Resolved Translating Chinese sentences

Discussion in 'Translator's Corner' started by Avearia, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. Avearia

    Avearia Member

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    Hello! Just so you know, I don't know Chinese, except some few phrases picked up from reading many novels.
    I was a little bored and decided to try to MTL a novel and see if I could edit it into something more meaningful. This is my first time attempting and I had a lot of doubts regarding translating Chinese sentences.
    Take the following sentence -
    我在提醒你,防人之心不可无!

    After putting that sentence through Google Translate, I got -
    I am reminding you that the heart of the people is indispensable!

    I remember reading somewhere that putting small phrases would give a better translation, and after doing so I got -
    I am reminding you, defenses can not do without!

    Using the 2nd translation as a base, I edited it to -
    I’m trying to tell you, be more cautious!

    Is there a rule that you HAVE to follow the original sentence's punctuation and such, or is it okay to keep the meaning but change up the whole sentence like -
    I'm trying to tell you to be more cautious! What if I'm a bad person?

    The reason why I added the 2nd sentence is because of the reply to the above dialogue-
    坏人是不会让别人防备自己的,所以我确定你不是坏人。
     
  2. Negiomi

    Negiomi Oddity | Grandurr's

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    Let me remind you, you must be more cautious around people?
     
  3. keialpha

    keialpha Well-Known Member

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    I have to remind you, be cautious against others at all times.
    As long as there is no obvious word play, getting the meaning across is sufficient.
     
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  4. FaerNC

    FaerNC Well-Known Member

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    The full idiom is 害人之心不可有, 防人之心不可无. One must not harm others, but must guard against others to not be harmed. One must have the heart to guard against anyone. This phrase is most often used against strangers.

    Sidenote: The 2nd sentence you posted said 'bad people would not remind others to be cautious against themselves, so I am certain you are not a bad person'.
     
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  5. Avearia

    Avearia Member

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    This makes a lot of sense, thank you!
    So if only half of the idiom is used, is it better to stick to the original idiom's wording or can it be worded differently?
     
  6. Passerby

    Passerby Well-Known Member

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    All the above carry the same correct translation. Personally I prefer following the original structure, so it's " never lose your wariness of others" or "never lower your guard towards others"
     
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  7. keialpha

    keialpha Well-Known Member

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    I disagree about the part that it is used mainly against strangers. People normally guard against strangers, and relax against friends. This idiom asks you instead, to guard against everyone, especially your best friends.
     
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  8. Eishun

    Eishun Well-Known Member

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    害人之心不可有, 防人之心不可无

    One must not think of harming others but, at the same time, be on guard against others who would seek to do you harm.
     
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  9. joey183

    joey183 The Mysterious Entity

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    I think it can be like this so that the reply makes more sense;
    Dialogue 1: Let me remind you again, be more cautious around me.
    Dialogue 2: Bad people would not tell others to be cautious against themselves, so I am certain you are not a bad person
     
  10. jintingmei

    jintingmei Member

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    I'm trying to remind you that you must always stay on guard around other people!

    You don't have to keep the punctuation. In fact, I've received kind letters telling me my tls are unreadable when I kept them in the past. I'd advise against changing too much though. The goal of a translation is to give the readers the same experience you did when reading the Chinese. Since you're mtling, I say go for readability without over westernising, which I actually often see.
    Before and after context is also useful, for if you end up asking any other questions
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019