I was looking at some lyrics just now with the phrase "keep it real" - which was translated as:


I really like this attempt - slang turned, slightly, formal.

Are there any proper translations of this phrase?

  • 1
    Don't know your context, but if 忠于本色won't do, how about 实事求是?
    – Chiron
    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:15
  • 1
    keep it real , keeping it real is a phrase with multiple meaning. You cannot apply the correct translation without looking at the original context.
    – mootmoot
    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:12
  • Maybe look at it used in a few different contexts and write out an interpretation in proper English and translate that to Chinese to see how native Chinese speakers would convert those sentences into short street slang sayings. I usually think of "keep it real" as meaning "stay true to yourself, don't betray your friends, don't be susceptible to lies". Like a statement of solidarity. Also used to say "goodbye", like "peace out homie, keep it real." Or just filler conversation: A:"what are you up to?" B:"just keepin' it real". Meaning, "nothing, just sitting here" maybe.
    – jdods
    Jan 16, 2017 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


The dictionary definition of "keep it real" is "be yourself" ; "don't be fake"

"忠於(loyal to) 本色 (real color)" means " be true to one's own nature"

I do think "be yourself " could substitutes "be true to your nature" These two phrases are somewhat comparable, so I would say it is not wrong to translate "keep it real" as "忠於本色"

However, 忠於本色 sounds quite awkward. It is not a common phrase, because 本色 means 'characteristic' . we generally see it in phrases that depict some unique characters. For example 英雄本色,強人本色,奸雄本色. Placing a verb 忠於(loyal to) before 本色 just not sounds right in my ears.

Since it is a lyric, you can interpret more freely. For example:

  • "忠于自我" (be true to yourself),
  • "保持真我" (keep your true self)
  • "別装假" (don't fake)
  • 1
    English songs, especially hip-hop, are using street/gang language come with different meaning.
    – mootmoot
    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:34

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