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Pegasus

Question about comma usage

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Pegasus

Hello everyone, 

 

I am typing up a translation of a popular children's story called The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, for my own personal use. I have the physical book. It's in English. I want to type up a translation, print it out, cut it into parts, and then tape or glue the parts of the Chinese translation into the inside of the book on each page corresponding to the original English sentences. There are many different translations of this story from the original English into Chinese out there on the internet. 

 

One of the sentences near the beginning of the story in the original English version is, “One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and--pop!--out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.” In one of the several different Chinese translations that I found on the internet, this sentence was translated into, “星期天早上,暖和的太陽升上來了。「ㄅㄛ」一聲,一條又小又餓的毛毛蟲,從蛋裡爬了出來。” 

 

I am starting from this translation of the story to base what I'm typing up for myself, but I will be modifying it based on what I am learning from reading other translations. I have personally found this exercise to be very educational. For example, some of the translations use 蛋 (like the one above) and some of the translations used 卵 instead. I wasn't familiar with 卵 before, but after seeing it and doing some research into the meaning of 卵, I now think that 卵 makes more sense. So, I will be replacing 蛋 with 卵 in the version that I am typing up for myself. 

 

But, there is something else that I am wondering about when it comes to this sentence. In this Chinese version, there is a comma near the end of the sentence before “從蛋裡爬了出來”. English is my native language, and in my English thinking mind, it feels wrong to me to have a comma there. I would think that it should be “一條又小又餓的毛毛蟲從蛋裡爬了出來” instead of “一條又小又餓的毛毛蟲,從蛋裡爬了出來”.

 

Can anyone help me understand why there is a comma there? Does it just make more sense in Chinese to have a comma there? 

 

For clarity, let me repeat the full English sentence and the full translation that I'm asking about:
“One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and--pop!--out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.” 
“星期天早上,暖和的太陽升上來了。「ㄅㄛ」一聲,一條又小又餓的毛毛蟲,從蛋裡爬了出來。”

 

I appreciate any help you can offer to help me better understand this comma usage. Thank you very much. 

 

Cheers!
 

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Shelley

I was taught that if you can take the words between the commas out and the sentence still makes sense then that is the correct use of commas.

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Lu
On 6/18/2018 at 5:46 AM, Pegasus said:

But, there is something else that I am wondering about when it comes to this sentence. In this Chinese version, there is a comma near the end of the sentence before “從蛋裡爬了出來”. English is my native language, and in my English thinking mind, it feels wrong to me to have a comma there. I would think that it should be “一條又小又餓的毛毛蟲從蛋裡爬了出來” instead of “一條又小又餓的毛毛蟲,從蛋裡爬了出來”.

Let me make an attempt to answer this... I agree, I would also think that it looks better without the comma, both in Chinese and in English (or Dutch). Could be several reasons for the comma: the translator just likes to use this type of commas and no editor cared enough to change it; the translator felt it would be clearer for young readers with the comma in there (makes some sense); or some other reason.

 

Generally the rules (or at least the common usage in printed material) for commas are different in Chinese. The more obvious example is how many authors just string sentences together with comma after comma, never needing a full stop. It still sometimes makes me a bith breathless when reading Chinese, and when translating it is important to not be afraid to break such things up and liberally introduce full stops.

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QAQo.

Never mind the use of comma in Chinese. It’s just like a pause when you are speaking.

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