I can't read Chinese but sometimes access the film database of Douban. I've noticed that they always place the original titles just next to the Chinese title - separated by a simple space, with no parentheses or anything.

They do this even when the title is in Japanese and starts with the same ideogram used by Chinese, as in this example with 千与千寻 千と千尋の神隠し:

千与千寻 千と千尋の神隠し

Isn't it confusing to place Japanese kanji just next to a Chinese word? This example includes の and maybe other obviously Japanese kanji, which may help a little, but the space between 寻 and 千 is barely noticeable, and they do it with titles in kanji-only too.

  • read: "2 other obviously Japanese hiragana" – user6065 Jan 19 '18 at 0:04
  • I was a graphic designer, copy writing was part of my job. I would never write titles like this. It is quite a sloppy job here. (they should at least put an hyphen between the Chinese and Japanese) – Tang Ho Jan 19 '18 at 0:37
  • It may be a bad design, but no one cares about it... – Jacob Jan 20 '18 at 6:15

The person who designed the website must assumed that the majority of the Douban users are Chinese. As native speakers, we can identify Chinese letters without any effort, and this design doesn’t bother us at all (although I think its a bad design).


Regardless of whether it's a good design (good for displaying both original title and a understandable one, bad for mixing them), just consider if it's a confusing way for displaying this one particular title, the answer is no.

There are few reasons. Having only one of which will help distinguishing between titles, but having all of them ensures that it's readable and not confusing.

  1. Space is not a usual divider in sentence.

In written Chinese, space has no place except for at the beginning of a paragraph. We don't use space to separate words or sentences in formal writings(despite it being more popular in chatting apps). The space between these two 千 means there's some reason for there to be a space, and they might be two different translations/the translation and the original/some other relations.

  1. Context

Since we read Chinese really quickly, we find at first glance that the second part is not (completely) in Chinese. Where does it change to not-Chinese? From the space.

Here's an extra example(if English is your first language).

Consider French movie Maddam Cute(which is completely made up). Now we have the display:

maddam accent; accent de maddam

Here we have ; as the unusual divider in English, and I think it's easy to tell the latter is not in English(for the use of de).


In my opinion, context is key. Seeing this on the front of a DVD presents no problems for me. I have ability in both languages but even if I didn't and I only understood Chinese, it still would not be an issue because the Japanese characters (hiragana here) are immediately discernible even without understanding the meaning.


It's very hard for an internet-savvy Chinese to grow up without any exposure to Japanese. So for the target audience, this is not at all a problem.

Also I think this is quite a common practice. For example


On the book front page, you have Il Principe and The Prince together

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.