It is shameful to say that I am an English major, as I am not experienced to deliver native English expression in many cases except some daily usage. Most of my colleagues complain that it takes quite a lot of effort to deliver one excellent English translation job.

How come this situation? Are we not so smart to learn it well? Are we too lazy to use it? Let it be, but we really need to do it well. I pick up two versions of English translation job, one is translation, and the other is the edited one.

Chinese Source:

当遇上紧急事故如抢劫,车祸,迷路被困等需要支持的时候;救命 就是名符其实能协助你脱险的一个程序。在千钧一发间,发挥求助和自救功能。

Translation Version:

When you are encountering emergency incidents such as robbery, car accident and getting lost and you need support, “HELP” is such an application that can help you get out of trouble. With the application you can seek help or help yourself under extremely dangerous circumstance.

Edited Version:

In case of such emergencies as being robbed, suffering a car crash or getting lost, under which support may be needed, you will find “HELP” a perfect application that could help you come through the difficulties. With the application, you can seek help or save yourself from extremely dangerous circumstances.

Read Also: Vividness in English Translation


Difference 1: When VS In case of

“当…时候” is usually converted into “when” in English at the first glance. Indeed, it is not proper to translate based on the literally meaning. As the Chinese expressed for “当…时候”, it is actually saying that in some kind of situation or circumstance. Apparently, “when” is not a proper word here, but “in case of” sounds much better.

Difference 2: the structure difference

In the translation version, it main structure is “when you…., “Help” (the product)….” compared with “in case of ……, you will find “Help”(the product)….”. As you can see, the former structure is some kind like Chinese sentence style, while the latter one appears more English native.

Difference 3: the expression of inner connection

In the translation version, “and you need support” is stated, while the counterpart in Edited version shows “under which support may be needed”. The latter one digs out the inner connection while the former one does not. I think it is one major reason that why our English translation looks not standard, as we do not express the inner connection of compositions. English in this kind will definitely sound odds and peripheral. We are always advised to read between the lines before converting Chinese to English.

Difference 4: different terms expression

“get out of trouble” VS “come through the difficulties”

It is just one case, though not typical. I am just using it to show some points that we should notice to when handle English translation jobs. To be an English translator is easy, but it is not easy to be a professional and native English translator. It is a No Pains, no gains deal.

Take a look at how we helped our client by localizing their project for English language. Click here to read the complete case study