I have "commanding badge", but it doesn't sound too well. It there a specific name for the actual "令牌"?

EDIT: In the context of history/novels

  • Give some context please. – Flaudre May 23 '15 at 15:48
  • f you mean the history of Taoism then see baike.baidu.com/view/544102.htm. Or do you mean modern military history? Or do you mean some on-line community devoted to historical novels, like a stackexchange, that gives badges? – Colin McLarty May 24 '15 at 14:46

This '令牌敲响‘ is confusing. Possibly, the author was thinking of, or referring to a metal plate similar to a cymbal, maybe hanging on a string, which could be hit with a stick to produce a sound. The old guy hit it to drive out the demons. Sure would drive me crazy! 'Out out damn spot!'

I would translate '令牌‘ as 'badge of authority', or maybe here 'cymbal of authority'.

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  • when you say "symbol of authority", do you mean in the context of a physical image (a symbol that shows someone's authority), or as in a person who has authority (a person who is a symbol of authority)? Just wanted to check, as it's somewhat unclear which you mean without elaboration – sqrtbottle May 24 '15 at 8:24
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    haha, cymbal is not symbol. cymbal = 钹,镲,铙 – Pedroski May 24 '15 at 8:30
  • My mistake! I assumed it was a typo, but it wasn't haha. Thanks for clearing that up for me >_> – sqrtbottle May 24 '15 at 8:31

In some contexts, like Computer Science, it can mean 'token', e.g. 令牌环 is 'token ring'.

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  • Ehh, meant in history and stuff (or novels) – john2546 May 23 '15 at 17:42
  • OK, just be sure to specify your context next time. – imrek May 23 '15 at 20:15
  • Btw, try using an image search, and check what it looks like. It actually does look like a badge or a pendant without the string attached to it. – imrek May 23 '15 at 20:20

Actually, it seems to be more of an amulet of sorts used by Daoists in rituals.

So you might try something like 'mystical/magical pendant/amulet'

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I'm not sure if an equivalent existed in western military history.

A general would issue a 令牌 when a subordinate needs to act with the general's authority. For example, you'd need a 令牌 from a city's garrison commander to have the gates opened for you at night.

enter image description here

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I'd translate it as insignia, or token of command. The modern use of a 令牌 is in one time passwords as a translation for "security/autentication token."

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