Tag Archives: Chinese translation

North Carolina High School Offers Advanced Chinese Courses

The Chinese program at Charlottesville high school in North Carolina has over eighty students enrolled this year. Even though some of the classes have the students sing Rebecca Black’s famous internet song “Friday,” the students are engaged in the material and eager to learn the complex language. Many of the students shuffle along to the song and embarrassedly go through the Chinese translation, but some are having fun singing the simplistic lyrics as they are accompanied by a student on the guitar.

Chinese Language Club Grows into Three Classes and is Still Expanding

The Chinese language program at Charlottesville high school didn’t start out as an actual class. It started as an after school program that quickly grew too popular to keep going as just a club. The school now offers three classes in the Chinese language, each growing more advanced until hardly any English at all is spoken in the classroom at the third level. The school is also hoping to start an AP class for the most advanced students and wants to eventually hire a second teacher. Some students want to continue learning the language when they graduate, hoping to use their skills in business or working for professional translation companies.

The students also say that with China growing as quickly as it is and with the population of Chinese immigrants expanding in the United States, the Chinese language could possibly become one of the most commonly spoken languages in America.  In order to be able to compete for jobs, the students say that they need to be prepared, and that means being able to speak the language. Being able to provide business translation services will greatly increase their chances of landing quality jobs out of college.

Is Good Teaching the Driving Force Behind the Language Program?

Many of the students at Charlottesville high school are enthusiastic about learning Chinese because they think it will help them with future careers, but many are excited because they have an engaging and interesting teacher. Sara Epperly is the Chinese instructor at the high school, and she strives to make her classes interesting and enjoyable because the class is an elective. Epperly is originally from Roanoke, Virginia and is only one of ninety-two teachers to have their Chinese endorsement. She is a professional translator who also has experience with Spanish as well as Chinese. She has also spent several years teaching abroad in China before getting her master’s degree in 2005.

Translations for YouTube Videos Now Immediately Available

Whether you’re on YouTube watching a historically significant news video or a video of kittens in a box, it helps to know what the people in the clip are saying. YouTube gives us access to millions of videos from around the world, so we often find ourselves watching those in foreign languages. Instead of clicking away to find an English equivalent, Google has developed a solution for this problem so that you can watch and understand YouTube videos in any language. You’ll now be able to read subtitles to any video in the language of your choice. Whether you need a Spanish, German, French, or Chinese translation, the service is available in any language.

Translations Will Help Both Viewers and Video Creators

Obviously, the real-time translation services by Google are helpful to YouTube viewers because they can finally figure out what the people in their favorite videos are saying. They also will not feel limited when they’re interested in a foreign news story, as any story from around the world will be translatable. However, the translations will also benefit the people uploading these videos. When you uploaded a video to YouTube before, your audience was enormous, but also limited to the people who spoke the same language. Now, anyone in the world who can read his or her own native language can understand your video. This is particularly outstanding for marketers and people just trying to get their word out there, because they will no longer need to create videos in multiple languages.

Crowdsourcing Option Available for the Translation

Though the translations designed by Google are automated and based on the closed captioning of the original video, there will also be an option for a crowdsourced translation. In other words, users can develop their own translation and share it with other users, who can also tweak it until it is perfect. Crowd sourced translations are more accurate than automated ones because, like professional translators, the viewers can take the context of each word into account.

The translations that will soon be available for YouTube videos will open up the community of online videos so that it is even larger, and people can share videos without language barriers. However, if your company is thinking of releasing a promotional video for global viewers, you should seriously consider using a professional translation service so that your message is clear and accurate for everyone.

Chinese Train Stations Undergo Translation Overhaul

Currently in China, each train station offers an English and Chinese translation for each station location. That way, English-speaking travelers can make their way around more easily, and Chinese commuters can go about their day undisturbed. However, the Ministry of Railways has announced a major overhaul to this system. Instead of the two translations for each, every station will be in the Chinese written language pinyin. The language was developed in the 1950’s and is considered the standard way to write Chinese. Not only will the change make travel more confusing for English-speaking visitors, but it is also confusing for Chinese residents.

Translations Defy Logic

Foreigners and locals alike cannot figure out the reasoning behind the overhaul. The English translations at each station did not confuse Chinese people at all, so the change will only make it more difficult for foreign travelers. Few people outside of China know how to read Pinyin. These travelers will now need a Chinese translator to assist them in their journey. By making the journey more complicated for English-speaking travelers, the Ministry of Railways also makes it more arduous for Chinese travelers. They’ll constantly be pushing confused Americans out of the way and missing their trains to stop and help. For many, the decision simply defies logic.

The Overhaul is Costly

As if the imminent confusion that will be caused by the translations wasn’t enough, they will also be expensive. Every sign, ticket, book, website, brochure and timetable will have to be redesigned to feature the new pinyin translation. The train stations might even lose business because travelers might opt to get to their destination in other ways. They might fear the inconvenience of scrambling to pull up automated translation services on their phones at every stop to figure out where they’re going. For such an expensive renovation, it’s surprising that the Ministry of Railways didn’t give the translation more thought.

No one knows why exactly the translations are being made, but they are already well underway. Beijing South Railway Station, now known as Beijingnan Railway Station, has already been renovated. The signs are translated and the tickets have been reprinted. The confusing decision goes to show that sometimes, translations can make things more complicated than they need to be. Though having each station displayed in two languages was unsightly, it probably attracted more tourists. Now, those tourists better come prepared with a professional translator.

Finnegan’s Wake Soon to be Available in Chinese

Finnegan’s Wake, a novel by James Joyce, is considered one of the most difficult literary works in the English language. People find it difficult to read for a myriad of reasons, including a straying plot, idiosyncratic language, and strange portmanteaus. Some critics believe Joyce’s unique style for the work is supposed to imitate sleep and a dream-like state. Despite the difficulties to even read the work in its original language, a dedicated translator has completed a Chinese translation, and it will be available this month. Dai Congrong will release the translation of the first of five volumes through Shanghai People’s Publishing House.

Dai Offers Multiple Interpretations

Dai, an experienced Chinese translator, explained that she knew it would be an extremely difficult translation from the beginning, but that she also wanted to give Chinese people the opportunity to read such an incredible piece of literature. The translation took a full ten years, which is only seven years less than the length of time it took Joyce to write the original. At a seminar, Dai explained that she directly translated approximately half of the book, but offers multiple translations and footnotes for the other half. She hopes that these alternative options for translation will give readers a more open understanding instead of relying solely on Dai’s interpretation. For a book that Joyce said would take readers 300 years to understand, much is up to interpretation. The translation was in part so difficult because of the large number of portmanteaus. Joyce combined many words in the piece to make one new word, which cannot be found in any dictionary, or even in any other piece of literature. Dai had to dissect these portmanteaus one by one.

The Chinese Translation was Completed Faster than Others

Though ten years sounds like a long time to work on a single volume of a book series, Dai actually completed the translation in record time. The French translation of the complex fictional work took thirty years, and the German translation took nineteen. All things considered, Dai was actually speedy in her decade-long project.

Sometimes, sharing outstanding pieces of literature between two different cultures is difficult because the translation is daunting. Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake is certainly one of those daunting pieces. Luckily, there are dedicated professional translators like Dai all over the world willing to dedicate years of their life to better the cultural understanding of their society.

World Renowned Translator Dies at 94

It’s easy to forget what an important role professional translators have in the history of language. Sharing stories and literary works between different cultures would not be possible without them, and we’d therefore miss out on many important pieces of global history. Some of the most widely read stories in the United States are actually translations made by dedicated literary translators. One such translator was Zheng Younghui, who passed away at 94-years-old this week. He was considered the translator with the largest number of readers simply because he translated so many works in his lifetime.

Youghui’s Studies Went Beyond Language

Perhaps one of the reasons Zheng Younghui was such a comprehensive literary translator was that he was not only focused on language throughout his life. When translating literary works, the words on the page are not the only thing that’s important. Idioms and cultural contexts must also be taken into account, so a wide range of knowledge is preferable for professional translation. Younghui was born in Vietnam in 1918 and studied law for the first half of his education. He then went on to teach French until he was 80-years-old.


Some of the World’s Most Famous Pieces were Translated by Younghui

Zheng Younghui completed his first translation in 1933 and went on to translate some of the world’s most celebrated literary works. Some of his most notable translations included Quatre-Vingt-Treize by Hugo, Nana by Zolaesque and Salammbo by Flaubert. These were taken from French and turned into a Chinese translation. In addition to translating French works into Chinese, Younghui also corrected other Chinese translations. He found more than fifty mistakes in the most popular Chinese translation of Merimee’s Columba at the time, and he marked them down for correction.

If it weren’t for Younghui, many people that can only speak Chinese would not be able to experience some of the most famous French literary masterpieces. While technology is considered a valuable resource for some translations, it will never replace the value of translation services by a live human being. Computers will never be able to understand certain innuendoes and subtleties that stretch across different languages, so masters like Zheng Younghui should never be replaced. If you need any translations for your business or company, you should seriously consider hiring a translator instead of relying on services such as Google translate. It could save you from making grave errors and offending clients.


Two Mistakes You Should Avoid on your Chinese Translation

Creating a Chinese translation version of your company’s website is a brilliant idea. By creating a Chinese version, you are making your site accessibly to the most populous culture in the world. Of course, the reason that many businesses don’t go through with this process is that it’s not easy. There are many versions of the Chinese language and deciding which one to translate to is difficult in and of itself. If you do translate to Chinese, you need to be careful not to make regional errors, as they could offend your visitors. You should also make sure certain phrases and concepts don’t get lost in translation. In addition to these common mistakes, there are two huge errors that many websites make when they are translating from English to Chinese, so you should try to avoid them.

Don’t Rely on PayPal

If your company is based in the United States and your site has an e-commerce option, you probably have a PayPal option. Many people use PayPal or simply upload their credit card information to the website’s shopping cart. If you’re having a Chinese translator redo your site, you’re probably expecting people from China to visit it. Keep in mind that PayPal is not popular in China. China’s economy is more cash-based, and they use local payment services such as Alipay. If you don’t offer such a service, you could lose out on sales and your translation could be for naught.

Don’t Rely on Google

Many of your website’s visitors in the United States probably come from a search engine such as Google. If you translate your site into Chinese and expect people in China to visit it, Google won’t be nearly as effective, as barely anyone uses it. Baidu is the major search engine there, and 80% of people on the Internet use it. If you’re interested in listing your site on Baidu, make sure you know the rules of search engine optimization, as they differ slightly from Google’s. The translation services you paid for probably won’t be seen by anyone in China if you don’t list your site on a search engine.

The first step in optimizing your website for Chinese visitors is hiring a professional translator to ensure there are no errors in the translation. However, this is not the final step, as you need to make sure site can be accessed and used by Chinese customers.

Chinese Literature Translations Provide Inaccurate Representations

When you read a new literary translation from another country, you can only assume that the piece is an accurate representation of culture in that society. For example, if someone from another culture were to read The Catcher in the Rye or The Great Gatsby, they’d get a relatively good idea about what our culture is like, and what it was like when those books were written. For example, the Chinese translation of both would be a window into our culture for the people of China. However, the converse is not true for Chinese literature. For a myriad of reasons, the translated Chinese works that we read in the United States are extremely inaccurate representations of the culture.

Censorship Prevents us from Accessing Questionable Material

Compared to China, the censorship requirements in the United States are lenient. Seeing Snooki’s butt on Jersey Shore or reading about detailed intercourse in a top-selling book are commonplace in this country. Unfortunately, these are some of the cultural representations we put out. Censorship in China has greatly limited such output, so it’s difficult to see what the culture is really like through literature. Translation services aside, many writers are hesitant to write about their life in the country because they are worried that they’ll be punished.

Translation of the Literature is Scant

Unfortunately, when depictions of life in China are published, many professional translation services that focus on literature do not bother picking them up. This is because such depictions don’t sell well in the United States. Instead, these translators tend to focus on novels that were written by Chinese authors with a western flair, often ones that were actually born in the U.S. Such novels are more relatable for American readers. While they’re entertaining, many ignore the realities and changes happening in modern China.

If you’re looking to get an accurate representation of the culture in modern day China, don’t rely on the literary translations that are available in the United States. They ignore many of the aspects of the culture, both because of censorship and scarce translation. Relying on such works for a cultural understanding would be like someone watching only Disney films to get an idea of American culture. To get an idea of modern Chinese culture, you just might have to visit with a professional translator by your side, or at least hire one to translate a less marketable book.