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Chinese vs. Japanese and Korean

While Chinese is treated equally with Japanese and Korean as an Asian language in the US translation market, the translation of Chinese is in reality much more demanding than that of Japanese and Korean. The main difference is in the translation of technical terminology.

In Japanese and Korean, all technical terms are transliterated using Katakana and Hangul. For example, "computer" will be phonetically spelled out as 'con' 'pu' 'ta' using Katakana (not conceptually translated) and it takes only seconds. While in Chinese, each term is conceptually translated into a specific word. To make things even worse, for the same English term, different translations are used in different scientific and engineering disciplines. You need to either know the particular translation used in that particular field, or know where to look it up if you are lucky enough to be able to get your hands on the right specialty dictionary. Sometimes you can spend hours trying to hunt down one term but end up with nothing.



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一个汉译英项目
我想您也许有兴趣知道,您的译文已经在我公司经过编辑和文字处理交给客户了。这是个明显很难的项目,您翻译得这么好,我们的编辑(母语英语)和译审(母语中文)两人都向您表示祝贺。真诚的,帕特里夏
这是一篇中医百科全书中关于生姜的文章,是对生姜作为中药及其现代生物医学研究成果的详细描述,其中包括从唐朝以来著名中医对生姜的论述,由于涉及到医学古文和生物医学最新研究的内容,几位母语为英语的美国翻译都觉得太难而推辞了,其中有一位接了下来,但是翻译了8000多字后,由于做不下去而不做了。我在时间很紧的情况下接受了这一项目,按时将高质量的译文交给了客户,上面的话是客户项目经理发给我的电子邮件。

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