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Interpreting is a separate skill to being proficient in speaking both languages


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Even if you are very proficient in both the source language and the target language, interpreting between two languages is a challenge that even experienced interpreters can face. It's especially so if you don't have much practice in interpreting between the two languages.


This is a sentiment rather succinctly expressed by Mark Roswell aka 大山(da shan), the godfather of Chinese-speaking foreigners, in an interview that can be viewed here (sorry to those who cannot view this in China): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rXGg8VkVKg


I experienced this myself very recently, where I was saying in English: "You just need to practice listening, and then, if I speak fast..." and then I switched into Chinese because it was easier to express and the expression popped into my head before the English did: “你就会听得懂(nǐ jiù huì tīngdedǒng)”. I'm still not sure how I would have expressed that phrase in English.


What's everybody's thoughts and experiences about this?

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A lot of people seem to not understand this, not really sure why. Like most things, education/training makes you more adept than you would be otherwise, but language is still this mysterious thing to people that they use every day but have no clue how it works.

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:  a man who sponsors a person at baptism
:  one having a relation to someone or something analogous to that of a male sponsor to his godchild: as
a :  one that founds, supports, or inspires <made him the godfather of a whole generation of rebels — Times Literary Supplement>
b :  the leader of an organized crime syndicate


I think the OP is using sense 2a?  Not sure if 教父 applies.


1 教父

2b 教父 (made popular by Coppola's movies I think)


乾爹 also translates to godfather.




a man whose position is roughly equivalent to a foster father and godfather in Western countries without religious or legal complications


In the OP's sentence, I'd perhaps say 代表  (representative).  I think 始祖 would be too much of an exaggeration.


" . . .  大山 (da shan), the godfather of Chinese-speaking foreigners . . ."



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That's what I was afraid he was suggesting.


In any event, the OP's original point is one that applies across the board. The world's best simultaneous Chinese-English English-Chinese interpreter may well lack the literary skills to translate a novel, for example.

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I fall into the "Speak For Yourself!" camp on this one. (Da Shan has already been burned at the stake here on several earlier threads.)


But purely from a translation standpoint, I think 灵感(的人) reflects what you want to say better than 代表.

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You can search top right and find such fuel for the fire as "Dashan 大山 discusses why 老外 hate him . . . ."


On the other hand, this weekend in particular, you might want to recall some history to understand why many foreigners would never take Da Shan as their inspiration.



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I don't think 靈感 can be used that way,not even if you say 靈感的人 .


While 靈感 can mean inspiration, I've only seen it used as a noun.  It is used more for "creative ideas" than for the kind of inspiration that causes people to change their way of life.


For example, while you can say "他給我靈感。" or even the over-the-top "他是我的靈感。", it usually means that he's causing me to generate many creative ideas (e.g. for writing a book), and not that I'd, say, go join the army because he serves as an heroic example.


For the latter something like 啟示、激勵 or 感化 would be used.


I am aware that 代表 isn't a literal translation.  I took a guess as to what the OP meant, and what would be a natural thing to say in a similar situation. I'm glad he approves  :mrgreen: .

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While 靈感 is more commonly used for, say, artistic types of inspiration, I have no problem using it here, especially given DS's showboating performances.





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