Chinese-English translation includes English-to-Chinese translation and Chinese-to-English translation. For our financial translation team, most of the tasks are usually English-to-Chinese translation, and most of the assigned exercises are also English-to-Chinese translation. To make up for the short board, I have focused my study on Chinese-to-English translation in my spare time.
First, the difficulty in Chinese-English translation lies in the characteristics of Chinese. Chinese is graceful, rhythmic, and infectious, and has flexible sentence structures. This is the difference between Chinese and English, and also the difficulty in Chinese-to-English translation. Considering the difference between the two languages, the first step in Chinese-to-English translation is to split and sort out Chinese, that is, to simplify and transform Chinese.
I. Appropriate addition or deletion
For example, "新疆自古以来就是一个多民族聚居和多种宗教并存的地区". This sentence can be translated as "Since ancient times, Xinjiang has been inhabited by many ethnic groups believing in a number of religions". In the sentence, "聚居" and "并存" can be generalized in one word in English without having to be translated separately.
For another example, "科学是讲求实际的。 科学是老老实实的学问，来不得半点虚假，需要付出艰巨的劳动。". This sentence can be translated as "Science is practical learning that tolerates no dishonesty and takes strenuous efforts". In the sentence, "老老实实" and "来不得半点虚假" emphasize the scientific spirit of truth-seeking, which can be expressed as "tolerates no dishonesty".
Deletion of redundancy can ensure simplicity of the translation, and appropriate addition can enhance understanding. For example, in translating a Chinese dynasty, the beginning time and end time of the dynasty can be added. For example, "自清朝起" can be translated as "since the Qing dynasty (1636-1912 )". Similarly, for myths or allusions, etc., extended description can be appropriately made during translation to facilitate understanding.
II. Content conversion
Rhetoric such as metaphor or parallelism is usually used in Chinese to make the sentence vivid. Some metaphors can be understood by both Chinese and English readers, but most rhetorical methods cannot be understood by foreign readers. English usually more focuses on substantive information. "敢于肯硬骨头，敢于涉险滩" can be translated by generalization, that is,"硬骨头" and "险滩" can be refined as "改革中遇到的困难挑战"; or can be translated by still using the metaphorical images in the source language, that is, "硬骨头" and "险滩" can be literally translated. If the generalized translation causes a loss of the color of the original text, while the literal translation can retain the characteristics of the original text, "敢于肯硬骨头，敢于涉险滩" can be translated as "dare to gnaw through even tough bones, dare to ford dangerous rapids".
However, if "风风雨雨" in "朝阳小学创建于1866年，历经140余年的风风雨雨" is literally translated as "wind and rain", it will be a joke. Here, "风风雨雨" can be understood as the history of Chaoyang Primary School, and it is more appropriate to translate "朝阳小学创建于1866年，历经140余年的风风雨雨" as "Founded in 1866, Chaoyang Primary School has a 140-year history of continued development".
III. Addition of conjunctions for sorting out the logic between words and sentences
For example, in "睁大双眼，遍地机遇", "睁大双眼" and "遍地机遇" seem to be in a parallel relationship, but it can be found through a careful analysis that the former is the condition of the latter, thus the conjunction "if" can be used to conjunct the two phrases: This is a land teeming with opportunities if you keep searching. Sometimes, in Chinese, the sentences are loose and the logical structure is unclear, thus appropriate juxtapositions, transitions, or causal conjunctions can help sort out the logic and increase the readability of the translation.
Furthermore, the difficulty in Chinese-to-English translation lies in how to express Chinese meaning in English. After sorting out Chinese, you need to select accurate and appropriate English expressions. Accurate grammar, meticulous syntax, and appropriate style are three basic criteria for judging the quality of translation.
In Chinese-to-English translation, word-by-word translation and sentence-by-sentence translation need to be avoided. First, you need to determine whether your expression conforms to English grammar, and try to select a similar expression in English. For example, "听不进逆耳之言" can be expressed as "turn a deaf ear to candid, blunt words". You should not pile up English words based on Chinese.
Proverbs should not be translated subjectively, but should be translated with reference to the existing conventional expressions in Chinese and English. For example, the proverb in "'不能在一棵树上吊死'，在选择新市场时要权衡其风险与机会" can be translated as "one can't put all his eggs in one basket".
There are still many noteworthy details in Chinese-to-English translation, which are not provided in this article.