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Friday, March 18, 2011

Bilingual Chinese English Translation Quality

Translation projects unlock world of Taiwanese literature - Taiwan Today

Yes, its neat that some Taiwanese literature is being translated into English.

What I found more useful is how the explain the challenges of translating from Chinese into English.

“Because English and Chinese are vastly different languages in terms of syntax and idioms, the translator has to find the right sentence structure and the right word,” said Yeh, who has been teaching in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California-Davis since 1988.

“Moreover, images and symbols with cultural meanings are not always translatable. What is 'poetic' in one culture may be incomprehensible or ludicrous in another. In short, translatability is probably the most important consideration,” commented the Taiwan-born and raised Yeh.

Which is why I don't sell Dr. Suess in Chinese.  The Chinese translations I have seen lose the flavor of the English original.  For bilingual books with excellent English and Chinese, I recommend:

A Thousand Peaks: Poems from China - Wonderful book!

The Mouse Bride, Softcover Book: A Chinese Folktale, Bilingual English/Chinese Softcover

Monkey King Wreaks Havoc in Heaven - Hardcover Book  - Great story!
Lady White Snake - Hardcover Book  - Excellent. 
The Making of the Monkey King - The Beginning.  Excellent English and Chinese.  And a great story!
The Ballad of Mulan - Hardcover Book - Nice version of Mulan.  Great bilingual book in English and Chinese.

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