For instance, "email" (or "e-mail") is one that has been essentially canonized (e.g. it has been added to various canonical dictionaries), but what about other instances of the addition of this morpheme and its Chinese translation? Is there a general heuristic or rule for indicating digitalization in Chinese, analogous to the English 'e-'?

After a few attempts on Google Translate, it seems like the way to go is to preface the word with “电子” (which means "electronic") – this seems right, but are there exceptions I should know about?

  • For digitization, see also 云/云端 - cloud,网/网上 - online, 虚拟 - virtual. In the sense of electricity-powered, 电动 (e-bike 电动车) – zhantongz Jun 4 '19 at 13:39
  • It's more like the marketing term. Electronic, cloud, connected, solid-state, shared, digital, etc...(Interestingly, computers has passed the "electronic" age since the 50s into the solid-state/semi-conductor phase, with the invention of transistor, like radios, but the name never changed. Right now the only consumer product that is truly "electronic" is only microwave oven). – user3528438 Jun 5 '19 at 17:27

As far as I know, there's no exception for translating "e-" to "电子" unless it doesn't indicate "digital" electronic.

  • I hear the buzzword "e-cigarette" on this just about every day, are you saying that 电子 would not work in this situation? – 小奥利奥 Oct 10 '19 at 19:29
  • No. Just the exact opposite. – Aurus Huang Jan 8 '20 at 1:34


I did some searching, and my impression is that most terms in English with the prefix "e-" can be translated into Chinese with the prefix 电子, with virtually no exceptions:

电子邮件 (email), 电子邮箱 = 电子信箱 (email box), 电子文件 (e-file), 电子现金 (e-cash), 电子货币 (e-money), 电子客票 (e-ticket), 电子签名 (e-signature), 电子学习 (e-learning), 电子教育 (e-education), 电子书 = 电子书籍 (e-book), 电子日记 (e-diary), 电子文本 (e-text), 电子阅读器 (e-reader), 电子新闻信 (e-newsletter), 电子杂志 (e-zine [or: e-magazine]), 电子版 (e-edition), 电子笔 (e-pen), 电子词典 (e-dictionary), 电子艺术 (e-art), 电子教室 (e-classroom), 电子教师 (e-tutor), 电子通信 (e-communication), 电子竞技 (e-sports), 电子烟 (e-cigarette), 电子商务 (e-commerce), 电子商务零售商 (e-tailer [or: e-retailer]), 电子贸易 (e-trade), 电子营业 (e-business), 电子钱包 (e-wallet), 电子银行 (e-bank), 电子贺卡 (e-greeting-card), 电子名片 (e-card), 电子民主 (e-democracy), 电子保密 (e-security), 电子购物 (e-shopping), 电子健康 (e-health), 电子犯罪 (e-crime), 电子垃圾 (e-waste). And maybe even 电子特使 (e-envoy), 电子记事本 (e-notebook), and 电子狗 (e-dog [slang]).

Possible exceptions:

A few variants:

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