how does one translate '(surname)老板' from Chinese to English? I understand that the word '老板' means boss/shopkeeper/shop owner/chief, but when a surname is added in front of their position, how exactly can i translate it so it sounds grammatically correct? For instance, let's say I want to translate ‘张老板' into English. So ‘张老板' would become 'Boss Zhang/Shopkeeper Zhang' when used in a sentence. But it sounds so odd and awkward somehow?

1 Answer 1


You don't translate that. Just say Mr Zhang.

Such obsequiousness is more a Chinese thing.

I call strangers on the street 老板 or 师傅.

在中国, 你真正的老板是你的女朋友!(别忘了!)

  • oh? "Mr" can be a substitute for "老板" in this case? :0 Wouldn't the original meaning get lost if it becomes "Mr" though? Jun 5, 2020 at 8:38
  • If you translate it to "Mr", you also need to make sure the 老板 is male.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Jun 5, 2020 at 8:48
  • > 在中国, 你真正的老板是你的女朋友 it couldn't be more true
    – blackgreen
    Jun 5, 2020 at 12:17
  • Wasn't there a joke somewhere that in some Asian cities, if you get the money, EVERYONE will call you "boss"? Or did I just watch too much Nick Cage movies? Jun 5, 2020 at 14:53
  • @Becky: sorry, you are right, that's just my latent chauvinism surfacing! Please don't tell my gf!
    – Pedroski
    Jun 5, 2020 at 22:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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