by Francis Bao
I found an interesting blog post by Hui Zhu on “Top 7 Tips for Effective Chinese copywriting.” The author describes the structure of sentences, how to communicate with implied meaning, how idioms can affect content of the language, legal issues, trade name translation for foreign products, and current trends in Chinese language.
Chinese idioms and proverbs have existed for at least 2,000 years, and they play a very significant role in both Chinese culture and language. Idiomatic expressions have been used in all kinds of communications, such as daily life, marketing campaigns, and political activities. They significantly enhance the meaning of the language.
When translating into Chinese from English, we have to rewrite English idiomatic expressions. For example, the English idiom, “win-win situation” in Chinese might be translated as “parties are winning” or “all choices are good”. “Thinking outside of box” could be translated as ”thinking in a creative way”, and “Give 110% might be “making extra effort”, “tie for both parties”, “making your own invention”, and “working diligently beyond the limit”.
When writing for translation, keep in mind that if we translate idiomatic expressions in a word-for-word manner, they will not make any sense in either language.
Francis Bao is a senior member of the STC and the STC Chicago Chapter, as well as the STC-ITC. He is an award-winning technical writer and translator.