A language difference between Chinese and English: classifiers

Chinese and English are two languages different from each other in both macro and micro ways. In this post I want to briefly talk about one micro difference: the usage of classifiers.

Classifiers, also called counter words or measure words, are used to accompany nouns and to classify/measure the noun depending on the type/amount of its referent. Classifiers are not a common feature of English but in Chinese they play an important role.

When Chinese want to say one envelope, they say 一枚信封/one piece of envelope, which is constituted of the numeral 一, the classifier 枚, and the noun 信封. So the basic structure is numeral + classifier + noun. Classifiers are an indispensable element in Chinese for such expressions.

The Chinese equivalent of two envelopes is 两枚信封/ two pieces of envelops, which only updates the numeral 一/one into 两/two while the classifier and the noun remain identical with the above singular expression. This briefly explains how to express plural information in Chinese.

Numerals in English can stand alone as the subject or the object, while in Chinese numerals are normally followed by classifiers to express such information. For example, Table A has two apples, and table B has four. The equivalent Chinese is A桌有两个苹果,B桌有四个。In the second part of the English example “four” on its own functions as object, but its equivalent Chinese is 四个 which is constituted of numeral 四 and classifier 个.

However, language is always flexible and complicated. Modern written Chinese inherits lots of expressions and styles from ancient Chinese, the former was considered vulgar and the latter is too elegant to be understood by ordinary people. Idiomatic phrases are such typical heritage, and they generally do not include classifiers. For example, the equivalent Chinese proverb of  “Kill two birds with one stone” 一石二鸟 has a literal back translation: one stone two birds. So you can see there is no classifier at all, and it is punchier than an explanatory expression with classifiers.

Happy International Translation Day 2016

Today is the International Translation Day, themed Connecting Worlds. I feel so proud and blessed to become a professional translator. Happy International Translation Day, my colleagues from around the globe.


Connecting Worlds

The world of the translator and the world of the interpreter are two professions dedicated to one goal: facilitating communication between people. As the world becomes more integrated, fostering understanding between the multitude of speakers is more critical than ever. Whether it is in writing or in speech. Interpreters and translators are at the junction point that impacts the development of business, science, medicine, technology, international law, politics and a host of other areas. We provide the ability for each of these worlds to learn from each other to the benefit of society as a whole. The role of translators and interpreters in connecting worlds is to open up the whole world to all of us.

—International Federation of Translators




Be alarmed at and open to the evolving Neural Machine Translation

Google debut its neural machine translation product (GNMT), which based on their arguments and real examples can be called a milestone in machine translation. I do not fully understand the involved technologies explained, but I am amazed by the translation examples they provided which are much better and smarter than the previous performance. All these mean human translators are welcoming a powerful partner or a threatening competitor.

Google also explains that their  GNMT which relies on the phrase-based translation is still far from being robust. Based on my understanding what makes GNMT a milestone is that it goes far beyond word, but treats the source on a phrase base while takes the sentence as an unit during the encode-decode translation process. I do not know what these mean in the technology term, but I do believe something intelligent is happening in this translation/language process field, because it sounds closer to artificial intelligence. And it is out of question that a different age is coming to human translators. Be alarmed, colleagues.

But this is not the end. Technology is designed to free and empower humankind. Be open to all these advances and benefit from them. When MT is intelligent enough to dominate the standard translation field, it would be a marvelous world beyond our imagination.


How to calculate the word count in PPT2016 win10

Unlike MS Word which displays the word count directly at the bottom bar, PPT hides such statistics. But it is easy to dig out the data: Click the File tab in the PPT file, and then Info>Properties>Advanced Properties, then in the pop-up window go to Statistics tab to find the data. See below:

how-to-calculate-ppt-word-count-win10-1 how-to-calculate-ppt-word-count-win10-2

Customize your default column dispaly of win10 file explorer

In windows explorer, I basically only need one column information besides Name to explain the contained folders: Date modified. But the original default column display gives me many other unneeded information, such as Album, album artist, etc. Below explains how to customize your default column display in the explorer, making each and every folder display the column information as you need.

There are essentially two operations: customize your column, and set it into default.

First thing first, customize your column.

  1. Open the explorer.
  2. In the top tool bar, choose View>Add columns>Choose columns, and tick/untick the column as you needed. See below:


Second, set the above column display as the default in all explorer folders

In the opened folder, go to the top tool bar, and click View>Options>Change folder and search options. Then in the pop-up window go to the View tab, and click Apply to Folders, then click Apply and OK. Done.


Before and after.


SDL Trados Studio Freelance 2015: Character Limitation Setting

Character limitation is applied in certain jobs related with titles, SEO key words,  etc. , which means the total characters in one segment/line should not exceed the required amount.

Below is a brief note about how to set the character limitation in SDL Trados Studio Freelance 2015. Although this function does not make the user unable to type more than a certain amount of text, it does help as a QA option which will indicate for the user if s/he exceeded the character limit. Continue reading SDL Trados Studio Freelance 2015: Character Limitation Setting



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Becoming a fashion and marketing translator

I am a translator in fashion and marketing field for almost four years. It was not because I loved it but because it happened that I was assigned to do so at the very beginning as an intern. And thank goodness, I fell in love with this specialism which combines culture, language, stories, and marketing skills. There was excruciating time when I had no idea of the meaning of basic terminology like tops, hides and movement. But there was satisfactorily happy time when I completed a fashion magazine translation after ensured everything was all right. Continue reading Becoming a fashion and marketing translator