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So I'm practicing a bit of Chinese translating.... but I'm having a few problems....
Whenever you come across a word or phrase that you don't know?? what do you do.
You cant dictionary it... since CHN isn't a alphabet, but rather a character language.
My Chinese speaking and comprehension is flawless. It's just my writing and reading that're being a real pain.....
So what do you do if u find a character or a phrase that you don't recognize???
Last edited by Nami; September 20, 2009 at 10:08 AM. Reason: Updated info
Translating is a craft, is like cooking, you either make something up and is up to you if you like the taste of it, either good or bad, people will notice right away the quality.
You say you can translate in chinese, how good? can you modify a chinese slang into an american line with totally different words but meaning the same?
After all, chinese is not english (sounds silly, I know) but the true translators explore the universe of meaning in open context, and transform it into something more determined...
Let's say... wo ai ni (me love you) or (you, love, I am)
everybody would realize the word is "I love you", now if you want to add more emotion you can add more words "I love you so much" or be poetic "My love is yours" etc... but is not up to the reader to figure out what are you trying to say.
Is okay to add or take out words in translations as long as you keep the original meaning on it, if you dont know a chinese symbol, screw that symbol, unless it tells you in more details whats going on in the line..read the full line and think to yourself..." how can it sounds better in english"
-(In japanese) Doko miteiru no da, Kisama!!
-(direct english) where are you looking at, damned one
-(adapted script) What the hell are you looking at, idiot?!!
and so on.
If you dony know the meaning...make it up..is not like all the world will test you on your knowledge, nobody will complain if you make the book fun to read.
There are Chinese dictionaries. You look them up according to the radical and the number of brush strokes.
You can try it here: http://www.mandarintools.com/chardict_rs.html This is just a random one I found using Google.
For example, if you were to look up the word 家, you would first find the number of strokes in the radical. In this case, there's three (宀). Then you count the number of remaining strokes it would take to write it. For 家, there are 7 remaining strokes after writing the radical.
Depending on what you don't know, that is, are you having the English word or Chinese word in your mind?
Dictionary or translator may help. Better ones are those with example sentences.
If you know how to pronounce the Chinese characters, you can use the Pinyin Input Method (IME) built-in with Windows to type the words into dict / translator.
If you only know how to write, Changjie (fast but harder to learn) or Quick IME (easier to learn but slower) can be used for traditional Chinese. There are many of them, including different sets for simplified Chinese and Cantonese Pinyin.
Firstly, I would like to say that I am a Mandarin to English translator. My knowledge on written Japanese characters is null. As a result of above, I need several advices on the more senior translators here on how I could overcome several shortcoming on that I myself faced with every time I had to translate a raw manga script.
Do note that I would not be able to provide any of my translation scripts here for examples as I have not sought the permission from the respective group leader yet.
And without further ado, here are just some of the problems I faced with.
** ~ **
#1 - Sentence restructuring/ English phrasing
Everyone knows that the grammar for both Mandarin and English are a hell lot difference. Especially the way in which the Chinese positioned their adjectives/ nouns/ verbs are different from those of English. Let me displayed a example,
Here is a simple question written in Mandarin,
The English version of this question would be,
Where are you guys?
You guys seen the difference here? The noun 'guys' and '你们' are totally reversed in the sentences despite them having the same meaning. This is just one simple example. In the manga, there are tons of these complex sentence restructuring that has to be dealt with.
My group's proofreader must have been having a hard time dealing with the task of having to restructure my sentences. I wish to lessen the burden of the proofreader. And as a result, I need to know what I do?
The only way that I can think up of is to repeatedly go through through the script several times before submitting in the script. In this way, I could corrected my own mistakes and edit it. Done that a few times, but trust me. I could only spot a few mistakes in the process. ~.~;
So is there anymore efficient method?
#2 - Chinese Idioms
In more complicated mangas especially with those that has lots of scenes talking about life or emotional moments, the various comic Mandarin translators would always used Chinese Idioms to explain the situation.
I would understand the meaning behind those Chinese Idioms. But the real problem is thinking up of a word to replace that single idiom. Even if I did managed to substitute the idioms with English words that render the same meaning. The number of English words would not fit inside the scan's speech bubble.
I am a fast translator and would usually produced scripts within hours upon request provided that I am in a good mood or I have nothing to do. But usually when there is chapter filled with these Chinese Idioms, half the time the scripts will be delayed by at least 2 to 3 days, just brainstorming on the appropriate words to substitute it.
To deal with problem, I had managed to secure a good Mandarin to English dictionary and the site, dictionary.com, to help me deal with this. But sometimes, the dictionary just does not have that idiom and that would leave me clueless on how I go about substituting these idioms into English.
Anyone has any better suggestions or links that would help me with?
#3 - Names
Possessing null knowledge on Japanese written language sucks. Half the problems that I faced with would be on how I could translate Mandarin names into Japanese ones.
Most times, I would wiki out the manga's name and get the references from there. But if wikipedia does not have it, I would sought the help of other translators to do it.
The problem here is that I would want to be self sufficient instead of relying on others. Is there anyway to overcome this shortcoming?
#4 - Honorifics
This is the absolute worst! ~.~; Mandarin translated manga does have any indications of these. In fact, we don't. The closest I met with is when I ended up translating Area no Kishi. An example would be when,
For the former, '同学', literally means a student. So when we used a Mandarin name behind '同学', from guessing works we would know that it is either a '-san' or a '-kun'. '学长'on the other hand if used, it is understandable that it is a '-sempai'.
Now here comes the problem, what about those names who does not have honorifics clues? When do we need to mention them and when not to? What about other honorifics such as '-chan', '-sama' etc?
#5 - sfx
Usually in Mandarin manga, there are times when the sfx are translated into Mandarin. And frankly speaking, this has made my translation process a more simpler job to deal with. But there are also times where they do not even translate the sfx at all!
So for those untranslated sfx, I would have to deal with it. Half the time, it would be guessing job. And I would normally enlist the help of a Japanese to English translator.
But in order to be self sufficient again, I want to know if there are any sites out there that I could utilize?
** ~ **
The above are just the few major ones that I have faced with. At least, I could someone would be able to help me out here. ^.^;
Hello there! I'm a fellow Chinese to English translator, but I'm the opposite of you. I definitely cannot translate English to Chinese... Anyway, hope this'll be useful to you
#1 - Sentence restructuring/ English phrasing
The best way of learning to translate into English is to read lots of English books. Or even better, look for a book that does a story in English and Chinese. I remember reading 孙悟空 when I was little, and it had both English and Chinese.
For now I'll cover a few basic structural issues. It'd be best if you give more examples of what problem areas there are for you, preferably through PM, since I don't check forums very often.
'Where did you guys see that book?'
Adverbs would be things like 哪里, 什么, 什么时候, 谁 and so on. In English, we almost always put the adverb in the beginning of a question. The exception would be when you're surprised and quoting someone...
你做了什么?! or 你什么?!
I said hello to Wang Fei Hong.
You did what?
Time, manner, place VS place, manner, time
TMP would be Chinese, while PMT would be English. Manner would be how you perform an action
We went to the supermarket by bus yesterday.
Normally, however, I would translate that as 'We took the bus to the supermarket yesterday', simply because it flows more natural.
#2 - Chinese Idioms
This is something that would stump even the best of translators. While you can look up expressions and such, nothing beats reading lots of English books. Not to say there aren't ways around it, but you might not always be lucky XD
I'd recommend using http://www.nciku.com/ rather than dictionary.com. I don't really like dictionary.com, since it doesn't provide enough examples which demonstrate how something should be translated from/to English.
Alternatively, you could try to look up the equivalent idiom (if it exists... often it doesn't) in English on some idiom sites, e.g. http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/. This is usually much harder, since it's quite hard to pinpoint a specific idiom from just its meaning. But it might be helpful to browse through a few idioms every so often to pick up new expressions.
If all else fails, try to discuss this with your editor.
#3 - Names
The only way to be self-sufficient is to obtain the Japanese raws and read the names directly off that. >.> Is there no one who can read Japanese in your group? To be fair, if all you need are Japanese names, then you just need a lot of patience and a kana chart to find out how they're pronounced in Japanese.
Failing that, you could divide the surname and first names, and Google/Japanese wiki them. This is a tactic that works fairly well for Japanese names, since Chinese scanlators just take the kanji from the Japanese.
#4 - Honorifics
>.> It's hard to be precise without referring to the Japanese text... but here's a list of guidelines:
同学: -kun or -san
先生: -sensei (if it's a teacher, artist or doctor), -san (if it's a guy), -sama (formal）
小姐: -san, -sama, -ojousama (e.g. a butler talking to his mistress)
少爷: -bocchan (butler talking to his young master), -sama
叔叔: -jiisan, -ojiisan (slightly more formal), -ossan (very informal).
哥哥: -niisan, -oniisan, -nii (very informal)
姐姐: -neesan, -oneesan, -nee
小x: -chan (girl） or -kun （guy). e.g. 樱花 -> 小樱, Sakura -> Sakura-chan
If there aren't any honorifics, it's best not to add any of your own, unless you so happen to know that a character always refers to others as -san or something...
#5 - sfx
This is a really good SFX guide: http://kyoh.monkey-pirate.com/sfx/SFX.pdf
The only problem is it's arranged according to the Japanese alphabet, which makes looking for things rather difficult at times.
Thanks for your assistance. Seriously appreciate them. So far the groups I worked with haven't really complain to me about the sentence rephrasing portions yet so I guess I am pretty safe at the moment.
And nope, I still can't secure the permission for the examples yet. But I will likely pm you if I met with up more problems. At the moment, the honorifics portion seems the one that is the most helpful. It help me a lot in the last series I worked with. Also the links, I haven't click on them yet. Will do so if I hit another dead end.
Heh I haven't studied Chinese since I was 10, so my writing is really, really rusty. I read newspapers and watch TV though, so everything else is all right.
I'd like to be able to practise using my Chinese skills by translating manga as well but I can't since all the chinese scanlations always use the traditional text and I only study the simplified characters. It's a real shame because translating manga is much more interesting than boring university texts.
i wish i could help, but im at a level were you dont wanna be XD, preatty much all i know is hiragama and thats japanese and i cant practice or leanr anything else since my pc wont read the characters so im stuck at level 0 XD
good luck do ^^
Picking up traditional characters from mangas are simple. Armed with a dictionary at the beginning and work with it for a few chapters. You will realized that the traditional characters they used are always the same few words. I begin to do translations without the dictionary after like my fifth or sixth translations. It's not entirely impossible but with effort, you can do it.
@Lingwe: Yeah, traditional characters aren't that difficult once you get the hang of it. For example, once you remember that 门 is written as 門 in traditional, you know about 50% of any character that contains 门 I suppose I'm lucky I was brought up in an environment where I've had contact with both.
@Lsshin: You need the regional setting set to Chinese (or Japanese) in order to view those characters, I think.
Your value as a translator will up if you could translate from Japanese and Mandarin to English. Learning both languages have their uses since you are more capable and more advantageous than the rest of the pack when it comes down to interpret the language. Besides if you are not sure, you know the channels you can go and asked around. ^.^
If I see a character I don't recognize, I try to find its meaning by radical or stroke count.
Useful for that:
Dimsum (a java program. You can draw the character and it will output similar characters!)
My other references:
Stardict (just download the chinese dictionary files)