我的语言故事

语言之旅

Can the Chinese do Chinese to English translation well?

Can the Chinese do Chinese to English translation well?

Of course we can. Not anyone, though, I must hasten to add. I find this topic very thought-inspiring because it involves a key strategy that we should adopt in language study and translation. An uninformed answer to the question means that we might end up trying in vain to learn good English by translating from Chinese to English, one of the biggest pitfalls for us. The Chinese to English translations we can find, in most cases, are generally substandard and foreign-sounding (as to native English speakers). For example, the poorly done Chinese to English translations that are used as purportedly good examples in an authorized, genuine textbook of the official China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI). The users of such translations should feel embarrassed about having to settle for this below-par English language, knowing that the texts are just useful, convenient but not good enough to qualify as real English as used by respected native English writers. Really good Chinese to English translations are hard to come by. Bad Chinese to English translations should not be taken as good examples or subjects of study unless they are acknowledged as bad writing that we should avoid in our translation. Read more about Can the Chinese do Chinese to English translation well?

Get rid of the senseless “senseless violence”

Get rid of the senseless “senseless violence”

It’s said that English as a language of the scientifically and technologically more developed world is more logical and accurate than Chinese. But I always argue that it’s not the languages but the people who use them that make them appear so. Actually, languages are by definition not so logical and accurate as some people seem to think. They are used by people and illogical and inaccurate things can very easily happen, even to a great writer and an experienced translator.

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Premier Li Keqiang’s own double standards – fundamental principle of law & presumption of guilt

Premier Li Keqiang’s own double standards – fundamental principle of law & presumption of guilt

The newly appointed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at a televised press conference this morning accused an American reporter of “presumption of guilt” when the latter asked “[…] will China stop the cyber hacking against the US since it has now become an issue of American national security?”

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Manslaughtered in translation

Manslaughtered in translation

In an article titled Why the West shuts out subtle Chinese concepts published in Shanghai Daily, German scholar Thorsten Pattberg (裴德思) complains that the West has for centuries remained ignorant of some key concepts and ideas unique to the Chinese and demands the West to learn from us the Chinese about how the world should be run. As long as there are different peoples who speak different languages, translation is an indispensable trade that makes this exchange of concepts and ideas possible in the first place. Read more about Manslaughtered in translation