Category Archives: Reference

Search the Hong Kong Film Archive

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The Hong Kong Film Archive’s search tool is an invaluable resource when you’re faced with the task of translating movie titles that may not be well-known enough (or involve enough Internet-savvy westerners) to be listed in the Internet Movie Database. It’s also great for finding out the standard English names of tiny production companies and major production staff, as well as Chinese translations of foreign movie titles.

After spending hours combing the Internet for obscure movie titles and common transliterations of the names of particular crew members for use in director bios and other festival materials, this will be the first place I’ll look from now on. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great starting place.

Dictionaries (1)

» Essay Towards a Dictionary, Tibetan and English, by Sándor Kőrösi Csoma, Saṅs-rgyas-phun-tshogs. Google Books has the whole thing online (and available for PDF download). It’s an 1834 publication that the author wrote during on a journey he originally undertook to discover the origins of the Hungarian language. Consequently, the book’s preface contains an interesting digression into the relationship between Sanskrit and Hungarian. The author also makes the bold claim that “the literature of Tibet is entirely of Indian origin,” and continues:

The immense volumes, on different branches of science, &c. being exact or faithful translations from Sanscrit works, taken from Bengal, Magadha, Gangetic or Central India, Cashmir, and Nepal, commencing in the seventh century after Christ. And that many of these works have been translated (mostly from Tibetan) into the Mongol, Mantchuo, and the Chinese languages; so that, by this means, the Tibetan became, in Chinese Tartary, the language of the learned, as the Latin in Europe.

I discovered this dictionary while searching for an online glossary of Chinese phonetic transcriptions of Tibetan words (especially names). Any idea what Zhuomu Qiangba (卓木强巴) corresponds to? The author of The Tibet Code says it means “one who wins great victory over the ocean,” which may or may not be correct.

» Dictionary of Chinese Character Variants, by the National Languages Committee, Taiwan Ministry of Education. An awesome compendium of strange and obscure character variants — over 100,000 in all — with facsimilies of the old lexicographic works that index them. The MOE has a number of other dictionaries online, too.