1

有一位经验丰富的老船长,一次返航中,天气恶劣,他们的船遇到了可怕的巨大风浪。正当水手们慌张得不知如何是好时,老船长命令水手们立刻打开货舱,使劲儿朝里面放水。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, segment 25. How to literally translate this:

正当水手们慌张得不知如何是好时,老船长命令水手们立刻打开货舱,使劲儿朝里面放水。

This is my try:

正当(just when)水手们(the sailors)慌张(flustered)得(?)不知(not knowing)如何(how)是好(is good)时(time),老船长(the old captain)命令(ordered or commanded)水手们(the sailors)立刻(immediately)打开(open)货舱(cargo hold),使劲儿(erhua of make an effort)朝(?)里面(inside)放水(turning on the water)。

As you can see only the second clause makes sense to me... I am far away from understanding the rest.

My specific questions:

1: 正当[...]时 means when? 正当 is pronounced zheng4 dang4 or or zheng4 dang1?

2: 慌张得: What exactly is its meaning? Remind me please the general use of 得 in this kind of cases.

3: 如何是好: Is it one word? What does it mean?

4: 使劲儿: What is its meaning?

5: 朝: Is it pronounced zhao1 or chao2? What does it mean?

6: 放水: It is something about water, but what exactly?

2 Answers 2

3

Maybe an old tea-clipper. They could sail Hongkong to London in 40 days!

正当:just when
慌张: flustered, agitated
慌张得不知如何是好: flustered (so that) not know what best to do
使劲: with all one's strength
朝:to, towards, into
放水:release water (into the hold to stabilize the ship, make the ship lay lower in the water, to make the ship less vulnerable to the weather.)

有一位经验丰富的老船长,
There was once a very experienced skipper,
一次返航中,
homeward bound, (maybe the hold was empty, having delivered a cargo to a foreign port)
天气恶劣,
(he) ran into vile weather,
他们的船遇到了可怕的巨大风浪。
the boat ran into violent wind and waves.

正当水手们慌张得不知如何是好时,
Just when the crew were flustered and did not know what to do,
老船长命令水手们立刻打开货舱,
the skipper ordered the crew to open the cargo hold,
使劲儿朝里面放水。
(and) with all their strength pump water in.

0

First of all, when you try to translate Chinese sentences into English, it is advised not to do word-by-word translation.

  1. As in “正当”, you don't need to seperate “正”(just) and “当”(when) but see them as a whole word.(while)
  2. “慌张得” or adj+得 basically means "be so adj that". “慌张” can be flustered or panicked. So “Subject + 慌张得” should be translated into " Subject be so panicked that ..."
  3. “如何是好” means "how(如何) is(是,be) good/appropriate(好)". But that doesn't sound right in English. The sentence omits a part "to do so" or 如何做是好(的). So the correct translation of 水手们不知道如何是好 is "The sailors don't know how to deal with it(the situation)".
  4. Direct translation of “使劲” is use(使)effort(劲), so the whole word means exert all one's strength (to do something).
  5. 朝(zhao1) means morning or daybreak. 朝(chao2) means towards. So here it pronounces chao2. (货仓)里面放水, pour water towards the inside of the cargo hold, or to make it confrom to English speech, fill the cargo hold with water.
  6. 放水, in which 放 means add, pour. So 放水 means fill something with water.

有一位经验丰富的老船长,

(Once) there was an old experienced captain,

一次返航中,

who was on a return journey.

天气恶劣,

The weather was vile,

他们的船遇到了可怕的巨大风浪。

and their ship ran into horrible wind and waves.

正当水手们慌张得不知如何是好时,

While the sailors were so panicked that they didn't know what to do,

老船长命令水手们立刻打开货舱,

the old captain ordered the sailors to open up the cargo hold,

使劲儿朝里面放水。

and fill it with water.

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.