On Wiktionary there are two ways listed for saying "such is life" / "c'est la vie" in Chinese. Both look like literal translations:

  1. 這就是生活, 这就是生活 (zhè jiùshì shēnghuó)
  2. 生活就是這樣, 生活就是这样 (shēnghuó jiùshì zhèyàng)

But when I get Google Translate to translate "c'est la vie" from English to Chinese it produces two more options:

  1. (上)力威 (either with or without the "上")

I realize the phrase is originally French of course but it's very common in English. I'm curious to know whether this has any meaning at all in Chinese since I can't make sense of it.

  • 3
    力威 has no real Chinese meaning. Apparently it is just a phonetic translation of `la vie'.
    – user58955
    Commented Feb 8, 2014 at 12:47
  • 1
    At least you should use french translator=,= Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 1:21
  • Obviously "(上)力威" is a mistake of Google translate. "这就是生活" is correct.
    – j5shi
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 4:32
  • The problem with French to Chinese translators like Google Translate is that they actually translate to English as an intermediary step. It's one of the most common loan phrases used in English so I was curious to see how it was handled. Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 5:56

3 Answers 3


"(上)力威" has no meaning in Chinese. "這就是生活/这就是生活/生活就是這樣/生活就是这样" is correct.

  • Upvoted. The direct literal translation is the best here. Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 22:25
  • 3
    For a more idiomatic (but fatalistic) version, you can try "这就是命". Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 4:58
  • Agree with @congusbongus, in Chinese it's more like 'such is destiny' "这就是命" Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 6:08

If you mean something along the lines of "what're ya gonna do", then I think 没办法 also works. However, saying 这就是命 or 这就是生活, as some posters above have noted both sound correct to me.

  • Yes, in the resigned sense of 'oh well, that's just how things are, there's nothing we can do about it.' 没办法 seems the most idiomatic/natural alternative to me.
    – neubau
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 3:42
  • Yeah, that was what I was going for. I guess it is the pessimistic POV.
    – SherMM
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 20:13

The correct translation of " this is life" isn't " 這就是生活" but "這就是人生" people often confused 生活 (living) with 生命 (a life) and 人生(one's life)

As of "這就是命", it is translated as " this is fate" in English . 命 as in 命運 (fate)

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