Questions tagged [translation]

Questions on specific points regarding translating Chinese to/from another language. Do your own research first!

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23
votes
5answers
4k 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「...
16
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5answers
1k 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 ...
15
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3answers
997 views

What is the meaning of 当仁不让?

I was browsing the Chinese internet looking for a bank that supports Mac OS when I came across this site. They list a range of different banks under a range of different headings, the first of which ...
13
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8answers
2k views

How to translate: 人是铁,饭是钢,一顿不吃烦得慌. What is the logic?

人是铁,饭是钢,一顿不吃烦得慌 I can not really figure out to translate this sentence. I guess it basically means that not eating is a bad thing. The first sentences - do they indicate that "iron" and "steel" ...
12
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4answers
11k views

权力的游戏 - Game of Thrones names - latest episode - SPOILERS

So I'm practicing by reading Game of Throne tweets and it's the names and naming that gets me. Here's the tweet and 5 questions on names and naming conventions. 权力的游戏S04E08。野人袭击鼹鼠村;拉姆斯夺下卡林湾,...
11
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3answers
930 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?
11
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1answer
744 views

Three-digit year in date on Chinese document

For work, I occasionally have to translate foreign language documents. I've been running into a lot of Chinese (simplified) documents that have a date listed as YYY/MM/DD. Why is the year only 3 ...
11
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2answers
130 views

Authoritative source for translators

For translators, is there an authoritative source they go to where they can check translations are accurate? For example say there was a political conference and someone wasn't sure if the word ...
10
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6answers
3k views

What is the equivalent of “make sense” in Chinese?

I am trying to explain the phrase "make sense" to my cousin, who is learning English. The dictionary suggests "有意义", but I believe that "有意义" is "meaningful" and that "make sense" should be "讲得通", "...
10
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4answers
761 views

What is the original Chinese text to “liquid jade”?

The Wikipedia article on the history of tea mentions that Laozi described tea as "the froth of the liquid jade." What is the original text in Chinese? If the original text cannot be found, could I ...
10
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4answers
2k views

How is adding oil going to beneficial to the situation? 加油

Is anyone able to explain the history behind this cheer? At the face of it I'm unsure how this could be a cheer as 加 translate to add/plus/apply and 油 translates to oil/fat/grease you would think ...
10
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5answers
9k 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.
10
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3answers
485 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
667 views

How to translate/understand “还不” in “还不是因为爱”

Just realized that the 还不 part of speech in phrases such as "还不是因为爱", "还不都怪你" is quite tricky. How do you translate it into English?
10
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5answers
4k views

Chinese equivalent of: 'ew'?

When disgusted by something people will usually say, 'ew, yuck!' or 'ew, gross.' Is there an equivalent of 'ew' in Mandarin? The only things I was able to find about it (here) - just explain what '...
9
votes
4answers
14k 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: ...
9
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5answers
555 views

In this sentence, 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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10answers
2k views

How to translate “你给我滚” properly?

In a sentence like: “你给我拿一杯水” You would translate it something like: Get me a glass of water. How is the "给我" in the sentence “你给我滚” supposed to be translated? Should it just be "Get lost / Piss ...
9
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3answers
629 views

How to translate “很不起眼儿” in English

What's the best (传神) translation of "很不起眼儿" in English? 例句: 不认识他的人觉得他很不起眼儿,认识他的人觉得他很优秀。 辨析: A more formal term that related to "很不起眼儿" is "其貌不扬", but "其貌不扬" will normally be "很不起眼儿", yet "很不起眼儿" ...
9
votes
2answers
274 views

How to explain 讲 in 讲礼貌 and 讲卫生

In my understanding 讲礼貌 translates as 'be polite' and 讲卫生 is something like 'be clean', but how should I explain the 讲 to a new speaker? I take this as a set phrase, but is there a way to translate ...
9
votes
7answers
16k views

”委屈“ in English?

In Chinese, ”委屈“ has the meaning of being treated unfairly and consequently felt bad but didn't dare to complain. "be upset" doesn't necessarily imply being treated unfairly. "be wronged" doesn't ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

V + 到。。。。头上来: Exact meaning and how to use?

I know that the abovementioned formula expresses a negative result, but I am not exactly sure how to translate it. Some questions: 1 How to translate it well into English? 2 Can I use it ...
9
votes
2answers
684 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 ...
8
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5answers
616 views

How to say “I wouldn't go so far as to say…” in Mandarin

I'm searching for a common way to say "I wouldn't go so far as to say that" in Mandarin. The only translation of this expression, that I found in a dictionary, is : It's good, but I wouldn't go so ...
8
votes
7answers
4k views

How can I translate 不客气 here?

I'm doing some translations of New Practical Chinese Reader 2. In lesson 17, there's a dialog between two people, and 不客气 appears as a reply to compliments rather than someone saying 谢谢。Is it supposed ...
8
votes
8answers
4k views

Never mind in Chinese

I ask someone a question, but then realize I already know the answer. In English, I'd say: "Oh wait, never mind." What's 口语 for "never mind" in this context?
8
votes
4answers
974 views

爱老虎油 - is it slang?

Seen this phrase written by a Chinese person: 爱老虎油 [ài lǎo​hǔ yóu] What does it mean? Failed to find it in dictionaries. Is it some slang or 白话?
8
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4answers
2k views

Chinese Seal on silk painting - what does it mean?

I have inherited a beautiful Chinese silk artwork. I would like to know what age it is and what the script and seal mean. Much appreciated if anyone can help
8
votes
8answers
2k views

How do you say “I know that I don't know”?

How would I translate ""I know that I don't know" into Chinese? I can translate the similar sentence "I know that you don't know" as 我知道你不知道. However, saying 我知道我不知道 sounds strange. What's the best ...
8
votes
1answer
549 views

Standards: Japanese - Chinese Name Translations

Very rarely will you see a Japanese name in Chinese without 汉字. What rules are there for translating Japanese names into Chinese? Take for instance the name Yoshi (よし) 汉字 include: 与四、与志、与子、与士、与司, ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

How to say a negative number in Mandarin?

There are plenty of posts for rules on numbers, but I can't seem to figure out how one would say, for example, -5 (negative five). I know that negative number is 负数, so would it just be 负五?
8
votes
4answers
297 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.
8
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2answers
2k views

How to say “Please, go in front of me” when standing in a queue?

Imagine You stand in a queue in a super market and you want to let the person behind you in front of you. I have tried to translate it these ways: 请,在我前 去 吧 (putting only an adverbial in front of ...
8
votes
5answers
2k 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
6answers
25k views

How to say “hope you'll have a great day”?

I was writing a card to a friend and wanted to finish with "Hope you'll have a great day" but realised what I could think of wasn't quite the same meaning, or just sounded odd/weird. What I wrote in ...
8
votes
4answers
256 views

What's the origin of 外子?

When I was young, I read Traditional Chinese Reader's Digest. I noticed that the translation of husband is 外子. That's the first time I noticed this usage. Anyone has any clue about why this is being ...
8
votes
3answers
722 views

For video games terminology, what is the proper translation for “range”

I'm playing around with my mother tongue so I tried to translate sentences that I might write into Chinese. One of them was this sentence, in English. "The great strength of Annie comes from the long ...
8
votes
1answer
665 views

How can I say “a class in Chinese” (and not “a Chinese class”)?

As far as I know 汉语课 (along with 中文课) means only "Chinese class" = "a class for learning Chinese" (and it may be in English, Chinese, or any other language). I'm wondering how to succinctly say "a ...
8
votes
2answers
212 views

漏拆 - Meaning & usage?

I tried several sources & can't find a translation that seems correct. An example sentence & my attempt at translation: 嘴里漏拆了一根线怎么办? mouth inside left behind remove a strip of thread what ...
7
votes
2answers
803 views

Why 你在笑什么?, why not 你笑在什么?

In English, you say What are you laughing at? I'm laughing at this situation. Here, the preposition "at" refers to "this situation" and "what", respectively. In German it's more clear, since the ...
7
votes
2answers
519 views

What is written in this satellite photograph?

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.
7
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3answers
660 views

Why is Economic translated to “經濟”?

I know that it's a translation from Japanese, but I do not know why it becomes this. Could someone explain it in detail?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Difference between 常常 and 往往

I'm fairly certain I understand how to use 常常,but I don't know if 往往 is used any differently (they both have the same translations). Are there any differences in usage I should be aware of?
7
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5answers
1k views

What's the meaning of “不见面也有不见面的好”?

I really couldn't understand the meaning of this sentences. 见面 means to meet, to see 不见面 means not meet, not see. 不见面也有不见面的好。 But I really couldn't get what it is saying.
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the proper usage of 而已 in Chinese?

I always hear Chinese people making sentences using 而已 - but I've never quite, 100%, understood how to use this in sentences myself. What is the correct way to apply it, and what is the English ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Is this a Chinese Proverb?

I found this proverb which I'm not sure about what is its origin: He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever. Is this really a known chinese proverb? ...
7
votes
6answers
790 views

Is there a word for “kosher”?

I'm looking for a translation of the word kosher in it's most strict sense: a food that is apt according to the jewish law. Google translates kosher as 犹太, but if I'm not mistaken, that just means "...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

How are ambiguous “brother” and “sister” typically translated into Chinese?

Like several other languages, Standard Chinese has different words for "older brother" (哥哥), "younger brother" (弟弟), "older sister" (姐姐) and "younger sister" (妹妹). However, many languages don't ...
7
votes
1answer
681 views

Expressing “tea is not just a drink”

I encountered a misunderstanding today due to my poor Chinese language skill. What could I have done better? I was standing in a German hospital and a native Chinese asked me if I wanted tea or ...
7
votes
3answers
175 views

The interpretation of a sentence in the Qieyun (切韵) preface

The Qieyun is a rhyme book written by the scholar Lu Fayan 陆法言 in 601 CE, during the Sui dynasty. In my degree thesis I'm trying to analyse some aspects of this particular work. Recently, I managed ...