MaoMi Chinese Episode 157 Translated Tone Mandarin

#157 The Translated Tone Exposed You 2 翻译腔暴露了你 2

After episode #150, many listeners were asking if we can talk more about the translated tone and tips to speak Chinese naturally. Of course we can! Leave us a comment if you would like to have more episodes like this.

大家好!欢迎回来MaoMi Chinese!




首先,我想和大家说,说中文有翻译腔,这是很正常的,因为大家都是中文学习者。刚开始学外语的时候,我们都会在大脑里把母语翻译 成 外语。所以,千万不要太着急,慢慢来,多听一些中文,也多说一些中文,你的中文一定会越来越自然。


因为我们需要把母语翻译成中文,所以就会有翻译腔。中文的一些语序,也就是词语的顺序,和很多语言不一样。我们一起来听一些例子吧!比如,“He is the one who stole the money”,你会怎么翻译呢?如果直接把英文翻译成中文,那就是“他是偷了钱的那个人”。这句话,中国人听了可能会觉得有一点儿奇怪。更自然的中文应该是:“偷了钱的那个人就是他“。Because in Chinese we put the emphasis on the latter part of the sentence, 就 is also for emphasis。想一想,怎么说 “Chongqing is the city which goes viral on TikTok”? 更自然的中文应该是:在抖音上走红的城市就是重庆。


有时候,英文的词在中文里有很多种不一样的意思。比如,英文里的“Excuse me”很好用,我们问问题可以用,说对不起可以用,要别人再说一遍可以用,要别人让路的时候也可以用。但是,在中文里,我们要用不同的词。问问题的excuse me,是“请问”,比如,“请问去火车站怎么走?”说对不起的excuse me,是“不好意思”。要别人让路的excuse me,是“借过”, “麻烦让一让”,比如:“不好意思!我赶时间,麻烦让一让!”如果别人说了很奇怪的话,或者很没礼貌的话,你想说“excuse me??” 在中文里,你可以说“什么鬼??”比如,如果你听到一个人说了种族歧视的话,你可以说:“你在说什么鬼??再说一遍?”


我们也知道英文里的“please”,意思是“请”,但是在很多时候,我们不说请,而是说“麻烦你”,或者更有礼貌的“劳驾”。比如,如果你想说“Please let me know when you are available”,我们可以说“麻烦您有空的时候跟我说一声”。如果你点了外卖,你想和外卖小哥说“Please leave it near the door”,你可以说:“麻烦放在门口”。



Hello everyone! Welcome back to MaoMi Chinese!


In the 150th episode, we talked about translated tone. Later, many people said they hoped there would be another episode to continue discussing translated tone. Alright, no problem! Today, let’s continue talking about examples of translated tone and how we can make our Chinese sound more natural.


Firstly, I want to tell everyone that having translated tone when speaking Chinese is very normal because we are all learners of Chinese. When we first start learning a foreign language, we tend to translate from our native language into the foreign language in our minds. So, don’t worry too much, take it slowly, listen to more Chinese, and speak more Chinese. Your Chinese will definitely become more natural over time.


Because we need to translate from our native language into Chinese, there will be translated tone. Some word orders in Chinese, that is, the order of words, are different from many other languages. Let’s listen to some examples together! For example, “He is the one who stole the money,” how would you translate it? If directly translated from English into Chinese, it would be “他是偷了钱的那个人.” Chinese people might find this sentence a bit strange. A more natural Chinese expression should be: “偷了钱的那个人就是他.” Because in Chinese we put the emphasis on the latter part of the sentence, 就 is also used for emphasis. Think about how to say “Chongqing is the city which goes viral on TikTok”? A more natural Chinese expression should be: “在抖音上走红的城市就是重庆.”


Sometimes, English words have different meanings in Chinese. For example, “Excuse me” is very versatile in English; we can use it to ask questions, apologize, ask someone to repeat something, or ask someone to move aside. However, in Chinese, we need to use different words. “Excuse me” for asking questions is “请问,” for apologizing is “不好意思,” and for asking someone to move aside is “借过” or “麻烦让一让,” for example: “不好意思!我赶时间,麻烦让一让!” If someone says something strange or impolite and you want to say “excuse me??”, you can say “什么鬼??” For example, if you hear someone say something racially discriminatory, you can say: “你在说什么鬼??再说一遍?”


We also know that “please” in English means “请,” but in many cases, we don’t say “please,” instead, we say “麻烦你” or more politely, “劳驾.” For example, if you want to say “Please let me know when you are available,” you can say “麻烦您有空的时候跟我说一声.” If you’ve ordered takeout and want to tell the delivery person “Please leave it near the door,” you can say “麻烦放在门口.”


We talked about some more examples of translated tone. If you found it useful, leave us a comment, and I’ll make another podcast episode about translated tone.

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