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How to translate typical Chinese into Standard English

Recently, I translated a Chinese letter into English and found a series of typical Chinese expression. When translating those sentences, I had to get to know their internal meanings and express them in English naturally. Here I picked some examples for better understanding. Example 1: Source:见信如面,很久没有见到你了。 Translation: I hope that when reading my lines, you will feel like having my company. It has been a long time since we saw each other last time. We can see that the Chinese version is brief and concise, while the English one expresses in an opposite way. That is because English emphasizes on structure while Chinese the meaning. Sometimes we may also say “long time no see”, which in fact is an obvious Chinese expression. Example 2: Source: 温家宝在联合国说他当总理的 6 年多灾多难,可他没提到中国人民的多灾多难。 Translation: Wen Jiabao said that he experienced various natural disasters during his term of service as a prime minister in the past 6 years, but he never mentioned about the calamitous situation of the Chinese people. In source language we can see that it has mentioned “多灾多难” for twice, focusing on catastrophes and the difficult situation. However in target language, it uses “various natural disasters” and “the calamitous situation” instead. You may notice that Chinese tends to repetition, while English prefers different expressions. Example 3 Source: 不该说的话别说,不该做的事情别做。 Translation: Keep in mind not to say or do anything that you shouldn’t have to. Using a similar structure for two clauses, this is a typical Chinese expression for emphasizing and memorizing. But it is not suit for English, we can know it from the translation version which combines two clauses into one sentence. Lastly, we present the method of brewing rice wine for you in both Chinese and English. Take a glimpse of this traditional Chinese food translation and enjoy it.
  1. 将糯米用水浸泡4-5小时,将泡好的米蒸熟
  2. 将泡好的糯米倒进一个盆子里,浇少量冷水,使蒸热的糯米变松散,也浇冷水边搅拌。
  3. 让糯米自然冷却。
  4. 将甜酒粬压碎(一颗酒粬做5升米),然后均匀地拌进糯米中。
  5. 将拌好的糯米盛在容器中,放在30℃-35℃环境中,30小时就可成熟。
  6. Soak glutinous rice in water for 4-5 hours, then steam it
  7. Put soaked glutinous rice in a plate, pour some cold water to make it loose, stirring while pouring.
  8. Natural cooling glutinous rice.
  9. Crush distiller’s yeast (one for 5 liters rice), then evenly stir in glutinous rice.
  10. Put stirred glutinous rice in container and place it in 30℃-35℃. It will be ripe after 30 hours.

Words translated by CCJK

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