1, Long sentence is quite common in English, while in Chinese, it is prone to the short one.

For example:

“Mr.Song is my English teacher who is fat, short, bold but still attractive.” The main clause of this sentence is “He is my teacher” the following is an attributive clause which modifies “teacher”. If we translate it directly:”宋先生是我的那个体态肥胖、身材矮小、头发掉光但仍魅力无限的英语老师”, it seems too wordy. How to make appropriate translation? How about separate the main clause and attributive clause:”他是我们的英语教师,体态肥胖,身材矮小,头发掉光,但仍魅力四射”.

2, In English, there is more passive voice, while in Chinese, there is more active voice. When we are dealing with English-Chinese transaltion, if this sentence is passive, we may consider changing it into active voice.

For example:

“During this transfer, traditional historical methods were augmented by additional methodologies designed to interpret the new forms of evidence in the historical study.”

First translation version:”在这个转变过程中,传统的历史研究方法被增加了附加的方法论,这些附加的方法论是用来解释历史研究中的新的证据形式的。”

It did not change the voice which reads so abrupt. Let us try to adapt it into active voice:”在这个转变过程中,传统的历史研究方法中增加了新的(研究)方法,这些新方法是用来解释历史研究中一些新的证据的”.

3, We choose to use different words to express the same meaning in English, while in Chinese we prefer to repeat.

For example:

“It applies equally to traditional historians who view history as only the external and internal criticism of sources, and to social science historians who equate their activity with specific techniques.”

Translation: 这种谬误同样存在于历史传统派和历史社科派,前者认为历史就是史学界内部和外部人士对各种史料来源的评论,后者认为历史的研究就是具体方法的研究。

In this sentence, “view…as” and “equate…with” share the same meaning which are translated the same in Chinese.

4, Abstract words are used frequently in English, while we always use the specific ones in Chinese.

For example:

“But even more important, it was the farthest that scientists had been able to look into the past, for what they were seeing were the patterns and structures that existed 15 billion years ago.”

Translation: 但更为重要的是,这是科学家们所能观测到的最遥远的过去的景象,因为他们看到的是150亿年前宇宙云的形状和结构。

If we translate “look into the past” as “看到过去”, it does not match the expression in Chinese. When we add some words like “景象” or “东西”, it becomes much more specific, that is “看到过去的景象或是东西”.

There is a long way to go if you want to be a good translator. Here in CCJK blog, more articles about translation are waiting for you to read.

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