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What is 心血 in English may I ask? The full Chinese sentence is 我花了许多心血在房间的摆设上。整间房子里面,随处都可以发现我的心血。 I try to think about some alternatives, but haven't find out a perfect translation. One alternative is hard work, but I think not very proper. Hard work emphasizes a work is "hard". But 心血 emphasizes 呕心沥血. Hard work is not strong enough to describe 呕心沥血. Master piece can describe 呕心沥血, but is too strong. One may spend a lot of time thinking, overcoming many obstacles, and making it out, but it is not necessary to be a master piece. So, is there any proper translation of 心血 in this scenario? Thank you.

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一番心血 is a painstaking/ strenuous effort

Examples:

這裡一草一木,一磚一瓦都是我的心血 - Every plant and tree here, every brick and tile here is (the result of) my painstaking effort

嫦娥探月計劃是無數中國人的心血成果 - The Chang'e lunar exploration project is the result of the painstaking effort of countless Chinese people (心血 here is an adjectival noun)

千方百計讓兒子上了醫大,他卻中途退學,枉費了我一番心血- I did everything possible to get my son to go to the University of Medicine, but he dropped out of school halfway through, and it wasted my painstaking effort

endeavor 4. (noun): a strenuous effort; attempt.

You can translate 心血 as painstaking effort, strenuous effort, or endeavor

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  • Thank you very much! Which one is a common usage? Thank you! – Superuser Dec 7 '20 at 8:42
  • @Superuser - 'painstaking effort' is bolded, that's the one closest to 心血. Use 'strenuous effort' if you want to underemphasize the emotional aspect of the term, and using 'endeavor ' would almost remove all the emotional aspect, make it a more matter of fact sentiment – Tang Ho Dec 7 '20 at 8:49
  • You can say "sweat and blood," but that suggests more physical effort than the example in the question, and can suggest actual danger, – Colin McLarty Dec 7 '20 at 17:14
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In the context of the sentence, how about "labor of love"? which means "...a piece of hard work that you do because you enjoy it and not because you will receive money or praise for it, or because you need to do it"

At first I was thinking, "lifeblood", but it does not fit the context though there is a common element of "blood"

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In German, there is "Herzblut" (literally: "heart-blood"), which may mean pretty much the same: "Da steckt viel Herzblut drin." ("This took a lot of passion.")

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  • Is it well-known enough in English to be used in day to day speech? I hear English speakers use the French term "Déjà vu" very often – Tang Ho Dec 7 '20 at 11:40
  • I guess it's not, but it could indeed be a candidate. – user22495 Dec 7 '20 at 13:16
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    @TangHo No English speaker would understand the German word unless they also spoke German--unlike the 'deja vu' example, this German word has not been borrowed into English. Translating the idiom as "heart's blood" might be understood, but it would look like a novel and poetic usage. – Tiercelet Dec 7 '20 at 17:01

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