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Some Notes for C-E Translation – Create Original Translations

Chinese and English are two different languages, both in grammar and the inherent thinking mode. When we make C-E translation, we firstly should fully understand what the original text is trying to deliver and then express the same content in English. It is recommended to forget the original expression mode in China. We should try to express the content in a way that matches the expression mode in English-speaking countries. Otherwise, the final translation may look Chinese English, which will adversely influence the quality of the target texts. Several examples on C-E translation are listed below: Example 1: (The following text is about a notice, which includes the detailed information of a public lecture.) Original text: 主讲人:XX公司CEO 主题:以面对面的方式讲解…… 时间:XXXX/XX/XX 地点:…… 目的:…… Translation version 1: Speaker: CEO of XX Company Subject: Face-to-face communication about… Time: XX/XX/XXXX Place: … Purpose: … Translation version 2: Who: CEO of XX Company What: Face-to-face communication about... When: XX/XX/XXXX Where: … Why: … In this example, translation version 1 is also acceptable. However, if compared to translation version 2, it seems not so vivid. Publishing of this notice is to attract more people to participate in this lecture. Therefore, if we could make the introduction of this lecture as vivid as possible, more participants may be attracted. Readers of this notice may think what I can benefit from this lecture if attending it. “Why”, compared to “purpose”, can more easily attract readers to read through this notice. Example 2: Original text: 这个样品包装时尚,可作为礼物赠送给顾客。 Translation version 1: This sample is stylishly packaged and could be given to customers as a gift. Translation version 2: This stylishly packaged sample can be given to customers as a gift.

Although translation version 1 has a correct expression of the original text, it seems not so concise as the translation version 2. In Chinese, we have been used to using short sentences. It is typically expressed in such a structure: subject + predicate when describing some characteristic of something. In this example, “包装时尚” is used to further describe the feature of “样品". When making C-E translations, we should not directly use this structure as longer sentences are more frequently used in written English. We should make our translations as succinct as possible. In this example, two short sentences can be combined into one. The translation version 2 conforms with the expression mode of English more.

These are only two examples. There are numerous similar examples in translation. We should summarize the insufficiency in our previous translations and find out the more desirable translations. In this way, our translation level will be improved step by step.

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