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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/18/2019 in all areas

  1. 11 points
    I will get round to writing part 2 of my write up of the university course: in the meantime heres a brief thought I ended up writing out in full. Would be interested to hear others thoughts: Recently I have noticed I am stuttering a lot more when just regularly chatting to friends in Chinese; my brain appears to constantly be asking itself, 'is this really the most appropriate word?' Perhaps this is a result of moving back to the UK and being away from the total immersion of China, but I feel like its more likely a result of learning how to work between two languages when on the mic in interpreting situations... Take the various concepts of 'collapse' in Chinese as an example. There's 垮, it denotes the idea of collapsing inwards on itself. then there's 崩潰, the idea of something or someone collapsing from the cause of not being able to bear a load. what about 瓦解, collapse due to internal disintegration, figuratively as well as literally, or even 塌縮, the idea of, say, a star collapsing inwards on itself to eventually become a black hole. All these different concepts of collapsing will almost always be translated into English simply as 'collapse'. Whilst this makes for very easy interpreting, it actually makes your Chinese worse, as you are constantly drawing together these distinct meanings into one basket named 'collapse', not allowing your brain to understand the finesse in their differences. What one is constantly striving towards in learning another language is to rewire the brain in order to divide and distinguish concepts that are different from one's mother tongue. Not only does learning the skill of interpreting not tolerate such rewiring, it actually bundles all the wires together in a big tangled mess. The brain is told to forget the small but important differences between words and instead group words into easy to manage target language categories. As a result, I find I question my word choice a lot more often than I once did. I find I can no longer simply rely on feeling, or make choices as easily simply based on a gut feeling. So it would seem, while my Chinese has improved a lot in the last year, learning to interpret has perhaps had a negative effect on my "語感", or my ability to simply 'feel' what the right word should be. Hopefully this is just temporary.
  2. 7 points
    No pencil, no mouth, no food, no drawing a straight line. I'm not sure where that explanation came from, but it's simply not accurate. I'm going to oversimplify a bit here, but this is essentially what happened. There were originally two characters: and The one on the left is zuǒ (left hand), while the one on the right is yòu (right hand; now written 又). They look exactly alike, except for the direction they face. Over time, they started to resemble each other: (that's zuǒ, but you wouldn't know to look at it). So you have 𠂇 zuǒ and 𠂇 yòu. They look identical, but one is "left" and the other is "right." So how do you know which one you're looking at? You add a mark to distinguish them. Now you have 𠂇 zuǒ and 右 yòu. Note that in 右, 口 isn't "a mouth," but a distinguishing mark. But since 𠂇 can be "left" or "right," it's still a bit ambiguous. So it's really best to have a character used exclusively for "left," don't you think? Enter 左. It already existed, as a depiction of a "left" hand holding a tool (not a ruler, but a shovel-like tool of some sort), and it meant "to assist." They borrowed it to mean "left," and that's how we got to where we are today. All of this happened pretty early in the history of the writing system. Interesting tidbit: in Japanese and in traditional (not 繁體 but 傳統) stroke order rules, the 𠂇 in 左 and the 𠂇 in 右 are written with different stroke orders. That's due to the fact that they were originally different hands.
  3. 6 points
    Well, I think I'd better speak up here because I have rather unusual qualifications on this topic. I am a white Western woman who met my Chinese husband when I was working in China, and we have been married now for 34 years. I would call it a successful marriage, though we did go through some rough patches related to his difficulty in finding jobs in the US. I don't remember any huge cultural differences at all around courtship and romance, except that he doesn't like to talk about his feelings much. Hah! I don't fit any of those criteria. I'm not beautiful, not petite and am not outgoing. I'm an intellectual and very adventurous, and it was those qualities that attracted my husband to me, I think. When we were dating, we most often talked about philosophical ideas. Maybe he's an outlier in Chinese society, but it appears he was looking for what we call in the West a "soulmate."
  4. 4 points
    No, it really depends where you are in Shenzhen and where you are headed to in Hong Kong. If you are in Nanshan, for example, crossing at Shenzhen Bay to shop in Tuen Mun or Yuen Long is most convenient. Note too that the HSR connection from Futian is around twice the cost of the other approaches and leaves you at W Kowloon, where you have to connect to other points in HK.
  5. 4 points
    As promised, here is the second installment of my blog following the second term of teaching in a one year Masters program in interpreting and translation at Bath University in the UK. The structure and content of teaching in the second term has been very different to the first term, so if you are interested in comparing, please take a look at my first blog entry. The second term put A LOT more emphasis on live interpreting practice, pressure has been a lot higher, and the requirements for specialized vocabulary has been noticeably greater than the first term. I will break down the different classes over a few blog entries, in the hope its more palatable for reading. I will assess my own performance vs my Chinese classmates, as well as reflect on Chinese-English interpreting from a native English speakers perspective whenever it might be useful. Firstly I’ll start with Simultaneous Interpreting. Simultaneous Interpreting and using Glossaries So, our SI (Simultaneous Interpreting) class has been every Monday at 11:15. The course works both directions C-E and E-C, and we have alternated direction from week to week. We mostly work inside professional interpreting booths for the first hour, doing live interpreting of videos that vary from 10 mins in length to half an hour using headphones and microphones that record live. The second hour is largely dedicated to feedback and guidance for improvement. We are told the broad topic of the class via email around Thursday the week before, for example, “next weeks SI will be on ‘fracking’” and that’s it. We are then expected to prepare a glossary of specialized terms, usually that can fit on one A4 page, which we can then bring to class and place next to our microphones as we interpret, for reference. The point of this is not to actually collect huge lists of words (although this inevitably happens), but rather, read widely and educate ourselves on different subjects in both English and Chinese, as well as learn how to ‘prep’ for real life interpreting jobs. Many students seemed to have no issue with this set up, as many already have rich active vocabularies and encyclopedic knowledge. (side note: Seriously, I have never met such widely read people in my life. And that really goes for every single one of my classmates; they can talk through macro and microeconomics with ease, go to a doctors ward and discuss the treatment regimen for obscure diseases, explain in depth how neural networking is changing media reporting; all in both Chinese AND English. Quite amazing and very motivating for study). One downside of this set up for me has been that I have spent almost all my free time building glossaries and learning vocabulary, whereas my classmates have had time to practice the actual skill of interpreting in out-of-class hours. That being said, if I had known this before starting the course I probably would have been scared away and never even started. It is an inevitability for many of us coming from a background of only starting learning Chinese at university, there is simply not enough time to consolidate the vast amounts of knowledge required for professional level interpreting. Getting back on topic: everyone seemed to have their own method to putting together specialized glossaries, for SI classes some even came with entire prepared folders with concise glossaries on pretty much every entry to an encyclopedia (I later learnt that in some cases these glossaries had already been used for many years and were very familiar to their users). I have spent the better part of every week this year picking out key terminology for Monday’s SI class (and Thursday’s Consecutive Interpreting class), that is, terms that would require thinking time over and above the constraints of simultaneous interpreting. The reaction time to a speaker usually needs to be kept within 2 seconds; if terminology comes up that is not in your active vocabulary, it will almost certainly stretch you to around 5-10 seconds before you get it out in the target language, by which time the entire thread of the speakers argument has been missed. Evidently, glossaries are incredibly important to successful simultaneous interpreting. In almost all cases I short-term memorised every item on each glossary; heres a look at my anki: Vocabulary requirements In the last 3 months alone I have accumulated 1610 specialised vocabulary terms in my anki. This in fact EXCLUDES my cards from Supermemo (another well-know srs system which I both love and hate at the same time) which has another 2733 cards added since early March (see attached images). I use Supermemo for reading, so many of these cards aren’t vocabulary items, but clozed passages from Wikipedia/academic articles. Nonetheless, the mental strain for getting up to the standard required for SI is frankly unhealthy: it is simply not doable in the time frame that the course allows. Many of my classmates have already taken courses in interpreting prior to this course, and so managed to keep up with the pace, but lets just say there were tears in class from some a number of times. Left: Anki deck specifically for interpreting glossaries. Right: excel files for glossaries Regarding the workload and how I coped. I estimate (stressing estimate, based on a pleco deck I have added to over the last five years to track my vocab progress) my passive vocabulary is now around 15-20,000, but active is to be honest probably only around 10-15,000 (again, hard to really know). Which is certainly not good enough to do professional interpreting with. For anyone considering doing a course like this, you should know that you are aiming for ‘near-native’ level size of active vocabulary, what I have been working with seemed like an impressive vocabulary size when I started the course, but now it seems laughable. Some of my classmates are far better read than me in English, 30k+ I reckon. a deck I have added any word I think 'useful' to over the years. I review these words in anki. an example of what my supermemo decks for reading Chinese/English articles looks like. As you can see, the requirements for vocabulary appear very scary. That being said, to someone that has learnt Chinese or English seriously for 10+ years, this is quite reasonable and achievable. I first went to China in 2008, and didn’t properly start learning until 2013/14, so I still have many years to go! I’m sure some of the longer-standing members of these forums must be nodding with a wry smile right now - been there done that! That’s it for now, next entry I’ll go through my thoughts on the CI class. Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble, very hard to try and structure all that has happened over the last few months.
  6. 3 points
    《义务教育常用词表(草案)》 was just published. Compiled by the Ministry of Education, it contains 15114 words. That's the number of words you're expected to know after 9 years of formal education. By my estimation, HSK 6 vocabulary (5000 words, 2663 characters) is around the level of native 4-5th graders. So of course there is a gap. For graded reader publishers, HSK 5-6 is simply too advanced and not profitable. For native content publishers, 2000 characters is the minimal. Below that, you're illiterate and should be reading picture books. I see you've mentioned 杨红樱. I've never read her books so can't comment. But if you ever grow tired of talking animals, try 曹文轩. He's still relatively simple, but more mature. By the way, wasn't it you who was reading 古龙's 《流星·蝴蝶·剑》? Graded readers seem a huge step back.
  7. 2 points
    Another interesting transliterated food name is 曲奇 (qūqí) for cookie, as found in 冰淇淋曲奇. I have also seen the word 曲奇饼 (qūqíbǐng), which I am tempted to translate as “cookie cookie.”
  8. 2 points
    Rhymes with 有: 没有 美藕
  9. 2 points
    Hi WInnie, What research have you already done? Do you speak/read any VIetnamese at all? The người Ngái are famously hard to place: the speech is distinctly Chinese-based, and it is usually classified into Hakka as you say, with some links to the Tanka people of Hong Kong. However, there are also counterclaims, with Wikipedia in Chinese currently saying that there are relationships with the She people, who are spread around the southeastern Chinese coast. I found one study from 1998 in English, and a more recent one from 2018 (which uses a lot of Sino-Vietnamese for Chinese concepts).
  10. 2 points
    ExpressVPN have just posted an update a few minutes ago: Updated 10:50 GMT / 18:50 GMT+8, June 2, 2019. VPN connectivity in China has been significantly impacted as a result of upcoming political events. Our engineers have been working around the clock to restore connectivity. Thank you for your patience as we continue to address the blocks. We now recommend trying to connect to the following server locations. If you tried and were unable to connect earlier today, we recommend that you try these locations again: Hong Kong – 4 USA – Los Angeles – 5 Singapore – Marina Bay UK – Wembley I just tried HK4 and it connected right away, first attempt. Over the past few days I've actually found it has been connecting more reliably on my phone using 4G data than on my laptop with Wifi. Unfortunately when tethering the laptop it doesn't seem to send the network data via the VPN connection. Not sure if there's a setting somewhere for this in iOS...
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