In fact, the commendatory and derogatory meaning of a word is often evolved. As in Chinese, the word “小姐” means a girl born in a noble family which often has a high social rank in the ancient times. Those girls born in a poor family have no qualification to be called as “小姐”. But, later, this word is generally being used widely. Any young girl can be called “小姐”, and contains a meaning of respect to her in the past. And for nowadays, you can never easily call a girl “小姐”, because this word has already have a kind of meaning equaling to prostitute. Only in a very serious occasion, can you say this word to a young girl. Or you may be punished by her palms for saying this word. What a surprise change it is from the noble girl to the prostitute! There are many such words being changed with the evolution of human civilization.
Besides, there is also another situation about the change of words’ emotional coloring. For example, as in English, people often say to another person “you are a lucky dog!” It shows a kind of adoration or favor. But, in Chinese, if you say “you are a dog” to another person, you are insulting him or her. Also, as in Spanish, Negro is a neutral word, sometimes even used on intimate friends. But in English, it is often a kind of indignity to others.
After we know so much about this, we should pay more attention to the selection of words when we are doing translations. For example, when we translate the Chinese word “由于”, we should take consideration on which kind of context this word is going to use. If it needs a commendatory term, we can choose “thanks to”, “by virtue of”. In contrast, if it needs a derogatory term, we should use “in consequence of”. And, for a neutral condition, we can use “due to”, “owing to”, because of”, etc.
To be faithful to the original sources, we must properly understand the writer or narrator’s basic standing point or view point when we are translating, then to express by the appropriate means of linguistic method. As a matter of fact, many words belong to neutral term, but they have the commendatory and derogatory meaning, when they are in practical use. The study on commendatory words and derogatory words deals with a wide range of linguistics and other subjects concerned. It is actually very complex, so that we need to accumulate and sum up at other times.