1. Literal translation of rhetorical sentences

Similar to Chinese, English writing use extensive rhetorical sentences, of which there are a lot of expression similar to Chinese diction expression, it can be literally translated. But there are some sentences are difficult to articulate from literal way. In different occasions, even the same diction can not be literally translated. The following are some examples which should not be literally translated:

Eg: At the door to the restaurant, a stunning, porcelain-faced woman in traditional costume asked me to remove my shoes.

If translated “stunning ,porcelain-faced woman” into “一位迷人的陶瓷般脸蛋的妇女”, it is vulgar, funny, but not the author’s intention, then we should use paraphrase method to handle.


2. Literal translation of idiom

There are abundance idioms in English, they could enhance the expressive power in language. Most of them can be literally translated, or apply simialr Chinese idioms. Such as:

the open door policy 开放政策,

the cold war 冷战,

to fish in troubled waters 混水摸鱼,

strike while the iron is hot 趁热打铁;

But there are some idioms must paraphrase in order to express the correct meaning. For example:

She was born with a siver spoon in her mouth.


You’re talking through your had again.


From above examples, we could know that some words have special meaning in some situations or structures, and some words have the figurative sense, and some words on special occasions or sentences occurred meaning reversal. In summary, the specific meaning of a word must be defined according to their occasions and condition, it shouldn’t be run after shadow. Literal translation and paraphrase have their own advantage and disadvantage, we should use them with skill, thus is the only way to achieve the desired results.