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Damage control means:

  • "action taken to limit the damaging effects of an accident or error." (Lexico)
  • "measures taken to offset or minimize damage to reputation, credibility, or public image caused by a controversial act, remark, or revelation" (Merriam-Webster)

How can we translate "damage control" and "do damage control" into Chinese, especially when the actions are done primarily to minimize damage to reputation?

Do Mandarin people use 補鑊 as slang to represent fence-mending or damage control? suggests 補救 (bǔjiù, to remedy), which is more general, and "remedy" doesn't have the connotation of wanting to preserve reputation.

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    How about 拾遺補闕? However, it seems to refer more to patching up leaks rather than cleaning up the puddles. – gnucchi Sep 27 at 16:57
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In the navies and the maritime industry, damage control is the emergency control of situations that may cause the sinking of a watercraft. It is translated as 损害控制 (damage control).

损害控制 can also be used metaphorically for "preventing damages to become more severe"

Example:

The White House staffers have to do damage control for the president's deranged tweets almost every day --> 白宫人员几乎每天都要对总统失控的推文进行损害控制. Metaphorically compare the damage caused by the president's tweets to ship-sinking damage (the damage is done, all you can do is not letting the ship sinks).

It would be easier in Cantonese -- 白宫人员几乎日日都要帮总统失控嘅推文补镬.

(to minimize damage to reputation)

The term 公关补救 (PR remedy) seems to fit

We can use a Cantonese slang 解畫 for that -- a metaphor for "to spin; to explain away the problem" I am not sure it is used in Mandarin or not

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Generally I would use:

減少破壞 (to minimize damage)

減低傷害 (to minimize harm)

Or, if you're looking for a chengyu (成語), then 亡羊補牢, which is more like "to cut loss, or fix a bad situation so that it does not happen again". 亡羊補牢 comes from a story about a broken sheep fold. After some sheep wander out and are lost because of the broken fold, the shepherd fixes the fold so that those sheep that are left will not be able to get out.

The whole saying is 亡羊補牢,未為晚也 (It's not too late to repair your sheepfold after you've lost some sheep.)

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I propose a longer translation: 把损失降到最低点 or 把损害降到最低点

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