Questions tagged [translation]

Questions on specific points regarding translating Chinese. Do your own research first!

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9 votes
8 answers
3k views

How do I self-answer "What does this say?"

We get a lot of translation requests at Chinese.SE, and while we'd like to help, there's sometimes very little about the Chinese language in the question, and a lot about the procedure for obtaining ...
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

b and p, d and t, k and g etc. in English and Cantonese

Many words in Cantonese which I think should be pronounced as b, d, g, are translated by the British to p, t, k, respectively. For example, a place in Hong Kong called 大埔 and is pronounced as Dai Bo ...
5 votes
6 answers
3k views

Why use combined characters that have the same meaning?

(rèn shí ) both characters means ( to know)and when combined it still have the same meaning. So why can't I use only one of them ?
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

What do these two characters on cufflinks signify? (Characters identified: 福 and 壽/夀)

I was given a pair of gold cufflinks by my grandfather who was in Shanghai 100 years ago. Each shows a Chinese character (Mandarin, I guess) and I would like to know what these mean. However I have ...
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10 votes
10 answers
21k views

How to translate "暧昧" into English?

Many dictionaries translate it to "ambiguity",but it looks so indefinitely. I'm looking for more expressive answer.
10 votes
2 answers
777 views

Help translating 海南鸡饭 - 2

I've come across Zhang Shaolin's Hoi-nam kai-fan (characters 海南鸡饭, lyrics only in subtitles), a song in Hakka. It is split into three parts. This question concentrates on part 2, part 1 being here and ...
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4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Meaning of seal and engraved characters on teapot

I came across an old teapot with inscriptions, but since I don’t speak Chinese, I have no means to know what is written on it. There are two columns of five characters (four columns with twenty ...
3 votes
2 answers
653 views

Help translating 海南鸡饭 - 3

I've come across Zhang Shaolin's Hoi-nam kai-fan (characters 海南鸡饭, lyrics only in subtitles), a song in Hakka. It is split into three parts. This question concentrates on part 3, part 2 being here and ...
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3 votes
2 answers
805 views

Help translating 海南鸡饭

I've come across Zhang Shaolin's Hoi-nam kai-fan (characters 海南鸡饭, lyrics only in subtitles), a song in Hakka. It is split into three parts. This question concentrates on part 1, part 2 being here and ...
  • 2,300
19 votes
5 answers
3k views

How do we know what characters correspond to Chinese names?

Recently I've asked "How do we choose the correct characters for a westerner name?", and now, I'm facing a similar, yet kind of different problem, which I think applies to any westerner or Chinese ...
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13 votes
3 answers
1k views

How will translate "谁让你" into English?

How will translate "谁让你" into English? For example, 我不得不服从你的安排。 谁让你是我的老板呢?
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9 votes
2 answers
672 views

What is written in this satellite photograph? (Characters identified: 忠于毛主席)

What is written in Chinese at this location 40.449787, 116.548828 on Google maps? Tried using translators. But didn't find any feasible answer for this. I used Google translator and wrote these ...
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6 votes
4 answers
4k views

How to say "I prefer x over y"?

For example: I prefer eating fried rice over fried chicken. How to say that in chinese? How about this? 我较喜欢吃炒饭比炸鸡 我炒饭比炸鸡较喜欢吃
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6 votes
4 answers
3k views

What is the difference between 参加 and 参与?

I have been using these interchangeably, until today I was corrected, being told that one "参加活动”, not "参与活动“. I then looked up the definition, but it wasn't too helpful. How do I know when to use ...
5 votes
3 answers
82k views

What does 已出口直封 mean?

My first question here, sorry if it's not a good fit. I am tracking a parcel in Chinese, but I do not know what 已出口直封 means. I know that 广州互换局 means Guangzhou exchange bureau/office, and 已出口开拆 means ...
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5 votes
1 answer
329 views

Differences: 信息 vs 讯息?

What are the differences between: 信息 vs 讯息? Perhaps 信 is more related to the mailing? Perhaps 讯 is more related to the information? Perhaps 息 is related to the breathing?
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5 votes
1 answer
256 views

A more direct translation for "I [verb] [x] more than [y]"

I don't know how to directly translate a sentence like this: I [verb] [x] more than [y] I would usually translate it like this: [x] 比 [y] 更 [some adjective that captures the same meaning as the ...
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4 votes
4 answers
877 views

What is the meaning of 一看 in 打开盒子一看,里面是一只小猫?

打开盒子一看,里面是一只小猫 Is it the same as 看看 or 看一看?
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Using 色 with colors [duplicate]

I'm making something to teach students Chinese colors... Let's say they have to match a color to a square- Is it okay to just use 红, 蓝, 紫, etc on each block just as long as they know 色 means color... ...
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4 votes
2 answers
282 views

Help please me find out what this means

I’m looking to find out what this means. Please help was handed down to me from my family
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4 votes
3 answers
357 views

Adverbs that don't use 地

So I know that to make an adverb, you use 'de/di' and put it before the verb like: 我兴奋地打开了我的礼物 But in my studies this week I saw this: ...病症的人逐年增加 and 逐渐成长为独立 Am I right in thinking that ...
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3 votes
2 answers
246 views

Can " 天空一片蔚藍 " also be "一片蔚藍天空"? And translation please?

Can " 天空一片蔚藍 " also be "一片蔚藍天空"? And what's the reason? Could "天空是一片蔚藍" be correct too? Also can someone give a good translation? I just translate it as "An azure blue sky". I might be over ...
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

I am happy for you (on your behalf): difference between 為你開心 and 當妳開心?

Assume a friend earns a promotion, and you want to say, "I'm happy for you." In English, there is a difference in meaning when you say: I am happy because of you: suggests you do things that make me ...
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2 votes
2 answers
191 views

Translation of "this much and no more"

I found this sentence and its English translation on tatoeba.org: 我知道的就這麼多了。 Beyond this I know nothing. Now I'm trying to parse the sentence structure, and I'd like some confirmation or a ...
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2 votes
3 answers
2k views

怎么用汉语说 ”early/mid/late 20's" 或 “low/mid/high" 20's"?

比如,如果我要翻译: The temperature in Beijing tomorrow will be in its low/mid/late 20's 或者 I'm guessing she's in her early/mid/(high or upper) 20's 要怎么翻译? 更新: 1.)一般来说,early/low 等于 20-23, mid 等于 24-...
1 vote
1 answer
589 views

What are these characters on old brass stamps?

These brass stamps were found by a relative in China ~1917. I'm wondering what the inscriptions mean. The smaller one in the likeness of an elephant is worn and discolored.
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0 votes
2 answers
231 views

What does this symbol mean?

I'm trying to figure out the meaning of this symbol.
0 votes
2 answers
307 views

Difference between 问 and 让 "to ask"

How do 问 and 让 differ in meaning and in what sort of situations would you use either of them? In chinese.yabla.com there are a lot of different verbs with the meaning 'to ask'.
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27 votes
5 answers
7k views

Why is Russia translated to 俄罗斯(E Luo Si)?

The Chinese Wikipedia article describes the name of Russia, and many of its historical Chinese exonyms. 按照俄语发音“Россия”,其名称应翻译为“羅西亚”。元朝时根据蒙古语译为「斡羅思」[b],到清朝初年许多文献中曾称为「羅剎」[c],但在以国家相称时则多译为「鄂羅斯」[d]或「...
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13 votes
4 answers
22k views

Why 干菜类 was mistakenly translated to Fuck Vegetables?

In the following famous sign which appeared in some supermarket in China: why 干菜类 was mistakenly translated to Fuck Vegetables instead of Dried Vegetables? Is there any hidden meaning in it? Source: ...
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13 votes
6 answers
14k views

What does 民以食为天 mean?

How to translate the old saying "民以食为天"? Would that be "Food is the priority of populace"? That doesn't sound right to me, though.
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11 votes
3 answers
737 views

Asking "what's the pinyin/character for X?"

How do we ask someone to "translate" a character or some pinyin into the other one? The expressions I'm referring to are: What's the pinyin for this/that (character)/... ? What's the character ...
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10 votes
4 answers
429 views

Which expressions should I choose to say “thanks for your help”?

If I want to say "Thanks for your help", which sentence is correct and which one is more commonly used? 谢谢你的帮忙 谢谢你的帮助 It seems that the first one is more uncommon but I'm not really sure.
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10 votes
5 answers
709 views

In 你说的是什么?, what is the purpose of 的?

Consider this sentence: 你说的是什么? I understand that 的 permits creating adjectives, like 我的 would be "my". But here, I can’t see how it works. What is its purpose?
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10 votes
5 answers
3k views

What is the meaning of 真是的

What is a meaning of 真是的. I heard for many times in context something like 你真是的! And yet I have doubts about proper meaning of this expression.
8 votes
4 answers
501 views

That mystical 就 again

Here is a sentence: 厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳 Below are my translation variants. Bold letters should be a 'jiu' english analog here. The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace scared Harry the most. ...
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7 votes
3 answers
1k views

How do you say "there aren't people I can talk to"? 没有对他们可以说话的人?

How do you say "there aren't people I can talk to" ? 没有对他们可以说话的人?or else "the person with whom I had a fight last week is now a friend" and all those sentences that require with/to/etc.?
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7 votes
2 answers
9k views

Subway door announcement mystery

I think probably every metro system around the world has to have an audio announcement warning passengers to stay away from the train's doors as they're closing. Here in New York, a pre-recorded voice ...
6 votes
1 answer
94 views

how to translate "何如" in 呂氏春秋?

this question is made, and answer provided; in response to a comment in another question: How to translate the phrase 利而物利章 in context? cause, my explanation is too long to put in the comment area; ...
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6 votes
6 answers
5k views

Is “事出必有因” the most accurate translation for "everything happens for a reason"?

Is “事出必有因” the most accurate translation for "everything happens for a reason"? If not, what is it?
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6 votes
2 answers
2k views

For magazines or books, how much does "text volume" differ when comparing Chinese to English or German?

For a magazine, I know from a personal source that English text, when translated properly from German, fills out two thirds of the space the German source text usually takes up. Does anyone know how ...
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6 votes
4 answers
616 views

Does 从来 translate to "always"?

Does anyone know if 从来 translates to "always"? And if it is, is it used in the same way? For example if I want to say: "I always buy oranges", would that be “我从来买橘子”?
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6 votes
5 answers
823 views

Loanwords with Chinese Equivalents

How many loanwords in Chinese have Chinese equivalents? Example: 三文鱼 is a loanword, borrowed from English, meaning salmon, but Chinese also has the word 鲑鱼 meaning salmon. Are there a lot of these ...
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5 votes
4 answers
1k views

Translating the two meanings of 好自为之

My dictionary gives the meaning of 好自为之 as "look out for yourself". This is a positive thing you might say out of genuine concern for another person, and I think this was also the case with the ...
5 votes
5 answers
1k views

In Chinese, how can I describe someone as being cynical?

cynical as in "believing the worst of human nature and motives; having a sneering disbelief in e.g. selflessness of others."
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5 votes
2 answers
277 views

Is 你好,北京 grammatical?

Today Victoria Beckham tweeted it. But is this reverse form (as opposed to 北京,你好) correct?
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5 votes
1 answer
133 views

are there any free bilingual sources of chinese proverb?

In reference to the thread Is this [Ivanka Trump] Chinese proverb real? —“Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it” and related news, I've created this question, and ...
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4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Does Chinese require more context to avoid ambiguities than English?

After some time learning Chinese, I feel Chinese language is more ambiguous than English or Spanish, in the sense that a single sentence without some context can easily have multiple distinct meanings,...
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4 votes
4 answers
1k views

"did not come": 没来 vs 没来了

I translated "The student did not come" as "学生没来了" but the answer was "学生没来" (i.e. 了 is omitted). This answer confuses me because it doesn't contain any indication of past action; i.e. I would ...
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4 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is there any official way to translate Chinese names into English?

Is there any official way to translate Chinese names into English? Chinese is of course: surname + name, usually when translated into English why is the same formatting kept? 毛泽东 is usually written ...
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