I understand the meaning of 麻烦 as "troublesome" (ex. 麻烦你等一下), but am not sure what it means in this phrase.

I've heard that this can function as some sort of apology for troubling someone. Is that true?

  • frequently 麻烦你+做什么 could you please + do sth ,麻烦你了 thank you for taking the trouble, for more choices see jukuu – user6065 Oct 12 '16 at 23:10
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The term 麻烦 can be a noun, an adjective or a verb

麻烦: (n) trouble; (adj) troublesome; (v) to trouble / to bother / to inconvenience

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/inconvenience

*inconvenience

  1. verb (used with object), inconvenienced, inconveniencing.

As a verb, it has to be used with object

~

 *I understand the meaning of 麻烦 as "troublesome" (ex. 麻烦你等一下)*

No, "麻烦你等一下" means "(I have to) inconvenience you to wait a minute"

  • A better English phrasing would be "sorry to inconvenience you, please wait a moment "

When you say 麻烦你, (inconvenience you), usually you would begin with a "sorry" .

Since 麻烦你 itself already contains an apologizing tone, the "sorry" can be omitted.

*What does 麻烦你了 means*

It means:

    1. "Sorry to inconvenience you" (to ask someone to do something)
    1. "Sorry to have inconvenienced you (to apologize for the inconvenience you caused)

In this context, I prefer to translate to "could you/I, may I " before the favor speaker wants to ask from you. It's a polite form to ask for something. And the 「麻烦」is more like verb "bother".

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