Translation skills of English Preposition

Most prepositions in English have rich meanings; a specific preposition may have different meaning and usage. When dealing with prepositions accept fixed phases, we need to base on its basic meaning, and handle it according to the context. Following are some translation skills common to use.

1. Translate into verb

In English, prepositions are usually used to express an action. Under this circumstances, we can translate preposition into verb.

The truck was totally out of control and drove straight into another car.


Eventhough, it is too small to be seen with the best optical microscope.


2. Adding in Translation

Adding is not creating something out of nothing. But to add proper expression according to the verb or adjective combined with the preposition. In many situations, the combined verb or adjective is omitted. If we translate with the same structure, it is difficult to express clearly or even cause misunderstanding. Then, adding is needed.

For example:

There are two bookstores in the corner. One is on the right, the other is on the left.


3. Points translation

When prepositional phrase is used as attribute, it is always a short form of preposition clause. When prepositional phrase is used as adverbial, it is sometimes the short form of adverbial clause. In such situations, points translation can be adopted.

We cannot use this machine any more for its serious failure.


With many shortcomings, Benjamin is considered to be a good-natured person.


4. Omitting in translation

Omitting in translation is based on precise representation of the original meaning, in order to make translation concise and accord with Chinese expression.

Some English prepositions indicating time or place. When translation into Chinese, it is in the beginning of the sentence. In such situation, it can be omitted.

There are 27 students in Class One.

一班有 27 个学生。

High buildings and large mansions have been built in my hometown.


5. Reverse translation

In some situation, prepositions need to be translated in the opposite viewpoint. Otherwise it is difficult to make the translation fluent. Then, reverse translation is necessary.

Copper is the best conductor but silver.


There are some points of view against the suspended sentence of that criminal.


None word can be translated breaking away from the context. No context, no meaning at all. When translating prepositions, one need to take overall consideration of the collocated words, and avoiding word for word translation.


Words translated by CCJK


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