Tani (T.S. "Marble" Harriet) (mewtopia) wrote in linguaphiles,
Tani (T.S. "Marble" Harriet)
mewtopia
linguaphiles

Translation tones (Mandarin-English)

Hello Linguaphiles,

As someone who speaks moderate Mandarin/ lived with family in Taiwan 2 years, I have a question to ask speakers of English and Mandarin regarding the general tone and effect a language takes when translated.

For example, in history books and on TV, when English-based media translate something from Mandarin, that phrase always sounds overly poetic, (tiny example, the Hundred Flowers campaign), when, in Mandarin such a poetic, lyrical effect was not always intended; it is something rather more inherent in the vocabulary and means of expression.

I wonder if this characteristic makes the language seem more 'oriental and exotic' than it is, if you see what I mean.

Conversely, I wonder how English sounds to a Mandarin speaker when translated back to Mandarin: clunky, unexpressive?

How about cases with other languages? I know Italian -> English translation of tourist pamphlets always sound really verbose...

Sorry if this post is a bit unfocused, I hope I got the gist of the question across!
Tags: asian languages, english, mandarin, translation&interpreting
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  • I guess basic is too basic.

    You have to love how slang evolves. In my day, insulting someone was dissing someone from the word disrespect. Now it is throwing shade, especially…

  • The Australian Vernacular... Mate

    Here's an article about Australian slang words, tacked onto a story about an ex-pat USA citizen grappling with what looks & sounds to be the base…

  • translations of the Bhagavad Gita

    An old friend was talking with C and me lately, and she expressed an interest in learning more about the ideas behind yoga, and particularly about…