The confirmation of words’ meanings

  As we known an English word has many meanings, in different context usually only one meaning to fit it. Sometimes we should extend the words’ meaning based on the context because there is no suitable meaning to apply for the text. In our translation, we shall broaden our knowledge range which could help us find the fittest meaning when translating texts belonging to different technology areas. I will illustrate some examples to share with others hereinafter. 1. Choose the meaning according to the part of speech Multiple part of speech and meanings lead to that we confirm the meaning difficultly and set barriers in our translation. We had better to choose the part of speech first when picking the meaning of a word or a phrase, and then, choose or extend suitable meaning for the word or the phrase. Such as: On his way home he bought some apples at a fruit stand. In this sentence, the word “stand” is a noun not a verb, and means “booth”, which makes sense in the context. 2. The translation is different sometimes with the singular or plural form of a noun. Take the following words for example: “Main” means “main line”, while “mains” means “electric power”. 3. Change a preposition to a verb when translating English to Chinese, for instance: I barreled straight ahead, across the harbor and out over the sea. In this sentence, we can change the part of speech of word “across” to a verb “cross”, and the one of “out” to a verb "go out”, which makes the sentence more native in Chinese. Pronoun is used more frequently in English compared to in Chinese. In English, pronoun is always used while a noun is always used in Chinese. Sometimes we cannot simply choose the corresponding pronoun, but analyze what the pronoun refers to, and make the pronoun clearly by using a noun to replace it. For example: It is commonplace that a society reveals its reverence or contempt for history by the respect or disregard that it displays for older people. In the sentence, despite the second “it” can refer to the words “society” and “history” hereinbefore, we can realize it refers to “society”. Therefore we need to point it out when translating this sentence to avoid ambiguity. 4. The translation of synonymy Some different words have similar meanings, and can be substituted among them, but we had better keep the translation consistent when translating them into Chinese. For example:

  • In the early 1960’s an industrialist became very suspicious about American purposes and intentions in certain areas of scientific research…
Actually, the research the industrialist questioned involved a field of science so new at that time… In the two sentences the different words “suspicious” and “questioned” have the similar meaning, we had better keep them consistent when translating into Chinese. As well as the word “area” and “field”.
  • Both use models of living systems, bionics in order to find new ideas for useful artificial machines and systems, cybernetics to seek the explanation of living being’s behavior.
In this sentence, the two italic words “find” and “seek” have the similar meaning, we also need to keep them consistent when translating into Chinese to make the sentence translated comply with the usages of Chinese. Hereinbefore, these are only part of examples on the confirmation of a word’s meaning in technologic translation, which can not include all the methods about the confirmation of a word. To achieve precise and refined translation, which is in line with the habits of English, we should be proficient in simulating good translation and learn from them. Moreover, we should learn relevant professional knowledge and English knowledge to learn the differences between Chinese and English. Then finally we may achieve most appropriate translation which is consistent with its original language.

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