How to Translate Mandarin: An Expert’s Suggestion

As China has become the giant in the global economy, the translation service involving Chinese language pairs is currently in high demand. Many companies are looking for reliable and well-reputed language service agencies to help them penetrate China market. On the other hand, China’s domestic industries have grown up and also required internationalization and localization services.

There are many options like machine translation or using low-quote translators, but it might create other problems like accuracy. Considering this problem, human translation for Mandarin and Cantonese is still on priority to meet the business standards of high-quality translation and localization results.

Taking Practice on Translation from and to Mandarin

Translation is actually the part of language skills that requires basic knowledge of certain language pairs. When dealing with Chinese languages, both Mandarin and Cantonese, beginner translators should consider their language skills involving receptive and productive skills. The other aspects that might interfere with the translation results are the cultural background and Chinese collocations since Chinese is very contextual and has tons of collocation that generate different interpretations.

The Chinese also has different writing system based on symbols. The characters are considered as pictographs which do not constitute any syllable system like alphabets. Each of them represents different pronunciation and meaning which make the translation more difficult compared with the translation within a similar alphabetic system.

Word-to-word translation is strongly not recommended since the grammatical structure is different from other major languages like English or Spanish. Therefore, to translate mandarin needs first adequate language mastery to get the ability to capture the meaning of a mandarin word, phrase, or sentence. This process will capture the core concept which is more translatable rather than the original sentence structure.

 If you are translating from other languages like English to Mandarin, the same approach should apply but with a different perspective. The English grammar is not workable for mandarin sentences. Different word order that constructs a mandarin sentence needs a synthesis from the English so it would be more acceptable in the mandarin target. When the core meaning is compiled, consider the order that looks acceptable to Chinese grammar and add some elements to improve Mandarin readability.

In most cases, the problem of the non-Chinese native translator is overly using English grammar in constructing Mandarin sentences. With their different nature, translators often created stoic translation results that are hard to understand. Therefore, considering the core meaning and expressing them in a more Chinese style would be the best way to do the translation. Yet it still needs a list of important information so every aspect will be delivered naturally and accurately.


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