Can translations be improved to avoid paraphrasing and use translations that match the characters used

Ross-H7 April 15, 2017, 9:56 pm
There are a number of lessons where the translations are far different from the literal translation and are much more like a paraphrase-  so we end up cutting and pasting into translation programs to figure out the characters, but I think you should retranslate your lessons to be closer to the characters actually used.

e.g from 6.4 Feeling unwell has a strong paraphrase:
"你的脸色很苍白。
Nǐ de liǎnsè hěn cāngbái.
You look pale."  

Clearly there is no character for 'look' in this phrase, 

Could you please change it to  more literal translation such as "your face is very pale", so that it matches the characters we are learning.  

In general we would be better served with a more literal translation, as others have previously commented - but if it has a local idiom meaning then you could always add a paraphrased version in brackets at the end.
 
Can translations be improved to avoid paraphrasing and use translations that match the characters used
Robert-C7 April 19, 2017, 3:31 am
I agree with the sentiment here and there are many phrases where their translations would be better if the adhered more literally to the script and not get too colloquial. However, one must be careful not to try to translate the sentence word for word. The English translation itself, "you look pale" does not make sense in English as the subject (you) are not looking at something but simply appear to be pale.

Probably the most precise translation would be "Your face is pale" since 很 is actually being used as "to be" and not very. You cannot use 是 in place of 很 here.

Sometimes I wish the lesson text spent more time showing how to break down some of these sentences. I often find myself feeding pieces of the sentence to Google Translate, and then building flashcard sets of the individual components...Read More
I agree with the sentiment here and there are many phrases where their translations would be better if the adhered more literally to the script and not get too colloquial. However, one must be careful not to try to translate the sentence word for word. The English translation itself, "you look pale" does not make sense in English as the subject (you) are not looking at something but simply appear to be pale.

Probably the most precise translation would be "Your face is pale" since 很 is actually being used as "to be" and not very. You cannot use 是 in place of 很 here.

Sometimes I wish the lesson text spent more time showing how to break down some of these sentences. I often find myself feeding pieces of the sentence to Google Translate, and then building flashcard sets of the individual components. The good thing is that recently they added a lot of these words to "Extra Vocabulary". In lesson 6.4, face and pale appear there.
Can translations be improved to avoid paraphrasing and use translations that match the characters used
Lin-Ping April 23, 2017, 10:38 am
你们好!

Thank you very much for your feedback. This is something we have to discuss with the whole team. The difficulty is some people prefer the overall translation with the new words listed separately, and some people prefer more literal translations. We tend towards our translations because they give a better sense of the words and the use of the sentence, whereas if we were to translate them more literally, the nuances between translations can be missed.

Nonetheless, we will look into it and might look at a way of getting all our members to have their say. We also need to make sure that we don't go back and forth between the two approaches.

Thanks for your feedback and keep up the good work!

   -   Lin Ping
Can translations be improved to avoid paraphrasing and use translations that match the characters used
Robert-C7 May 9, 2017, 1:24 am
I have a crazy suggestion. Maybe consider providing a literal word-for-word translation and below it the actual translation. For instance:

Wǒ de shǒujī zài nǎlǐ?
我的手机在哪里?
Literal: My hand machine is where?
Where is my cellphone?
 
Can translations be improved to avoid paraphrasing and use translations that match the characters used
Lin-Ping May 14, 2017, 11:26 am
Robert-C7 你好!

Thanks for the suggestion Robert-C7! I will pass this along to our team and obviously I can't promise anything but if we get enough interest in incorporating something like this, then we may include it.

Keep up the good work and the suggestions!

   -   Lin Ping
Can translations be improved to avoid paraphrasing and use translations that match the characters used

Ask a question or a post a response

If you want to ask a question or post a response you need to be a member.

  • If you are already a member login here.

  • If you are not a member you can become one by taking the free Rocket Chinese trial here.

Over 1,200,000 people love Rocket Languages

Here's what Rocket Languages members have to say:

Andrei Freeman - Pennsylvania, USA

Andrei
Freeman

Pennsylvania, USA

Rudi Kopp - USA

Rudi
Kopp

USA

Carmen Franceschino - Pennsylvania, USA

Carmen
Franceschino

Pennsylvania, USA

Kelly Scali - Chicago, USA

Kelly
Scali

Chicago, USA

Mark Waddel - Auckland, NZ

Mark
Waddell

Auckland, NZ

William McGill - Florida, USA

William
McGill

Florida, USA

Probably the best language tool I've come across. Actually love it more than Rosetta Stone and Duolingo

Try our award-winning online Chinese course for FREE 受賞歴ありの英語学習ソフトウェアを無料でお試しください Pruebe nuestro galardonado software del idioma inglés GRATIS

(And see how easy it actually is to learn Chinese... even if you've tried and failed before) (そして英語学習がどれだけ簡単か、肌で感じてみてください…今までに失敗したことのある人でもそれが分かるでしょう) (Y vea qué tan fácil es en realidad aprender inglés… aún si lo ha intentado y fallado antes)