On the cultural differences between Chinese and British idioms and their translation methods

Paper Keywords: English idioms and cultural differences in translation method

Abstract: Idioms are the essence of a culture, the language of the precipitation, we can also understand it to some extent, a nation's social and cultural. This cultural differences from English to start, then explore the cultural idioms in the English differences in root, the last of the translation methods and techniques.
I. Introduction
Culture covers a wide range, both a nation's life in the formation of long-term values, mindset and emotional way, but also refers to a nation's lifestyle and communication methods, such as common habits, customs, manners, etc. but because the environment in which English and Chinese is different from the historical development of different, therefore each other's cultural differences, and sometimes the difference is enormous. This paper intends to start with the following four areas simply look at their differences: language grammar vocabulary and cultural differences, language, communication and cultural differences, values, cultural differences and differences in thinking, and then explore some of the translation method.

Second, the cultural differences between Britain

1 language, vocabulary and cultural differences

English culture is mainly reflected in the different language differences. The word is the cornerstone of language is the most significant carry cultural information, social and cultural life of the human instrument, such as 'Moon', Chinese people often think that the moon 'month also wanes, people have joys and sorrows. 'and' moon ', the Americans see the' moon 'is often associated with the moon, astronauts, etc.

(2) communication and cultural differences

Culture has a social, shared by members of society. The fundamental purpose of learning a foreign language and have different cultural backgrounds, speaking different languages ??in the community who cross-cultural communication, such as hello, talk about the weather, greetings health, ask for age, income, personal privacy, etc., in different countries have different social meanings.

3 values ??of the differences

Values ??refers to the person's ideology, ethics, religion and customs, human interaction with others such as the concept of guidelines is generally believed that is the core of a particular culture and way of life, reflected in the two languages, language understanding and translation will cause a lot of obstacles, translators attention enough to cause the Chinese culture dominated by Confucian culture, family and social relations of race was very clear and strict expression, not the slightest ambiguity and careless. English nationalism advocating individualism, personal supremacy of Western culture and values characteristics of the Chinese people focus on the overall, comprehensive, general thinking so accustomed to Chinese culture as a whole, intuitive point of view, emphasizing the value of community and collective.

4 thinking of cultural differences

English national thinking is individual and unique Anglo-American culture accustomed to logical analysis, emphasizing the individual as the center leading to the various differences on the language for example, in the name, time, address the way of expression, Chinese-English bilingual drafted in a manner clearly reflects the difference between this way of thinking, the Chinese culture descending from whole to part, while Western culture is just the opposite.

As the great English cultural differences, therefore, foreign language translation, we must take into account two aspects of language and culture, pay attention to realize the importance of culture and language-related, but also to pay attention to cultural differences. Idioms are language essence, is that people's social life in the cumulative expression of ideas derives from the way, is a cultural deposits, is the language in the course of the formation of a unique fixed expression, a broad sense, including idioms idioms (idioms, phrases ( set phrases, proverbs (proverbs, maxims (sayings), saying (colloquialisms, aphorisms (epigrams, Quotations (quotations, allusions (allusions, slang (slangs, twisters (two-part sayings, etc. Here's explore the differences between Chinese and Western idioms , it is reflected by the difference between Eastern and Western cultures start to explore some of the English translation of the methods and techniques, first take a look at what led to the great differences between Chinese and Western idioms.

Third, the cultural differences between Chinese and Western idioms

1 differences in the natural environment of life

Britain is an island, marine life, fishing is a very important British part, therefore, a large part of English idioms derived from marine or water-related business in China in the Asian continent since ancient times dominated by agriculture, Therefore, the idioms in a large part Nongyan, such as:

a drop in the ocean drop in the ocean

to sink or swim regardless of success or failure

still waters run deep knowing too

to keep one's head above water struggling to survival


Big spenders


Five thousand nine hundred sixty-nine the riverside to see Liu, seven thousand nine hundred eighty-nine go over and over cattle

Of misfortune

(2) differences in folk

English and two peoples in the social customs, habits, etc. There are significant differences in the performance of the same thing in people's understanding is different. We all know, Westerners, especially British and American people prefer a plus for dogs, it is regarded a man partner and love of things, idioms containing 'dog' compliment usage everywhere, for example:

important figure in top dog

lucky dog ??lucky

Every dog ??has its day. Jie proud day mortal

In China, people psychologically hate this animal, therefore, Chinese, and 'dog' the most derogatory idioms such as:




3 differences in religious beliefs

Anglo-American and other major Christian-based, so many idioms associated with Christianity. For example:
God helps those who help themselves. Those who help themselves, God helps it.

Every man for himself, and God for us all. Man for himself, God for everyone.

China's major Buddhist-based, so a lot of idioms and Buddhism, for example:


Usually do not burn incense, cramming

4 the differences in the history of myth stories

The myth of the West have different historical allusions, for example:


the heel of Achilles Achilles' heel of a person metaphor (Greek mythology

Judas' kiss mouth honey belly arrows (from <<The Bible>>

Talk of the devil and he is sure to appear. (Said the devil, to (from <<the Bible. '

Stones from other hills, we can learn (from <<Songs>>

Learning and when learning, enjoying themselves? Have friends from afar? (From 'The Analects of Confucius>>

Because of this huge difference in the above, then we talk about the English translation of some of the principles and methods in the translation process, some advocate 'transplant' the original, that is, literally, do not agree 'instead of', 'borrow.' Some advocate 'free translation', stressing that 'foreign owned' and not in favor of 'transplant.' Nida's 'functional equivalence' or 'dynamic equivalence' translation principle, emphasizing reader-response. Here's the translation of idioms example to briefly elaborate on some of the basic English-Chinese translation methods and techniques.

Fourth, the Chinese and Western idioms translation methods and techniques

1 literal

There are some English idioms and literal meaning of the image of the same or similar meaning, implied meaning is the same expression, that is, such a literal meaning of idioms and images to convey the same sense of cultural information, can be interchangeable, such as :
He who laughs last laughs best. Who laughs last laughs best who. Links to free download http://eng.hi138.com
Strike while the iron is hot. Build on the progress.

Practice makes perfect. Practice makes perfect.

Chinese proverb 'drastic' and the English burn one's boats are derived from the strategist's strategy, with the further development of cross-cultural communication, Chinese people have been widely accepted and if:

crocodile tears crocodile tears

armed to teeth armed to the teeth

(2) translation

English idioms in the process of translation, when the image of the literal meaning and implied meaning or significance when there is a conflict due to cultural differences, we should give up the first two, and focus on the implied meaning of idioms such as:

to teach one's grandmother to suck eggs

Teach grandmother to suck eggs *

√ How dare you old-timers lesson

When in Rome, do as the Romans do

* to Rome, and Romans did the same thing

√ as the Romans do (to what mountain, what songs to sing


* hope one's child will become a dragon

√ hope one's children will have a bright future

3 Replace the image of Metaphor

Due to different historical origins and the differences between the two cultures, and some body image metaphor in English and Chinese ethnic concept of mind very different idea of ??the nation, literally seem obscure, then you can replace the image of the body metaphor, so that the reader obtain and similar to the original feeling.

Mary and her mother are as like as two peas.
Mary and her mother looks exactly like.
He treated his daughter as the apple in the eye.
As the apple of his daughter.

to spring up like mushroom mushroom

to fish in the air squaring the circle

4 Add a comment

Strictly speaking, the raise can not be considered a translation of an article if the notes more, read often lose a sense of flow, but there idioms only source in the historical background and description of books before they can fully express its meaning, Therefore, the translator must sometimes be appropriate to consider the use of annotation method to express the full meaning of idioms such as:

to carry coal to Newcastle

Literal meaning: the coal transported to Newcastle (UK coal-producing center, referred to as 'superfluous, carrying a rock up the mountain.'
Don't be too proud of your premature success, as it always turns to be a Pandora's box.
The success must not be carried away too early, because it often becomes the source of evil (Pandora's box Pandora's box, see Greek mythology, used to mean disaster, trouble, the source of the scourge, etc.).

Sit back and wait

watching the stump and waiting for a hare - see Chinese folklore, suggesting 'waiting for gains without pains'

V. Conclusion
In short, the language is rich, diverse, best reflects the English language and cultural differences of idiom is no different in the two languages ??for translation, the English must pay attention to cultural differences, combined with some of the translation methods and principles, will be able to translate their language and culture in line with the characteristics of a good translation.


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