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It's used in respect for talking to a superior and respectfully, so is there even an english equivalent for it or is it just a special title used for Chinese?

  • Is Senpai a widely understood word in English-speaking country? – hrzhu Apr 24 '15 at 8:12
  • @hrzhu, no, it isn't. – Suragch Apr 24 '15 at 13:14
  • 前辈: predecessor, eldership, master, senior. 晚辈: junior, maybe there are not any equivalent if they are used for personal pronouns, like 请前辈赐教 and 晚辈告辞了. – 賈可 Jacky Dec 28 '17 at 2:35
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I believe there is no English equivalent, but there are some equivalents that I know of.

Senior/Junior

  • older/younger in age or higher/lower in rank.

Examples:

Bob is the senior developer in our team.

Bob 是我們團隊裡最資深的程序員。

James is 5 years my junior.

James 比我小五歲。

Being a senior, I shall take the duty.

作為最資深的人,我應該要拿下這份職務。

Predecessor

  • person who has a job/position prior to another.

Examples:

Larry, the new coach of Mickey (I made this up), is way more experienced than his predecessors.

米奇隊的新教練Larry比他的前輩(之前的教練)有經驗多了。


Note the subtle difference between predecessor and senior – predecessor has to be someone that pre-existed in the setting, whereas senior is someone that co-exists in the setting.

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    +1 for the answer's accurancy – Alex Apr 24 '15 at 14:30
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I would just use 'sir'. A friendly, colloquial way to address an old man is 'old fella'.

你叫我‘前辈 ’, 我已经觉得像史前原人的遗骸了.

When you call me 'old fella',

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When addressing a young man, you may say just that:

Young man, could you please help me?

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