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Showing content with the highest reputation on 01/13/2020 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    1. If you do plan to take formal Chinese instruction while here, make it a point to find a school which can sponsor a student visa. Many (perhaps most) don't care about your age as long as your wallet still works. Many (probably most) will help you find a simple place to live, sometimes in the form of shared accommodations. It's not unusual for two or three students to get together to share rent and associated housing expenses. The school will act as a "matchmaker" and typically helps you with basic legal matters, such as looking over the lease. 2. If you don't plan to take formal Chinese classes, but you think you are likely to stay 6 months or more, then rent a small apartment. Use that as your base of operations for travel. Gives you a place to leave heavy stuff and come back to between backpack expeditions. (It's very difficult or impossible to rent an apartment for less than 6 months.) 3. If you don't plan to take formal Chinese classes, but think you are not likely to stay 6 months or more, then look into serviced apartments that rent by the week and look into small residential hotels. Personally, I'm a fan of serviced apartments in this scenario because they usually have a small kitchenette where you can fix at least some of your meals. Another option in this last scenario is sharing an apartment with working Chinese or other expats. In Kunming a resource for that would be the classified ads in GoKunming. https://www.gokunming.com/en/ Many other cities have somethings similar. Age doesn't really enter into the equation since you aren't planning to work. Most jobs are not available to men over 60. At 50 you can still get hired, all other factors being equal. What I did when in your situation, was just work real hard and live frugally while in the US, save my money, and then travel in China. The US was for earning 挣钱; China was for spending 花钱。Several months back home working; several months traveling in China and learning the language. Went back and forth like that until I eventually retired. Glad to try and help further as your plans develop.
  2. 3 points
  3. 2 points
    The website horizontalhanzi.com was set up to collect commonly-confused characters Since users can contribute those they have trouble with, there's a body of user-generated "most popular" issues.
  4. 1 point
    In general I would not recommend someone from the Western countries with good education system to kick-off their academic life in China. Even though you consider these "top universities of China", their global reputation is still under development, and there is a good chance that a scarce number of people would recognize them in case you decide to come back to Europe and work and live here. At least do your bachelor here in Europe, then as a university student apply for scholarships in China, spend a year there as a language student, see for yourself whether you like what you see, and you can apply for master's degree program later (with quite good scholarship options).
  5. 1 point
    Half of which you'll never need to learn.
  6. 1 point
    Initially I thought the 辶 radical is easy enough to spot and remember. Some of the first characters were: 这 and 还. At first somewhat confusing, but not too difficult after all. Then I realised there are: 这, 还, 过, 进, 送, 连, 选, 远, 遍, 道, 腿, 边, 追, 逃, 近, 逼, 通, 达, 透, 随, 退, 迟, 迷, 造, 运, 迪, 逮, 遭, 逗, 遇, 缝, 速, 逛, 谜, 链, 逊, 避, 迈, 邀, 递, 莲, 遮, 遛, 遥, 迹, 逝, 巡, 哒, 述, 途, 迭, 逆, 蓬, 逢, 迎, 篷, 返, 违, 逞, 迫, 逐, 槌, 褪, 适, 遗, 迦, 迁, 谴, 遣, 暹, 迅, 逸, 遂, 鞑, 遁, 糙, 遵, 逾, 逖, 髓, 迸, 挞, 遏, 辽, 跶, 迺, 逡, 嗵, 謎, 樋, 逻, 醚, 邊, 遐, 迴, 辺, 逋, 邏, 遺, 辻, 邋, 燧, 逑, 迂, 遜, 迄, 這, 邁, 缱, 遽, 達, 迢, 選, 躂, 叇, 嗹, 嚃, 垯, 壝, 挝, 摓, 摙, 擿, 梿, 檖, 涟, 瀡, 煺, 琏, 璡, 璲, 穟, 笾, 簻, 繨, 缒, 膇, 荙, 蓪, 蕸, 薖, 薳, 蘧, 裢, 襚, 跹, 辶, 込, 辿, 迋, 迍, 迓, 迕, 迣, 迤, 迥, 迨, 迩, 迮, 迳, 迶, 迻, 迿, 逄, 逅, 逌, 逍, 逓, 逦, 逭, 逯, 逴, 逵, 逶, 逹, 遄, 遅, 遑, 遒, 遘, 遝, 遟, 遢, 遨, 遫, 遰, 遴, 遹, 遻, 邂, 邃, 邅, 邈, 邉, 邎, 鎹, 鏠, 鐩, 鐽, 闼, 隧, 餸, 髄, 鲢, 僆, 儙, 噠, 噵, 嚺, 塠, 塳, 墶, 嬘, 搥, 撻, 撾, 曃, 槰, 橽, 檛, 檤, 櫏, 漨, 澻, 澾, 濄, 瀢, 熢, 熥, 燵, 琎, 瓋, 瓍, 瞇, 磀, 磓, 礈, 禭, 縋, 縌, 縫, 繸, 繾, 膖, 膸, 膼, 蒁, 蒾, 薘, 藡, 螁, 蟽, 蠭, 譢, 譴, 讁, 讉, 蹆, 躚, 辷, 辸, 迀, 迃, 迆, 迉, 迊, 迌, 迏, 迒, 迖, 迗, 迚, 迠, 迡, 迧, 迬, 迯, 迱, 迲, 迵, 迼, 迾, 逇, 逈, 逎, 逕, 逘, 逜, 連, 逤, 逥, 逧, 逨, 逩, 逪, 逫, 逬, 逰, 週, 進, 逳, 逷, 逺, 逽, 逿, 遀, 遃, 遆, 遈, 遉, 遊, 運, 遌, 過, 違, 遖, 遙, 遚, 遞, 遠, 遡, 遤, 遦, 遧, 適, 遪, 遬, 遯, 遱, 遲, 遳, 遶, 遷, 遼, 遾, 還, 邆, 邇, 邌, 邍, 邐, 鎚, 鐹, 鑓, 闥, 闧, 隨, 靆, 韃, 韆, 韼, 鬔, 鱁 😅
  7. 1 point
    From my experience, I don't think anyone can really inform you what's confusing and whats not, its very individual . I have made a character SRS deck and always update it periodically with confusing characters. I remember at the start of my study that we were supposed to be confused by 八 人 入. I never was was though. However plenty of others I mixed up constantly , mainly when the radical differs like 快, 块 etc 白 and 日 doesn't confuse me at all but some some unknown reason I get 通 and 道 mixed up a lot! I found that updating your own customised list as you come across them is the way to go, but its important not try pre-empt what you might find confusing as it would soon spiral out of control with all the possible combinations
  8. 1 point
    These episodes are on youtube if anyone's interested: S01E01 S01E02 S01E03 See also some reactions in China reported in English via Xinhua and CGTN.
  9. 1 point
    This blog post Top 258 Most Commonly Confused Chinese Characters also has some interesting resources, including dictation practice split across 3 levels of difficulty, and transcriptions which give common ways of describing the characters, e.g. 刀、力 刀刃的刀 — dāorèn de dāo 力量的力 — lìliang de lì
  10. 1 point
  11. 1 point
    Good question, @mungouk -- Thanks for asking. It has a fresh, bland flavor which is similar to young Brussels sprouts or Napa cabbage. Not bitter. It does best when combined with a meat which has lots of flavor. In Chinese cooking, it it usually stir-fried with a flavorful meat. Examples are sausage 香肠, smoked bacon 腊肉, and pork belly 五花肉。Here in Yunnan, it is often stir-fried with our famous slow-cured ham 云南火腿。My approach in the recipe above was to steam it in the rice cooker while making rice with sausage slices on top. Did it that way in the interest of efficiency and reducing the need for dishwashing/cleanup. Texture is tender after it's cooked. Could easily slice through a piece with the side of a fork. Around here, seeds for them are planted in September, seedlings are set out in October. Harvest is late December through mid February. It's a traditional food of winter; often associated with Spring Festival banquets in these parts. It's sometimes pickled, sometimes served room temperature as a 凉拌 (Chinese salad.) It's actually quite different, in that it is mainly a tough, woody stalk 梗 about as big around as my arm. The most frequently eaten part is the "knees" or "knobs" that extend from that heavy main stalk. One of the stories about how the vegetable got its name is that these knobs are "sons" of the big mother -- 儿子。 It's hard to explain clearly, but these pictures might help. These first two show the big vegetable entire ("the mother.") I've split it down the middle to expose the tough woody interior. (I only use this part for soup.) The tender parts which are most commonly eaten are the knobs growing from the sides of the main stalk. These are the "sons" -- the 儿子。You break them off with your fingers and slice them or quarter them before cooking. I marked them with arrows. Upscale markets, such as @DavyJonesLocker is talking about in his reply, often sell the knobs alone, pre-trimmed and packaged. This makes for less labor and less waste. Below left is a picture of those. I've sometimes bought them like that, gladly paying more because I was in a hurry. Below right is a picture of the tough stalk, cut up and getting ready to become part of a slow-cooked pork bone 猪骨 winter soup.
  12. 1 point
    Incidentally, friends don't let friends get Chinese character tattoos.
  13. 1 point
    A reply to a recent comment from @murrayjames spawned into something perhaps more worthy of an additional entry. The comment reads, This is correct - there is frequent public failure, unrealistic deadlines and demands, and non-specialists taking on specialist jobs. Here are my thoughts on why the industry is like the way it is at present in the West. There is an obvious disconnect between client and interpreter, which, already so wide as it is, is only exacerbated by the fact the market is unregulated and rife with interpretation agencies offering specialists for every field, which they couldn't possibly afford at the rates the real specialists work at. Of course, clients don't know this and don't care - they just want someone in the booth who is 'fluent' to interpret their conference on a niche topic. Most interpreters rely on a good reputation to build a specialism in a certain field - eg. 'life sciences', 'renewables', and gain repeat clients in this way. It is this which results in the growth of confidence and ability. But such a trial and error approach to finding and building up good interpreters is clearly the wrong way to go about raising great interpreters in the field. The same is of course true for translation, but generally translators have the time and space to do the necessary research during the project, whereas interpreters can only guesstimate what might come up in their next job based on a description from the arranging party who is hopefully well-enough informed themselves. On specialist interpretation: IMO, Interpreters should be in-house specialists in specific fields whenever possible. They should be an integral part of the planning process for any event they will be interpreting at. However organisations these days are always looking to cut costs, and when there are cheaper rates from a general agency rather than employing a specialist freelancer, too often it seems the former is opted for, usually by someone who does not understanding what interpreters do. The latest high profile example of this which caused quite a lot of embarrassment was the interpreter for Sun Yang at his WADA doping hearing (watch here). The interpreter clearly was not a specialist in the field of swimming, drug testing, etc. and the result was quite shocking. On non-specialist interpretation: Non-specialists are a necessity, but will never be able to do a good job. I specialise in arts translation, specifically exhibitions and books on Chinese art. This is too narrow a specialism to build a career in, with science, medicine, law etc. being the best paid routes. But even the 'narrow' field of Chinese art is obviously not narrow at all - you could study a lifetime and still not be finished. But there are people that need the job done in narrow, underfunded areas, and 'non-specialist' is better than nothing in their eyes. The result is, all non-high-paying fields get bunched together and given to 'non-specialist' interpreters. People need the job done, and there are those willing to do the job, but the job will almost never be done to a high standard. Conclusions: 1) While there is money to employ and support specialists as full time interpreters, cost-cutting leads to non-specialists occasionally taking on (or being pushed into) jobs they are unable to do. Result: quality interpretation cannot be guaranteed due to organisations cost cutting at the expense of interpreters. 2) Niche fields need interpreters, but there is no money for specialists in these areas. Non-specialists end up taking on a wide-range of jobs they are not specialist in. The result is bad interpretation, but better than nothing. Ultimately, the problem lies with the misunderstanding of clients as to what ‘interpreting’ and ‘translating’ actually is, as well as an abundance of people willing to take on jobs when they’re not actually qualified. Contrary to popular belief, being ‘bilingual’ does not qualify you as an interpreter, but so many organisations think and hope it is the same thing, and to top it off (and who can blame them) there are bilingual speakers who reinforce this hope, because there is money to be made. A fairly hopeless situation, and I’m sure the market is very different in China, where many people are by virtue of the education system are to a certain degree bilingual (speaking not just of English, but other forms of Chinese beyond Putonghua) and understand at the very least what this means (ie. ≠ able to interpret).
  14. 1 point
    This is my last entry for this blog now that my course has finished (for those asking how the second year is going, it is only a one-year MA at Bath). I’ve been meaning to update for a while, just not had the time to sit down and write. Anyway, here it is: last thoughts on exams, dissertation, outcomes and achievements and of course what the future holds: Final exams As said in previous blog entries, translation and interpretation are totally different in terms of the skillset and workload requirements, and the same was true during exams. I got fairly good marks in my translation exams, which took the form of two unseen English articles to be translated into Chinese, and vice versa. The content for the E-C was fairly technical stuff on windfarms and medicine, the C-E was a clinical trial and an art exhibition (I’m working on some pretty hazy memory tbh, it might have been slightly different, but roughly in these areas). In E-C the biggest challenge was trying to keep up pace with the writing speed of my Chinese classmates. I didn’t finish the exam as a result, I translated the first article in full, but only 80% of the second (bad exam tactic: I drafted my translation in Chinese then wrote out in full in clear kaishu…then ran out of time…yeah). The C-E was a different story, I finished the paper with an hour to spare and walked out just after the amazing Taiwanese/American guy, which was a massive feeling of accomplishment for me. The mark I got was better than I had hoped for too, so that was a big plus. Interpretation was of course another story. Consecutive exams went okayish, I scraped through and got mediocre marks. My simultaneous exams all went terrible, I got so nervous I just froze up and stopped speaking in some of them, it really was awful. My marks were naturally very bad, surely the worst in the class I would imagine. Thankfully my average dragged me up overall, and all that really came of the experience was a harsh reminder that I am not able (nor do I ever hope to) do interpreting professionally. My own personal opinion is that interpreting really is for people who have lived in a bilingual environment for at least 10 years from a young age (starting from teen years at the very latest). I first started dabbling in Chinese when I was 20, and I think I am borderline. I believe I would be able to get to a professional level if I put in another 5-10 years from now (I am 31 as of writing). And I don’t really think I’m willing or able to give that time unfortunately. Dissertation I managed to make contact with a famous Taiwanese author and got the translation copyright for a final dissertation translation of a book on the history of Chinese calligraphy. It was an amazing project to work on, I learned a lot of in depth specialist knowledge, and has given me a lot of ideas for the future. I am very happy to say I got a distinction for the translation, and hope to get an English translation of the full book published at some point in the future. The future If I learned from my exams that interpreting wasn’t for me, I learned from my dissertation that translation…is! That being said, while the money is fairly decent, the way in which projects come at you randomly as a freelancer is not so much fun (sure many here can relate). As a result, I’m hoping to now go into education as a Chinese teacher here in the UK, with translation as a supporting income. The dissertation project has also thrown me in a new direction, with a current cooperative currently being set up with a group of fantastic artists and calligraphers I know from Hubei. I’m sure there will be more to come from this in the coming years too. Final thoughts For me – this was the hardest, most challenging year of my life. Regarding the change in my Chinese abilities over the last year: Pros - Speaking has become a lot more formal and adult like, less ‘cute’ and childlike. - Writing has become a lot quicker and again more formal in style, less ‘wechatty’ - Reading is rapid, I can now do sentence reading in 2-3 chunks rather than word by word now, and reading out loud with proper emphasis is much, much better now. Cons - Listening has become more difficult, as my brain gets frustrated when I am not 100% about every single word, tone, sentence level implication, etc. Although this might be a good thing in the long run. - I hesitate and stutter a lot more when speaking, as I am so much more aware of when word order/grammar/word choice is slightly off during the mental preparation of a sentence. I have learned too many new words over the last year, and not absorbed deep enough – as a result it causes me to stop for recall quite a lot now. If you are a native English speaker interested in doing a Chinese/English interpreting-translation qualification, I say be sure you know why you want to do the course. I was very clear that I wanted to do the course to see whether or not becoming an ‘English’ Chinese interpreter was possible for me or not. I found out it was not. But I met a few people along the way for whom it was, and that’s great! However, some people were doing the course to improve their language skills, and this kind of course will not necessarily do that – in fact it will require you to sacrifice language ability for codeswitching ability, particularly in the case of interpreting. Codeswitching is a skill that requires you to rewire the way in which your brain wants to access information – great for being ‘in the booth’, but not so much for playing mah-jong and general chitchat over some baijiu. I think quite a few students struggled to come to terms with the fact that they were being outperformed by students with worse English but better T/I skills. But as long as you are clear what your goals are before you start, a course like this can only be an asset to your Chinese in the long term. It will weed out every single one of your weaknesses and cracks in your knowledge and remind you of them all day every day until you tackle them. Its been a painful medicine to take, but I certainly don't regret it at all. Good luck to future translators and interpreters reading this!
  15. 1 point
    I just updated, sorry about the delay! No next year of uni, as the course is only one year. Have you made any decisions to do a course yet? Perhaps even already started one?
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