Questions tagged [meaning-in-context]

Questions concerned understanding of individual words or phrases, considering a context in which these words and phrases are expressed.

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What does 开题 mean here?

I'm supposed to write a thesis for my 成人教育 course. A teacher has been appointed. I can only contact him by email and I think he only looks at his email once a month, there is a long latency period. I ...
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What does “射個三分波” mean?

I was watching a video from Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper, and they mentioned the phrase in question as such: “港鐵就射個三分波 叫我們問政府”. My guess is that 三分波 refers to an action in some sport, possibly ...
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Meaning of “绽开来” in 这句话让她脸上的皱纹菊花般绽开来?

她的话音刚落,一直在旁边默默无语的老公说道:“我们就是后一种。”这句话让她脸上的皱纹菊花般绽开来。" Just after she spoke, her husband who'd been staying in silence beside her said, "We're the latter kind." This remark made the wrinkles on her face.....
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What does the first part of 它一把拉着我跳回了家,我成了兔子,而它成了我的模样 mean?

I've taken to reading short essays written by grade-five children (五年纪作文). In 沙发上的兔子 (Rabbit on the Sofa), there's an image of a rabbit on the sofa, and when the child falls asleep, the child turns ...
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Operational Procedure = liu shui; which characters?

I hear the term "liu shui" often which means something like business procedure, or procedure (a row of actions). now I am wondering what the correct characters for this (slang?) term may be. 流水 ...
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Why does “these aren't the droids you're looking for” translate to 这些不是你要找的机器人?

这些不是你要找的机器人 These aren't the droids you're looking for. Chinese Class 101 Question: Why does "these aren't the droids you're looking for" translate to 这些不是你要找的机器人? I have two particular points ...
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What does “你舒服吗” mean in a relationship context?

I was practicing speaking Chinese with a native-speaking learning partner and used the phrase “你舒服吗” while referring to whether one is stressed out or relaxed. The partner told me that it's unusual ...
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What does 我们已经帮您踩过了 mean in this peculiarly translated escalator sticker?

I have this funny image which I believe says: 这块位置 我们已经帮您踩过了! I took this photo in Tianjin, nearby an escalator. Google Translate says it means: This location. We've helped you step over! ...
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《庄子》人间世篇名读音及其解释讨论(Zhuangzi discussion)

《庄子》内七篇,曰:逍遥游、齐物论、养生主、人间世、德充符、大宗师、应帝王。 吾见今主流皆解人间世篇名作人间社会,而亦有异见作人处社会解,甚以为然。 庄子善寓言、重言、卮言。人间世多假人口而述己,略可剖为:颜回请行孔子,叶公子高使齐语孔子,颜阖傅太子而问蘧伯玉,匠石不顾栎社,南伯子綦异大木,孔子适楚遇接舆 等章。 纵观南华,庄子喻人以处己,而非论世以砭弊,故也人间世作人处世,读去声,明矣。 ...
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Can 九十 = “ninety” also mean “nine or ten” (like how 三四 means “three or four”)?

It's normal in Chinese to say something like: 他大概三四岁左右 (source) he is probably around 3 or 4 years old This is called Approximating with sequential numbers on the Chinese Grammar Wiki. However, ...
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How should I translate 载体 here?

This text is talking about 苗族人酷爱银饰。 When I look up 载体 I find things I don't really understand, like: vector, carrier. I find: 用来承载软体的媒介。 银饰早已不是单纯的装饰品,而是植根于苗族社会生活的文化载体。 I'd like to translate 文化载体 as ...
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Do 自 and 起 work together here?

This text is talking about the lights in 广州湛涌村。 由于如秋后,广州的日照时间缩短,自花苗上盆起,花农们就会利用电灯补光来延迟花期。 This bit confused me (I'm easily confused). Is it right that 自 ... 起 work together as 'from when' or '...
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Does 到了现在我才清楚了解当时的情况 imply that the situation is completely clear, or just that it's clearer than before?

This question is related to Writing critique request: Zhou Ziwang's father takes her to the "doctor". In particular: English version: These days I have a clearer understanding of the ...
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What does 打着饱嗝 and 嫌缸沿脏 and 踩上去蹲在上面 mean in the novel 活着 p.7?

I've started reading 活着 which is supposedly a good book for new readers. However, I'm having trouble understanding this part on page 7 (my translation). [Warning: it's about poop.] 我爹走到了城里,...
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What does 老得 mean?

我老得麻烦同事。 What does 老得 means in here? Does it mean I'm too old and have to bother colleagues constantly. I find an example, 我老得不能养猫了。 I'm too old to have a cat.
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What does 上 mean as in 抱歉我没帮上忙?

I could roughly understand the meaning of the sentence. Sorry, I didn't help much. By the simple Chinese-English dictionary, 上 means up get on good superior There are tons of meanings by the ...
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Translate 主播 in this context

This article is talking about speaking books, e-books. 与国外相比,中国的有声书产业尚处于起步阶段,行业规模和标准亟待统一。此外,优秀主播的培养也是一大缺口。 Normally, 主播 refers to a TV or radio anchor person, the host of a show. That makes no sense ...
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What is 装 and 连 doing in this paragraph about a newt in a glass from Matilda? E.g. 她再看那装着蝾螈的玻璃杯

This is from the Chinese version of Matilda (p.182): 那蝾螈仍旧在那个高玻璃杯装的水里扭来扭去,看起来让人极不舒服。杯子对它来说太小了。玛帝尔达看着特朗奇布尔,她多么恨她呀。她再看那装着蝾螈的玻璃杯,恨不得跑过去把它拿起来连蝾螈带水泼在特朗奇布尔的头上。她想到她真这样做了的话特朗奇布尔会怎样对待她,不禁发起抖来。 The original ...
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Literal versus contextual translation of 斷腸

I saw in the translation of a set of Chinese lyrics that 斷腸 was translated into 'heartbroken' or 'broken heart'. This is a curious case where there is already a common expression for heart broken - ...
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How does 你的健康都难得到保证,就更别说幸福了 work?

From 标准教程HSK4上(p.124; nearly finished this book!): 当你生病了,如果由于缺钱而不能及时去看医生,你的健康都难得到保证,就更别说幸福了。 I translate this to: When you're sick, if because of lack of money [you] cannot promptly visit the ...
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Why does 兴奋 (excitement) not mean what I think it means?

I wrote this: 我觉得小夏后悔过去的比赛,小夏回忆没进球也也许让一个好机会错过。所以小夏在房间里老坐着。马克想帮助小夏带他去足球比赛再体验足球的兴奋,让小夏高兴点儿。 My teacher made the following corrections (my question relates to the 5-th item below): she deleted the ...
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Why is Little Lin's nose bleeding? 还不习惯北方的气候,估计是天气太干。

This snippet is from 标准教程HSK4上 chapter 7 (my translation): 小李:你的鼻子怎么流血了?快用纸擦擦。 Little Li: Your nose is [how] bleeding? Quickly get a tissue and wipe [it]. 小林:我还不习惯北方的气候,估计是天气太干。今天天气不是很冷,...
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Is 让 more [make] than [let]?

Based on someone’s answer on question regarding how to state unpleasantness in Chinese: 让 (to make) implies "to force/ to order". If something has to be forced upon you, that something is most ...
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How to state unpleasantness in written form? let becomes make

In English, unpleasantness can be stated by changing let to make. Classmate sharing pleasant things to classmate: My parents let me eat chocolates. 我父母让我吃巧克力 Classmate complaining to classmate: ...
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How to interpret 重地上,轻地下?

I think this is an oblique reference to 孙子兵法,but in a modern context it just means: 'the government only cares about what is above ground, what is beneath the ground is unimportant' 女:...
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Meaning of 閒日 (cantonese)

In the sentence 唔知佢點解,佢閒日唔會打電話嚟。 What is the meaning of 閒日? The official translation given by my reference is “weekdays”, but when i searched this in the dictionary, the meaning given is “free time”. ...
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Is the 健 in 健忘 (“forgetful”) ironic?

The word 健忘 looks like a contradictio in adiecto: "healthy" + "forget". Am I missing something?
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Does 差不多 (chàbùduō) imply “slightly less than” when comparing quantities?

差 implies a kind of deficiency, so I expect A比B差不多 to mean A is slightly "worse" than B in some way. For example, I would expect 我比你差不多高 to imply I am slightly shorter than you. I'm not sure ...
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What part of speech is 到 (to) when used in this case?

I was having trouble with the sentence "两只饿到眼绿的老鼠正在房梁上打架" because I could not understand the usage of 到 here. After I spent some time thinking I figure the meaning is that the rats were hungry to the ...
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What does 足有 mean?

I found this in Matilda (p.13): 这本书的这一版本足有四百一十一页。 that edition contained four hundred and eleven pages. [original English (ref.)] the book's [这本书的] edition [这一版本] has (?) [足有] 411 pages [...
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What is 给 doing in 你给宠坏了 and 一个人给丢在家里 (Matilda 玛蒂尔达, p.7)?

I bought the Chinese version of Matilda, and I'm confused about this: Specifically, I'm confused about why 给 (usually meaning "to give") is in these phrases: 你给宠坏了 You're getting spoiled [...
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What does the word 'field' mean in this context?

I edit a manuscript for non-chinese-speakers. The writer was an expert in Chinese language and literature. I want to learn, but I am not a native speaker. So, I have difficulty in interpreting how ...
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172 views

What does 我正好是诗情勃发 mean in the Chinese translation of Roald Dahl's Matilda (p.2)?

I went to a library the other day and found Roald Dahl's Matilda. I started reading, and I found what I think might be a typo (but maybe not---Roald Dahl has a quirky writing style): My ...
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What should I picture when I read 终端?

I have a text talking about a GPS system. 北斗卫星 导航 系统 北斗系统终端不仅可以为船只导航,还能通过其特有的短报文通信技术,报告船只位置和随航人员的情况。 Should I just picture a computer terminal when I read 终端? A screen where I can see information ...
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Function of “也” in “一点儿也不喜欢”

In the sentence "我一点儿也不喜欢这件衣服", translated as "I don't like this piece of clothing at all", what is the function of "也"? Is it valid to think of this syntax as "not even a little bit [do I like this ...
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How to use 走勢 in finance/tech industry

I'm struggling to clearly understand how to use the term 走勢. I've been told that this translates to "trend" but I'm not clear if this suggests trend in terms of general popularity, or trend in terms ...
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Lost Postcard Shop

I travelled to Shanghai a long time ago and recently got to come back for CPhI. I returned to Tianzifang, where I bought these beautiful poscards, and though I can speak and read some Chinese, I ...
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Can 吃 be used for liquids?

I was confused by the lyrics of the children's song 三个和尚: 一个和尚挑水吃 两个和尚抬水吃 三个和尚没水吃呀 三个和尚没水吃 没水吃呀 I've seen other versions of the song that use 喝 instead of 吃, which makes more sense to me....
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How widespread is the idiom 蘑菇?

I have seen the word for mushroom [蘑菇, mógū] to be an action such as dilly dally. Is this an inherent idiom in the written language apparent across a large spectrum of dialect, whereas the word ...
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154 views

How does do (做) mean become (成)?

In the sentence ‘I want to be[come] a policeman’, why is the verb for ‘become’, ‘do’? 我想做一个警察。 Wǒ xiǎng zuò yīgè jǐngchá. I have seen one of the dictionary definitions of 做 to mean become, ...
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What does 经济生活 mean here?

I'm a bit stuck translating these 6 characters. What does he mean with : 经济生活途径? (Probably not 'economic life way') 记者对社会学者进行访谈。 记者:您认为目前人们交友的目的是什么? 学者:。。。。 在他们看来,现代都市的人际关系应该务实,...
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Is 香气袭人 only ever used for a good smell?

I was reading about 雪莲。 It says “雪莲花香袭人,” I'm pretty sure that ’香气袭人‘ is used to indicate a good smell, not a stench. Is that correct? However, 袭 seems to mean 'attack, assail'. In English, if a ...
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Does the single character 神 refer to “God” (the unique God, such as in e.g. Christianity) or just “god” or “deity”?

Some people get the single Chinese character 神 (shén) tattooed on them (e.g. 1 2) thinking it means "God". I suspect most of them are Christians, where it's a fundamental part of their beliefs that ...
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What's a good translation for 说法?

在我们这边是有这种说法——混血儿会比较聪明。 I know several meanings for it. 官方说法, Official statement; 讨说法, seek explanation or justice. 今日说法, talk about law. However, here 说法 means a kind of public opinion. Can it be ...
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55 views

What does 东突之敌 mean here?

I am reading the article titled 沙场骁将浩气长存——沉痛悼念杨勇同志 in 人民日報, published on 1983/01/22. It describes the combat tactics of PRC general 楊勇, who had just passed away. A passage reads: 第一旅在西关向城内进行主要攻击;...
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How does 遥望却间隔 translate to "Look at the distance?

A lyric from this song: https://mojim.com/cny111282x11x2.htm https://translate.google.com/#view=home&op=translate&sl=auto&tl=en&text=%E9%81%A5%E6%9C%9B%E5%8D%B4%E9%97%B4%E9%9A%94 遥望 ...
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1answer
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Meaning in car/wiring context

Whenever I try to use any available translator I've got strange results like "special for free light". 16款自由光专用 What can this sentence mean in car or electric wiring context?
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Why do we use 做 in 我太喜欢和他做朋友了 as “being”?

Sentence: 我太喜欢和他做朋友了 How can we use 做 in this meaning in other sentences? Where can I read more about it and what is the name of this "rule"? And what is the meaning of the 了 in this sentence?
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173 views

Translation of 白眼狼

十里桃花三生三世 To-the-Sky-King-Tang-Qi.pdf 可叹大师兄竟救了玄女,将一条白眼狼引入昆仑山。 Unfortunately, First Apprentice had looked after Xuan Nu, taken her in, and by so doing unleashed white-eyed terror upon Mount ...
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104 views

What is the meaning of 左右着 here?

How would you translate 左右着他们 here? What other phrase could I substitute for 左右着他们 here? 在古代的时候,科学水平还没那么高,人们对自然的认识也是有限的。因此,碰见灾难的时候,就会认为后神灵在左右着他们,所以人们祈求于神灵。 就会认为后神灵在左右着他们, then they might believe the ...