In C-E translation, translators sometimes may be influenced by the expression of the original language, which can result in the production of Chinglish. This article is focused on three points which are in need of attention in Chinese-English translation to avoid Chinglish version translation.
The first one is about collocation of words. The incorrect collocation in English is a common phenomenon due to the influence of the original text. Below is an example. “抓紧学习” is translated into “grasp learning”, which is hardly understandable. Translators should fully understand the true meaning of this phrase prior to initiating the translation.
The correct translation shall be “pay close attention to study”. Some other examples include “犯个人主义的错误” translated into “make mistakes of individualism”, “我们有过这样的经验” translated into “we had the experience that”, etc. The correct translation of these two phrases should be “mistakes of succumbing to individualism” and “it was our experience that”.
The second point is about “personification”. Personification is frequently employed in Chinese to make the description more vivid. Instead, it is in most cases considered as a mistake in terms of rhetoric in English. Consequently, translators should pay great attention to this point.
Here is an example. “我们的业绩获取了一次又一次胜利” is translated into “our performance has attained victory one after another”. “Performance” has no life while the subject of “attain victory” is typically “a person”.
The combination of these two segments is inappropriate in English as it makes no sense in terms of logic relationship though there are no grammatical mistakes in the translation. The more desirable translation should be “we have won one victory after another for our performance” or “a series of victories have been won for our performance”.
Below are three similar examples. “汉字在历史上有过不可磨灭的功绩” shall be translated into “The system of Chinese characters has played an invaluable role in our history” instead of “Chinese characters have made indelible contributions in history”. “宗教不得干预政治” shall be translated into “It is impermissible to interfere with politics in the name of religion” other than “Religion must not interfere with politics”.
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“本文描述了三类质量问题” shall be translated into “this article includes description of three types of quality problems” or “three types of quality problems are described in this article” instead of “this article describes three types of quality problems”.
The third point is about modifiers. Generally speaking, more modifiers are used in Chinese than in English. Therefore, it is unnecessary to translate all the modifiers completely in accordance with the original text during C-E translation. Instead, translators should analyze what the author is trying to deliver and determine the appropriate solution accordingly.
A good example of this is: “会议胜利召开” translated into “the meeting is successfully convened”, which delivers to readers such a meaning that there seem to be many obstacles to the convening of the meeting while actually the author may be not intending to deliver such connotation.
By paying attention to these three points, translators can effectively reduce the occurrence of Chinglish, which can make the final translation more desirable.