Recently I am reading Lyrics, Painting and Life, a book written by veteran Cantonese lyricist Cheng Kwok Kong. I am not very familiar with his lyrics but I still respect him a lot. I would have given up teaching, if I were to keep an education officer’s job and rush Cantonese lyrics after working hours. But Mr Cheng did not give up teaching. And his persistence helped him produce children and motivational songs.
It was a tough job to write lyrics back then. The music labels gave musical stave to a lyricist, who needs to replay his or her walkman / radio again and again to write lyrics. Cheng always received songs for recording the next day. Which meant the lyrics could not be edited anymore after it was submitted. Several chapters of the book also shared the inspiration of some of his songs. More outstanding was that he could edit his lyrics when taking public transport to submit his work at offices of music label or recording studio.
Given Mr Cheng’s perseverance and his capability to handle and achieve great accomplishment in different genre of lyrics writing, it is worthwhile for translators to learn from him. Coming back to my translation and copywriting work, I always strive to delve into different genres to broaden and strengthen my business writing. At the end of the day, it still boils down to reading more and listening to various programmes to acquire new knowledge.