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vellocet

How do you deal, with the Chinese sentence, with a ton of commas, that just goes on and on

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vellocet

I am trying to translate, these sentences, but they go on forever, and express complex thoughts, that tie in to the previous ideas, so I can't just break them into individual sentences, what do you all do, when confronted with this situation, please help, I am getting longer and longer sentences to translate。

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XiaoXi

Hmm well you will find Chinese is often weird. Its like when you look up those stupid Chinglish signs and laugh at the English but if you actually read the Chinese on a lot of them they're equally weird. Do you have an example sentence?

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Demonic_Duck

That's where a background in grammar, formal logic and/or computer programming comes in handy. :wink:

 

If you're working from hard-copy documents, multi-coloured highlighters could help a lot. Try to see if you can identify the parts of the sentence - where's the subject? Where's the object? Which part is a subordinate clause etc.?

 

Also, as XiaoXi says, it will help if you can post a sample sentence or three.

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li3wei1
and express complex thoughts, that tie in to the previous ideas, so I can't just break them into individual sentences

 

Yes you can break them into smaller sentences. With clear writing, you can indicate how each sentence ties in with previous sentences. There's no law that says what is expressed in one sentence in one language must be expressed in one sentence in all other languages.

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roddy

I am trying to translate, these sentences, but they go on forever, and express complex thoughts, that tie in to the previous ideas, so I can't just break them into individual sentences, what do you all do, when confronted with this situation, please help, I am getting longer and longer sentences to translate

 

=

 

I'm trying to translate sentences which go on forever. They express complex thoughts tying into previous ideas, This means I can't just break them into individual sentences. What do you do in this situation? Help appreciated, these sentences are getting longer and longer...

 

It's entirely possible you're getting badly written and genuinely confusing material to work with - as an older and wiser translator said to me when I was just starting out, one of the most important skills is recognizing when you've been given nonsense to translate. Let the cats see the over-long pigeon. 

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vellocet

Here's some examples.

 

你说不能给予我一周一次的货是因为我要的数量远多于你提供的数量,原因是我不知道你一周能提供多少货给我。是否可以这样,只要你一周提供一次货给我,不管多少数量,我尽努力的销售完成,这样计划可以吗?

 

我们的俩次见面,你留给我极好的印象,很高兴有你这样的合作伙伴,同时感谢你给了我很多帮助,希望我们的长期合作中,得到你一如既往的支持和帮助,我想如何即方便你工作的,又能顺利安排我的每一次订单的,你愿意指导我吗?

 

I translated them, but this kind of sentence is just a pain.  The vocabulary isn't anything difficult, but you have to read the whole thing from beginning to end and work backwards.  Is there something in Chinese that encourages this kind of writing?  I try to write in short, declarative sentences, especially if I'm going to have my words translated.  I've tried telling my customer this but she still sends these rambling sentences, and it's not just her.  I've seen this sort of thing a lot of places.

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XiaoXi

The first example is ok I think but the second one certainly is a bit strange and does go and on forever like you say. Don't really know if that's correct in Chinese but it looks weird to me at least.

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L-F-J

It looks like just the Chinese convention of using commas until the last thought is completed. But in actuality, full stops could be placed in there at several places where a complete thought comes to an end making a standalone sentence. Unless you're required to mirror the punctuation, I don't see what the problem is marking full sentences in your translation.

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L-F-J

你说不能给予我一周一次的货是因为我要的数量远多于你提供的数量原因是我不知道你一周能提供多少货给我。是否可以这样只要你一周提供一次货给我,不管多少数量,我尽努力的销售完成。这样计划可以吗?


 


我们的俩次见面,你留给我极好的印象很高兴有你这样的合作伙伴同时感谢你给了我很多帮助希望我们的长期合作中,得到你一如既往的支持和帮助我想如何即方便你工作的,又能顺利安排我的每一次订单的你愿意指导我吗?


 


The last sentence is strange though. 即 should be 既, and the entire sentence is poorly written with bad grammar. Even if you make the last one a comma to connect the question, it still doesn't really make sense. But I guess you can roughly translate the message.


 


Translating Chinese is difficult because not many of them write well. You'll have to understand where sentences end and fix the punctuation yourself. Good luck!


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vellocet

It looks like just the Chinese convention of using commas until the last thought is completed.

 

What does this mean?  I've never heard of it before.

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L-F-J

I just mean they hardly ever use proper punctuation. They don't use full stops until the dead end. So you aren't really dealing with one long sentence, but a terrible run-on. You'll just have to figure it out and fix the punctuation yourself.

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roddy

I don't think these are that hard, to be honest. Just need to break the thoughts into bite-sized pieces, and add in some linking. Stopping short of just rewriting the entire thing as just 'Please send as much as possible'...

你说不能给予我一周一次的货是因为我要的数量远多于你提供的数量,原因是我不知道你一周能提供多少货给我。是否可以这样,只要你一周提供一次货给我,不管多少数量,我尽努力的销售完成,这样计划可以吗?

You've said you can't make weekly shipments as I'm requesting more than you can supply. However I don't know how much you are able to supply. Would it be possible for you to ship whatever quantity you are able every week and I'll do my best to sell it all?

 

Second one I'd tone down a bit as well, though not as much as I might like. 

我们的俩次见面,你留给我极好的印象,很高兴有你这样的合作伙伴,同时感谢你给了我很多帮助,希望我们的长期合作中,得到你一如既往的支持和帮助,我想如何即方便你工作的,又能顺利安排我的每一次订单的,你愿意指导我吗?

I've enjoyed both our meetings. It's great to be working with you, and I'm very grateful for your help. I hope we can work together in the long-term and look forward to your continued support and assistance. I'd like to do anything I can to make your work easier and to ensure you can fulfill my orders - please let me know if you have any suggestions. 

 

Howzat?

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vellocet

Ooh, a hyphen - have to remember that one! 

 

Thanks for the translation, I compared it to mine and while I successfully got the meaning out of it, yours is much much better.  See, I understand 95% of the vocabulary, but I just have difficulty translating it because it is presented in such a confusing manner. 

 

The other problem is when I take liberties with the translation and translate what I perceive to be the meaning, rather than the words, she uses Wechat translate to verify the translation and complains when it doesn't match up with what she wrote.  I mean, I don't really see "你留给我极好的印象" anywhere there.  :P But it's obviously a much better translation than what I did.  I see this whole thing is a lot more complicated than I thought!  I mean, obviously your first paying translator job is going to be an eye-opener, but still.  Thanks to everyone who helped!  I love this forum and it was especially helpful to find out that her grammar and phrasing were just plain weird.  Good to know it wasn't just me!  8) 

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roddy

Hyphens, colons and semicolons:essential tools for punctuating; the building blocks of emoticons; and the - ah, I see what I'm doing here. 

 

If clients are back-translating, and using an automated tool to do so, you're kind of limited to what you can do. Customer is always right, even when blatantly wrong. But I typed off the above translation very casually and even now I can see stuff I'd change.

 

This book I remember from over a decade ago - there may be more up-to-date equivalents now, and as the examples are all drawn from government documents it is pretty dry, but there's still a lot of valuable info in there. I think Kenny would agree.

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imron

There's a reason she's paying you and not using wechat for translations. I'm guessing she tried that before looking for a person to translate and found it lacking - hence the need for you.

Anytime she brings up wechat, I'd politely remind her there's a reason she uses you instead of wechat.

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gato

The example sentences don't seem terribly long.

What kind of Chinese material do you read on a daily basis? You may need to practice with more advanced material, like longer magazine articles (such as 南方周末 or 财新).

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tysond

Gonna be honest these examples are not particularly long.   They do go on, a lot of times the commas indicate a kind of running train of ideas.  I find the comma style to be OK to handle - it's where there are comparisons and parallel statements (X is to A as Y is to B) that my brain burns out.

 

"Thanks for your help, your visit made a big impression on the team, hope we can continue to work together, you have my ongoing support, if any issues just reach out OK?"

 

Is that really so long in English?  I would be fine if someone sent that to me in English, unless they were applying to be a copy editor.

 

Although to be clear it is a pretty content free sentence, because ANYONE could write something like that therefore it has NO MEANING in terms of our business relationship.  

 

I had a friend who sometimes did amateur interpretation e.g. weddings.   One Chinese guest gets up and makes one of these rambling speeches about how special they feel and so on.  It went for at least 2 minutes.  My friend just said "He's really happy to be here".   Both sides laughed realizing - you really can't translate formalities, and it's not worth wasting another 2 minutes of everyone's time to translate a boring bunch of platitudes.

 

Although in the Chinese context there could be a TON of hidden meaning in there - like "We know we completely screwed up your order last time, and I am committed to it never happening again, thank you for giving us a second chance and if anything goes wrong please bring it to me instead of the Director".   In that case I believe that English translation above is not sufficiently honest for a good business relationship.  

 

The other problem is when I take liberties with the translation and translate what I perceive to be the meaning, rather than the words, she uses Wechat translate to verify the translation and complains when it doesn't match up with what she wrote. 

 

 

This is the real problem.  Because in English, and in western style business, to say all that stuff just makes you look like an obsequious fool, unless there was a real message, which has been obscured by the different business cultures.  

 

It reminds me when a Chinese friend asked "how do I say 不好意思" in Chinese.  I said - well, there's a few meanings, how about "Sorry".  

Then she explains that actually someone gave her a gift so she wants to say 不好意思.  I asked - "Well do you want him to give you another gift" and "Do you want him to call you" or "Do you want to return the gift as it is too expensive and you don't want to see him again", but she just wanted a literal translation of 不好意思, and refused to discuss her goals, so I said I couldn't help her as it's very hard to translate a phrase that has no clear meaning, and where the response to gift giving is culturally specific. 

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L-F-J

不好意思 in response to receiving a gift = "You shouldn't have". 

 

That could mean; "You shouldn't have, because I feel embarrassed that I have nothing in return or I don't deserve it." :) - or - "You really shouldn't have, because I now I feel like I owe you."  :wall

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L-F-J

 

 

The other problem is when I take liberties with the translation and translate what I perceive to be the meaning, rather than the words, she uses Wechat translate to verify the translation and complains when it doesn't match up with what she wrote.

 

I agree with what imron said to this. You should remind them that English and Chinese are entirely unrelated languages and word-for-word is often not possible if you want a decent translation. That's why humans are hired to do this job.

 

However, while roddy's rendering reads quite smoothly and gets the message across, it still comes off as interpretation rather than translation. If he were to say this while working as an interpreter, I'd be extremely pleased with it. As a translator, there may be more stringent requirements by the client to stay closer to the source text. So, it depends on the client how loose you can be with it.

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vellocet

The example sentences don't seem terribly long.

What kind of Chinese material do you read on a daily basis? You may need to practice with more advanced material, like longer magazine articles (such as 南方周末 or 财新).

 

See, that's the problem with posting here.  I think a lot of you are at a very advanced level, and you assume that everyone else must be as advanced as you.  As advertised in my signature to the left, I have a very modest ability.  I can only read 1500 characters and this is my first translating job.  "Read on a daily basis" I wish I could be as dedicated to study as you.  I don't study nearly as much as I should, and I have a lot of other things to do every day.  I really wish I could go to school full-time for a couple of years and get good at Chinese, but that's just infeasible considering where my life is now. 

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