What's the best translation to 「要看两千年的中国,去西安;要看一千年的中国,去北京;要看一百年的中国,去上海;要看十年的中国,去深圳」?

My version is

To find two thousand years of China, go to Xi'an; To find one thousand years of China, go to Beijing; To find one hundred year of China, go to Shanghai; To find ten years of China, go to Shenzhen.

My second version is

To have a taste of two thousand years of China, visit Xi'an; One thousand years of China, Beijing; One hundred years of China, Shanghai; And ten years of China, Shenzhen.

Can someone make a better translation?

  • Why do you translate 看 as 'find' but not 'see'? – Tang Ho Dec 20 '18 at 20:01
  • You can probably replace find with find out about. – zyy Dec 20 '18 at 21:57
  • 2
    "Find" seems more abstract and less restricted to the sense of visually and physically observing, which is closer to what "see" is more appropriate for. I think what this sentence intends to mean essentially is that you could also experience instead of just see such different things in the three different cities. – WordyCraft Dec 20 '18 at 21:58

Wanna taste the flavour of China 2000 years ago? Go to Xi An!
Wanna taste the flavour of China 1000 years ago? Go to Beijing!
Wanna taste the flavour of China 100 years ago? Go to Shanghai!
Wanna taste the flavour of China 10 years ago? Go to Shen Zhen!

The Chinese is not native, I would say. Is it a back translation from some English language tourist stuff?

Shanghai is rockin' and rollin', has not stopped at 100 years ago!

  • Your are right, the Chinese does not sound native. – zyy Dec 21 '18 at 14:48
  • 2
    I think the sentences do not mean these cities are in their ancient form, it just means how long those cities have been founded! – zyy Dec 21 '18 at 14:50
  • It sounds like a construction you'd use in English. Not for tourism, but to mock the lack of culture/history in Shenzhen. The other cities are just a setup for the punchline. – Ben Jackson Dec 21 '18 at 16:17
  • The "ago" part seems to restrict what you call "flavor" one could get from each city to a specific time point in the past. However, I think the more precise idea should be more about the overall and entire time range dating back from current era to that time point in the past. So, any other alternative to "ago"? "Your translation is more suitable if the original is 要看n年的中国,去X。" – WordyCraft Dec 29 '18 at 3:02
  • If you have taken a train to Shanghai you will hear the exact sentences broadcasted in the train(minus the Shenzhen part). I believe it started in the early 2000s. – Wang Dingwei Dec 30 '18 at 3:16

To see how China looks like two thousand years ago, you'd visit Xi'an. To see the look of China one thousand years ago, you'd visit Beijing. To see the look of China one hundred years ago, visit Shanghai. To see the look of China 10 years ago, Visit Shenzhen.


I think your second version is the best of all.

As far as I'm concerned, Pedroski and stonelia may misunderstand the meaning of "两千年的中国". It doesn't mean what China is like 2000 years ago.

The background of 「要看两千年的中国,去西安」 is Xi'an has a long history and witnesses the development of China in the past 2000 years.

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