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How can I translate something like the below sentence into Chinese:

I wonder how many people are going to the party?

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Have you tried Google Translate? I know it isn't usually reliable, but maybe with a fixed expression... – Alenanno Nov 19 '12 at 10:30
@Alenanno - Haven't got time to check again now. I did check before I posted with a few sample sentences and the translation wasn't even accurate. – xiaohouzi79 Nov 19 '12 at 10:59
That doesn't surprise me. :D What mistakes did it make? – Alenanno Nov 19 '12 at 11:01

5 Answers 5

"不晓得" would be quite an appropriate translation for the word "wonder":


To elaborate, "I wonder" has two components to it:
1) I don't know; and
2) I am curious to find out.

While 不晓得 directly possesses the meaning of 不知道 or "don't know", depending on the tone of the speaker and the statement itself, it can also take on a "curiosity component". Example:

I wonder if it is going to rain today.

If 我 is added in front, then the whole flavour of the sentence can be changed to a plain "I don't know" kind of statement:


As mentioned in the comments below, whether "不晓得" or "不知道" when used at the start of a sentence can be taken to mean "I wonder". A list of references:

do not know; I wonder

I wonder how old he is.

I wonder if he can.

I wonder whether I might ask you a question.

When in doubt, please don't rely on a single source of references.

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Notice that 晓得 is used commonly in south CN, while in the north, 知道 is more popular. – halfelf Nov 19 '12 at 2:27
@halfelf, whatever the case, I am quite sure that when used in the manner "不晓得..." or "不知道..." it is definitely a case of "I wonder" instead of "I don't know". – 杨以轩 Nov 19 '12 at 5:39
That comment is for other people seeing this answer. Your translation is wonderful in some situation, but not all. – halfelf Nov 19 '12 at 6:36
@halfelf Agreed; I nearly posted a comment of a similar nature. Even in the south, I'd regard 知道 as a better choice than 晓得 in Mandarin sentences that use "know". In dialect (e.g., Nanjinghua, Shanghaihua and other Wu dialects) 晓得 is certainly the go-to. – user2251 Nov 20 '12 at 0:41

Translation from English to Chinese is more a matter of capturing meaning than finding word for word equivalences. In this case, I think the best way to capture "wonder" is by saying "would like to know."

Thus, "I wonder..." becomes "我想知道..."

Translating to "I don't know" (as is suggested by Question Overflow) might be appropriate in some situations. It's not what I would use for your example sentence, but the decision is admittedly subjective.

In any event, here is a collection of example sentences in English/Chinese with the word "wonder."

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in your case: 想知道,好奇。

but if this is some information about it you got, 我纳闷儿/我嘀咕呢 ... it is very strange/can't accept estimated answer/or given by others, himself want to know the fact.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

Welcome to Chinese Language and Usage Beta! Usually we prefer longer and more elaborated answers on short answers. If you can improve your answer by adding detail, context, examples, and backing up with references, this would increase your answer's quality. Poor answers risk being down-voted and subsequently removed. – Alenanno Nov 18 '12 at 14:29

I always try to use the word I hear most in conversation given a context...

And if that's what you're looking for... I think "I wonder..." by itself can be best described as


If you're trying to describe "I wonder" from a monologuing perspective... you can say:

我在想会有几个人去那个派对 (派对: popular Southern Chinese transliteration of "Party")

Or add some colloquial flavor by repeating the verb:

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This is my first post, I hope the community isn't too harsh on me >_<.

I've come across some translations:

The other posts are certainly correct in that "I wonder" is probably best translated as

我想知道 。。。 = I wonder ...

想知道(什么/为什么/如何) = I wonder (what/why/how)

不知道是否 = I wonder if/I wonder whether or not/I don't know if...

But there are some other ways to express this:


Here it means, "I wonder why he didn't come." If "wonder" has a direct translation, I would say "奇怪" would be it, at least according. Because of the use of "奇怪“ it emphasizes something strange/unusual could have occurred.

我寻思会不会下雨 = I wonder if it will rain or not

but "寻思" implies pondering, thinking over, which may be too dramatic when applied to weather.

Conclusion: At least colloquially, using 知道 is probably best, but there are many translations!

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Nice answer. 寻思 is used a lot in spoken language in Northern China (especially Northeastern China). "我寻思会不会下雨" doesn't sound overly dramatic to me if it's from the mouth of a Northeastern folk. – NS.X. Jan 2 at 4:47

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