As Chinese social media develops and more and more Chinese netizens get involved in online free discussion about everything, whatever government policies or very private stuffs, online wording gradually become a trend in our communication.

It is this funny and interesting way of discussion in pairs, groups or communities that populates our creation on using of words. Today I’d like to talk about one of the hottest online wording examples — 神马都是浮云(Pinyin: shén mǎ dōu shì fú yún)and also try to present my translation of this phrase.

First, let’s get to its origin. One sad guy once sighed online about his unlucky stuffs. When he typed the phrase 什么都是浮云(shén mě dōu shì fú yún),he made an input mistake. He inputted 神马(Pinyin: shén mǎ) instead of 什么(Pinyin: shén mě).

These two words are very alike in their Chinese pronunciation. In Chinese culture, we usually use “什么都是浮云” to express our sighs over things that go against our wish and soothe our sadness in a bitter-pleasant way.

If you feel helpless and you encourage yourself you don’t need to take things too seriously and you should believe all things are of no consequence just like floating clouds, “什么都是浮云” is an appropriate expression that can tells others of your what your sighs are about and how do you view them.

Secondly, comes to how it makes itself one hot wording online. Just as a wise man ever said, gossip is a fearful thing that exerts its great power on online social media, especially among online communities.

After noticing this careless input error, some netizens found input error can be a nice way to create novelty among boring life, or specifically among normal wording usages. So they took this as an inspired creative idea that more and more netizens got accustomed to using as an online community-wording.

Thirdly, I’d like to show off my trial translation of this popular wording. In Chinese culture, 浮云 represents things of no value or significance. For example, we sometimes say “丢了就丢了吧,什么都是浮云。”

(It means lost things are lost. Let it go. Everything is but a floating cloud.) As far as I know, 过往云烟 (cloud and mist) is alike 浮云 in the aspect that both of them mean let it go. While there are differences between Chinese culture and western culture and I am not sure whether English-speaking persons also hold the same view like we Chinese does over 浮云, I prefer to chose ‘dust’ or ’wind’ to express the core meaning of 浮云 because to me the two things indicate the ‘let it go’ in western culture.

As for 神马, it’s really hard to translate it because such input error has a characteristic that 什么 (an abstract word) has transformed into a vivid proper noun (神马, an animal), while they share similar pronunciation.

My trial: Tins are nothing but dust. (Things are nothing but dust.)

Hope for more versions.