carr” 嘅時候,你就喺度“arl~”噉。所以唔係好… 即係,係囉,所以冇,我覺得冇乜嘢話即係又正唔正確嘅。即係每個地方有佢自己 style 啦。

(She didn’t mind. She laughed, she didn’t mind, she’s really generous. So what was interesting was that when they all called him “A-Carr,” adding that “arl” to the end. It’s not, I think, an issue of right or wrong. Every place has its own style.)

Raymond: 噉,嗱,我哋,我都睇住時間啦,我哋都講咗,都幾長時間呀,希望唔好太夜啦,阻你太耐。但係最後一個部分呢,我哋都邀請我哋嘉賓做啲,少少,即係分享你覺得,即係可能對我哋啲聽眾呀,有… 佢哋會覺得有趣,或者有用嘅一啲資源啦,可以噉講啦。噉你哋想唔想分享吓呢?

(I’m also looking at the time, and we’ve chatted for a while, and I don’t want it to get late or keep you too long. However, the last part is where we invite our guests to share a resource you think our guests will find interesting or useful. Would you like to share?)

Allan: 好呀,我講一個,對於我自己,雖然我頭先有提過,我嘅母語都算係廣東話,但係因爲我喺加拿大長大,噉亦都,即係除咗喺屋企之外,噉喺出邊呢,都係英文多啦。噉,所以其實就,係去到香港之後先,學廣東話嘅。但係呢就有一個好幫到我嘅一個 app,其實好方便,個個電話都有啦,同埋呢個 app 呢係本身 IOS 或者 Android 都有嘅,佢就係呢,一個字典嚟嘅。佢個名叫做,一條魚噉啦,即係一條魚 Pleco 啦,藍色嘅,大家可以搵一搵。

(Alright, I’ll bring up something that has been useful to me. Despite Cantonese being my first language as I said before,  because I grew up in Canada, everything outside my house was in English. So it was when I got to Hong Kong that I then learned Cantonese. However, there is an app that helped me, quite convenient, as it’s also on smartphones, both iOS and Android. It’s a dictionary, and it’s name is that of a fish–Pleco–and it’s blue. Everyone can try and find it.)

噉點解我咁鍾意佢呢?就係因爲佢無論國語、廣東話、英文,佢都,即係你無論入咩語言落去,佢三種出返嚟,都解釋得好清楚。有啲四字詞語又有啦,或者比較術語性80嘅,或者即係街頭81啲嘅嘢都有,所以我有任何聽唔明嘅地方呢,我就即刻讀返入去。我而家即刻示範,好快噉樣啦。譬如一啲,“下巴輕輕”噉啦,我睇吓佢。“下巴輕輕”,噉我哋大家都知道唔係 “chin is light” 呢個意思啦。佢,嗱,“下巴輕輕”噉啦。

(So why do I like it so much? Because regardless of whether it’s Mandarin, Cantonese, or English–whatever you input–it can give you explanations of all three very clearly. There are some four-character idioms, technical jargon, or more street talk, so whenever there are things that I don’t understand, I’ll enter by saying it right away. I’ll do a quick demo right now. For instance, haa6 paa1 heng1 heng1, we all know that it doesn’t mean “chin is light” [Note: the literal translation of the characters in the idiom]. That, ah, haa6 paa1 hing1 hing1.)

Pleco App: “下巴輕輕”。

(haa6 baa1 hing1 hing1)

Allan: 佢就寫咗個“巴”字啦,但係 same thing 啦。“It is used to describe a person who makes promises easily but fails to deliver.” 係嘛?好啱嘅呢個。噉又或者,如果再,可以再術語,唔係術語,呢啲叫咩呀。“你講嘢呀?”噉我知道,唔係 “Are you talking?” 唔係呢種“你講嘢呀”。“‘你講嘢呀?’‘Did you say something?’ said in a rhetorical way when you try to mock someone if you disagree with what they said or think they’re talking a load of nonsense (colloquial).” 即係呢啲,即係係嘛,即係明個意思喇,街頭啲呀呢種。噉所以都幾好嘅,幾 detail。跟住畀埋拼音,同埋俾埋粵拼。係喇,呢個就係“魚”嘅 App 喇。

(It uses a different character for baa1, but it’s the same thing. “It is used to describe a person who makes promises easily but fails to deliver.” Right? It’s totally right. Or, for instance, if there’s something technical, or not technical, what’s that called? “What are you saying?” I don’t know, not “Are you talking?” Not that translation, but rather an idiomatic usage. ‘Did you say something?’ said in a rhetorical way when you try to mock someone if you disagree with what they said or think they’re talking a load of nonsense (colloquial).” So [it’s great for stuff] like ni1 di1 [“these/these things,”  sometimes with special colloquial usage], like hai6 maa3 [“Is that true?”], like meanings understood as in street talks. So these are quite good with details. It also provides romanization and jyutping. So this is the Pleco app.  )

Raymond: 好。但係 Pleco 其實好似仲有個功能82,我唔知你有冇用呢,應該係佢有 OCR 呢,即係可以讀字嘅。

(Great. Though Pleco also has a feature, though I don’t know if you’ve used it, which is its optical character recognition. It can read text.)

Allan: 係呀。


Raymond: 即係佢應該可以用部相機噉樣影到啲中文字可以即刻查啦,即刻讀到俾你聽啦係嘛?

(It can use the camera to take a picture of Chinese text and immediately look it up and read it back to you, right?)

Allan: 其實佢一路發展緊嘅,一路加好多功能落去。我暫時都未用到呢個,我通常呢係聽人講嘢或者睇電影,有啲唔知佢噏乜嘅時候,我就用佢,我就講返出嚟,佢就俾返個意思我噉囉。我另外一個 resource 呀,就係阿德啦。阿德,我都成日問佢呀,呢個係咪廣東話嚟㗎?

(In fact, it’s always being developed further, with new, better features coming all the time. I haven’t used it just yet, though when I hear something or see a film or am chatting with someone, that’s when I’ll use it, I’ll speak something and it will give me back the meaning. Another resource is Duck. I always ask him, “What’s this in Cantonese?”)

Raymond:  阿德原來就係一個 resource 嚟。

(So it turns out Duck is a resource…)

Duck: …我係個 resource 呀。

(...I’m a resource.)

Allan: 呢個德。係呀,我都問唔少嘅。

(This Duck. Yeah, I ask him a lot.)

Duck: 我又講一個啦,噉我其實呢,即係,係咪叫借花敬佛83呢,因為 Athena 提,阿 Allan 都知嘅。就係有一個網站呀,係叫“0243.hk”。記唔記得呀,Allan?

(I’ll also say one, though I’m really relaying it from someone else, something that Athena brought up, as Allan also knows. There’s a website called “0243.hk.” Do you remember, Allan?)

Allan: 記得,好好用呢個。

(I remember, it’s very useful.)

Duck: 好好用。

(Very, very useful.)

Allan: 好好玩嘅。“0243.hk”,噉你而家大家打入去嘅話呢,噉呢,佢入邊呢,就會有個84。噉呢,就會,你係可以打呢,嗰啲數字嘅。噉因為呢,“0243”呢係,即係其實係好多填詞85嘅時候呢,嗰啲音呢,就係嚟自呢幾個數字嘅音嘅。譬如你諗,諗有啲音,你想擺落去填詞嘅時候用嘅。噉譬如“你好嘛?” 噉你諗到“你好嘛”,其實係咩嘢音嚟嘅呢?就係“434”。噉呀,仲有咩呢?譬如 “Allan” 噉樣啦。

(And very, very fun. “0243.hk,” everyone can try typing it in right now. When you visit it, there’s a frame. You can type in some numbers. It’s because the numbers “0243” correspond with some tones that come up a lot when you’re writing lyrics. For instance, let’s say you think up some notes to a melody and want to find some words that go with them. Like, “Lei5 hou2 maa3?” So you think up, “Lei5 hou2 maa3?” but what notes go with that? It’s “434.” And then what? What about “Allan?”

Allan: 英文... 我而家搵吓。

(English… I’ll look for that now.)

Duck: A-lan… 34…34… 係嘛?即係其實佢將佢簡化86咗做呢四個數字呀。將所有嘅,即係廣東話。噉然之後呢,填詞嘅時候呢,我哋有啲扭音87呢,我哋其實都可以擺到落去嘅嘛。即使。噉譬如你有啲音呢,你搵唔到嗰啲字,你唔知,你想,你想填詞,你都想,即係擺好晒啲字落去。因爲廣東話填詞好麻煩嘅,又要啱音。噉你就借呢啲,譬如“de de de de de”噉呢,就係,噉呢,就你就要塞,即係 “mi re do ti la” 你要塞返呢,呢啲數字,噏得出,而啱數字嗰個,1… 1… 3133… 

(A-lan… 34… 34… right? Actually, it simplified it into these four numbers. It takes in all Cantonese. Afterwards, when we’re working on the lyrics, even for our rising tones we can fit them in. Like if you have some notes but you can’t find the right words, if you want to find words you can also get it to put some right in. This is all due to the fact that writing lyrics in Cantonese is rather troublesome, as the word needs to match the pitch. So if you take something like, “de de de de de,” and you want to fit it into “mi re do ti la,” just babbling it out, the right numbers are 1… 1… 3133…)

Allan: 不如我示範一個啦,好唔好呀?我啱啱見到呢… Sorry 我打斷你。

(How about I do a little demo? I just saw… sorry, I cut you off.)

Duck: 你搵緊呀?你幫緊我呀?

(Are you looking something up? Are you helping me?)

Alan: 係呀。我就噉樣篤入去88呢,譬如佢第一個 00 噉啦,如何,如何,00,如何。噉即係如果我係填緊 Raidas 嗰首咩呀,“如何在你心窗一角”噉啦。噉但係 let’s say 我“如何”未搵到咩嘢字,噉我打“00”呢,佢出,出晒所有 possibility 俾你喎,“如何”啦,“成爲”啦,“明明”、“人人”、“黎明”。“黎明在你心窗一角”,好多。
(Yup. I just stick something in, like the first 00, “what”, “what”, 00, “what”. Like if I’m doing that song from Raidas, “What is it like to be in the corner of your heart?” But let’s say I didn’t find the word for “jyu4 ho4,” and instead put in 00, then it gives me some possibilities, like “jyu4 ho4,” “sing4 wai4,” “ming4 ming4” “jan4 jan4,” “lai4 ming4.” So “Leon Lai/Dawn in the corner of your heart.” [Note: There is a bit of a pun because Leon Lai’s Chinese name is lai4 ming4] Lots of possibilities.)

Duck: 我頭先嗰個呢,“mi rei do ti la”呢,其實係你可以讀嘅係“33420”。“33420” 噉樣啦。噉呀你就打“33420”,噉佢就會出咗一咋五個字嘅嘢,有意思嘅廣東話。

(So that “m re do ti la” from before, it can actually be read as “33420.” So 33420, like that. So if you put in 33420, it will output five characters, some interesting Cantonese.)

Allan: “香港澳大橋”。

(Hong Kong Macau Big Bridge/Hoeng1 Gong2 ou3 daai6 kiu4)

Duck: 即刻出呢啲呀。

(That’s what it put out immediately.)

Allan: 仲有好得意呀,佢啲“山雞變鳳凰89”。係呀,真係好正。

(It’s also pretty interesting, there’s “A pheasant becomes a phoenix” [saan1 gai1 bin3 fung6 wong4]. Yeah, it’s awesome.)

Duck: 就算真係唔啱都會可以笑吓嘅,幾得意喎有啲嘢。

(Even when it doesn’t totally fit your song, you might laugh, it’s very interesting.)

Raymond: 呢個有少少人工智能90式嘅填詞器噉樣,填詞神器91

(It’s a bit of an AI lyric writing tool, a magic lyric-writing device.)

Duck: 神器,係喇。但係當然,你就要始終都係要你自己分析92咗之後,覺得啱你攞嚟用噉樣。有啲如果唔啱,就得個笑字93嘅啫。

(Magic device, yes. But of course, it ultimately still has to be analyzed by you, whether you think it’s worth being used. And if it’s wrong, then it’s only something to laugh about.)

Allan: 就係等於我用 rhyme dictionary 去填英文詞噉,我都成日開住個喺度呀,諗唔到嗰個,係嘛?

(It’s like if I use a rhyming dictionary for writing English lyrics, I’m always headed back to this when I can’t think of something, right?)

Raymond: 好,Cameron 你想唔想先呀,到你。

(Great, Cameron, would you like to go first? It’s your turn.)

Cameron: 係啦,所以我今日想講嘅都係同 Spotify 有關嘅。第一個其實係嗰個“北美粵語聯盟94”做嘅 podcast 叫《講東歌》。唔係《廣東歌》,係《講東歌》,就係 “Canto Talk Music Podcast”。其實佢哋用嘅係,Spotify 特別嘅一個功能,就係個 playlist 佢會揀幾首歌,跟住每首歌之間有個 explanation,就係講嗰首歌嘅歷史,或者佢有咩嘢特點。跟住都有,有個 transcript,同埋新詞,同埋拼音,同埋所有就可以幫學者嘅資料。

(Yeah, so what I want to share today is related to Spotify. The first is a podcast from the North American Cantonese Alliance called “CantoTalk Music Podcast” [a pun on CantoPop]. The name in Cantonese is not Gwong2 dung1 go1, it’s Gong2 dung1 go1. It uses a special feature of Spotify where it picks some songs for a playlist, and between the songs are an explanation, explaining the song’s history or some special things about it. There’s also a transcript with vocabulary and romanization, as well as materials to help students.)

所以我非常鍾意呢個 podcast,或者呢個 show。同埋,Spotify 另一個功能就係,你聽歌嘅時候下邊有歌詞。其實我以爲所有人知道有呢個功能,但係我尋日有個朋友,佢係同我差唔多嘅年齡嘅人,佢唔知。但係我覺得呢個係個非常非常之好嘅就學語言嘅方法,同埋呢排佢哋都會加啲英文嘅翻譯。大部分係嗰個 K-Pop 歌嘅翻譯,但係可能都有啲粵語嘅翻譯,所以你可以睇吓,睇吓所以應該都算幾好嘅資料。Raymond,你嘅學生應該知道係咪呀?

(I really like this podcast, or this show. Also, Spotify has another feature, which is that it can display the lyrics of a song. When listening to a song, the lyrics are at the bottom [Note: You need to swipe up to see them if using a smartphone]. In fact, I thought everyone knew about this feature, but yesterday I had a friend–he’s not too old or anything–who didn’t know about it. I think it’s a great way to study a language, and recently they had been adding some English translations. For the most part the translations are for K-pop songs, but maybe there will be some Cantonese songs translated, so you can check it out, it’s great material. Raymond, your students should know about this, right?)

Raymond: 一啲啲啦,我都好似有提過嘅。不過講開呢個 podcast,嗰個主持呢,我啱啱上個,上兩個禮拜,我哋開個會呢,噉佢都有在場95。噉我又,我嗰度認識佢啦,我同佢傾偈,跟住你知唔知佢講咩呢?佢話:“我做呢個 Canto Talk Podcast 呀靈感96都係嚟自你《粵語白白講》呀。”跟著就互相笠高帽97呀,“我哋都係你嘅聽眾呀”噉樣。噉所以呢,呢個世界好細呀,大家都互相聽緊大家嘅節目。噉呀,呢個係一個好嘅節目,我都推介,“Canto Talk”,噉呀,“講”係“講嘢”嘅“講”,《講東歌》,係咪?噉啦,另外一個,噉我都有個想分享啦。

(Some of them do, and I seemed to have mentioned it. As we speak of this podcast, the host was present at a meeting we had just last week, two weeks ago. Then I met him there and we talked. You know what he said? He said “The inspiration of this Canto Talk Podcast is also from your “Chatty Cantonese”! We then complimented each other and said “We are also your listeners,” things like that. It’s such a small world that everyone is listening to each other's programs. So this is indeed a good program that I would also recommend. “Canto Talk” as in Gong2 dung1 go1 [as opposed to Gwong2 dung1 go1], right? So I have another one I would like to share.)

既然我哋今日講開流行曲呢,噉,啱啱其實呢個都有少少回應之前 Cameron 問嗰個問題:我哋點樣可以搵到多啲即係啲經典98嘅粵語歌、廣東歌嗰啲資源呢?噉好多,我諗好多人就係想佢哋接觸呢啲歌可能喺卡拉 OK 呀,或者佢哋有唱。但係呢,可能啲歌詞都未必好熟悉呢,我發現我啲學生呢,就鍾意呢個網站嘅。噉呢,就係好簡單,我就打咗喺個 chat 度啦,就係 “feitsui.com”。噉呢,呢個 “feitsui.com”呢,我相信係一個,即係,呢個網站嗰個負責99嗰個人士呢,佢應該講普通話嘅。噉所以呢,佢呢,可能都係聽開嗰個年代嘅歌。噉就但係呢,就好多好多粵語嘅經典嘅歌呢。你見到佢啲歌詞喺晒嗰度。

(Since we've been talking about pop music today, then in fact this one  is also kind of a response to the question Cameron just raised before: how can we find more resources on Cantonese songs that are classics? I think a lot of people came into contact with these songs from having sung them at karaoke bars. However, some of the lyrics may not be very familiar, and I found that my students love this site. It's very straightforward and I'll just type this in the chat, which is "feitsui.com". About this "feitsui.com", I believe the person in charge of this website should be a Mandarin speaker. Maybe he still listens to the songs of that [80’s and 90’s] era. So there are many, many classic songs in Cantonese. You see the lyrics are all there.)

噉一個好處就係呢,佢所有歌詞呢,你都可以將佢轉,轉成呢個拼音。無論係耶魯拼音啦,或者係而家用嘅粵拼啦都好,噉呢,我就叫啲學生呢,你哋上去查一查啲歌詞,噉你然之後就睇住粵拼讀俾大家聽,甚至睇住歌詞唱俾大家聽噉樣啦。噉但係呢個都唔係話冇缺點100嘅,呢個網站。噉就佢就冇最新最新嗰啲歌詞,我嘗試搵姜濤呀,Mirror 呀嗰啲歌,未有。噉但係呢,早嘅,譬如,好多早期流行嘅音樂嘅作品101都可以搵到嘅。四大天王呀,容祖兒嗰啲好多好多都有。

(One advantage [of this site] is that all the lyrics can be converted into romanizations. Whether it's Yale or Jyutping we use now, I would ask the students to go look up the lyrics and then read or sing to everyone while reading off the romanizations. But this is not to say that there are no shortcomings of this site. It doesn't have the latest lyrics. I tried to find songs by Keung To, Mirror, and the like, but there are none yet. But earlier ones, for example, many of the early popular music works by the Four Heavenly Kings, Joey Yung are there.)

Allan: 有 Swing 喎。

(It’s got Swing.)

Duck: 係嘛。


Raymond: 即係,即係都唔少嘅。噉所以大家睇一睇啦。噉我最後仲想補充102一個網站呢,係我今日先至留意到嘅呢,噉都同聲音有關啦。噉好多人都話,我,譬如我學粵語又好,我103粵語又好,我唱廣東歌。噉如果我唔唱歌呢,或者我唱歌唔叻呢,仲有啲乜嘢可以貢獻104,即係呢個推廣粵語嘅呢?噉原來呢,我哋每個人呢,每日呢,都可以花少少時間呢,你可以為呢個粵語,全世界粵語做到一個好重要嘅貢獻嘅。就係呢而家,我哋喺網上面呢,我哋而家要幫呢啲機器呢去學廣東話。頭先你,頭先都有講到喇,即係你填詞,AI 可以幫你去填詞啦,有呢個歌詞生成器105呢,噉但係呢,而家我哋都開始會用廣東話做輸入嘅嘛。無論係我哋嘅電話、我哋嘅電腦啦,其實而家網上面呢,都有唔少嘅人士啦,或者語言學家呢,佢哋想收集大家呢,你哋真真正正點樣講廣東話。

(There are quite a few. So please take a look. Finally, I'd like to add a website that I just noticed today, and it's also related to sounds. Many people say, whether it is learning Cantonese or supporting Cantonese they would sing Cantonese songs. What if I don't sing or am not good at singing, what else can I contribute to the promotion of Cantonese? As it turns out, we can all take a little time each day to make significant contributions to Cantonese globally.  Now we can help these machines learn Cantonese on the internet. Just now you said, AI can help you write lyrics when there is this lyric generator. But now, we are also starting to do Cantonese input. Whether it's on our telephone or our computer, on the internet there are a lot of people, including linguists, who want to collect [data on] how people really speak Cantonese.)

噉所以呢,就有一個平台106呢,大家呢可以入去,你只要,佢就會叫你跟住,你講呢個字,或者呢個句子,你係點講嘅。呢個就唔係話啱定錯嘅問題喇。亦都同頭先同 Allan 討論嘅問題有啲關係。噉就係話呢,佢真係想你一個普通講廣東話嘅人,你呢句說話,或者你呢個字係點樣發音嘅。噉佢就利用呢啲大數據107呢,去將來幫我哋去辨認108,幫我哋去做語音輸入。其實你講歪啲,或者唔同人嘅口音唔一樣呢,佢都認到嘅。噉所以呢個呢,其實我哋去提供個數據俾呢個電腦呢,係幫緊將來我哋呢個粵語個發展嘅。噉我會將嗰個鏈結109就擺上網,其實大家上去你鍾意錄幾多都得。你可以一日廿四小時不停噉錄,噉呀無止境110嘅。噉呀呢個係一個 commonvoice.mozilla.org/yue 噉呢,呢個係一個平台可以做一個輸入噉樣啦。係喇,噉我就講到呢度就差唔多喇。睇吓大家有冇乜嘢最後想補充,或者最後有嘢想同我哋觀衆講嘅呢?

(So, there's a platform you can go to, which will ask you to repeat this word or this sentence. It's not a matter of right or wrong. It also has something to do with the issue we just discussed with Allan. That is to say, it really wants to know how an ordinary Cantonese speaker pronounces this sentence or this word. Then it will use this big data to help us do recognition and voice input in the future. In fact, even if you speak a little off or different people's accents are different, it can still recognize what you say. So our providing data to the computer is actually helping the development of the Cantonese language in the future. I'll put the link online so you can record as much as you like. You can record 24 hours a day nonstop, and there is no end to it. So, this is commonvoice.mozilla.org/yue which is a platform that can do input like this. That's pretty much all I have to say. Let's see if you have anything to add–any final thoughts you want to say to our audience?)

Allan: 廣東話,希望可以繼續流傳落去啦,係正確嘅廣東話啦。嗱,唔係,應該係噉講,頭先都係啱啱講緊,冇咩叫正唔正確嘅,語言嘅嘢係一路會變化。噉呀,但係總之,即係一路流傳落去就得嘅喇,我覺得。同埋我哋嘅音樂,噉呀,有人繼續聽,有人繼續支持,我哋就會繼續做,就係噉喇。

(I hope that Cantonese can continue to be passed on into the future, and by that I mean proper Cantonese. Or no, what I should say is that as we discussed before, there is no proper or improper Cantonese, language is always changing. But I think that ultimately, it should continue to be passed on. And that people continue to listen to our music, continue to support us, and that we continue to make it. )

Raymond: 係啦。同埋而家都成日流傳一句說話,就係大家要有一種堅持啦。即係你覺得啱嘅,噉你應該去堅持。噉你可以,即係唔係淨係自己啦,噉呀你都可以影響到身邊,甚至下一代嘅人,人士呀,小朋友噉樣。呢個都好,即係好影響我哋嘅粵語嗰個生態111嘅。

(Yup. And there is a popular saying these days, that everyone needs to have a sense of perseverance. If you think it is right, then persevere. And it might not just be you, as it can affect those around you, even the next generation, even children. This really has an effect on our Cantonese ecosystem.)

Allan: 廣東話咁有歷史性嘅價值,我相信冇乜人想見到佢唔見咗𠺢嘛。如果唔見咗就好可惜112,係咪?

(Cantonese has historical value, so I don’t think there is anyone who wants to see it disappear. It would be very regrettable if it did, right?)

Cameron: 係呀。同埋語言都係,人之間存在嘅,所以都要多啲噉樣嘅空間113

(Yup. Also, language is something that exists among people, so you always want more of this sort of space.)

Raymond: 好啦,噉多謝晒兩位。我哋希望再有機會下次再慢慢傾。下次我開枱114,開一開住枱傾噉樣啦。

(Alright, thanks so much to both of you. We hope we have another chance to chat with the two of you. Next time we can chat over playing at the mahjong table.)

Allan: 更多牢騷115喇到時候。多謝兩位白生。

(When we have more to prattle on about. Thank you to both Mr. Baaks.)

Raymond: 都多謝兩位劉生,多謝晒。

(A huge thanks to both Mr. Laus.)

Duck: 多謝。

(Thank you.)