Translation Issue

July 30, 2012, 09:28 AM posted in General Discussion

I came across the following sentence:


Wǒmen zài nàr jīhū méi kànjiàn xuésheng.

It was translated as "We saw few students there."

But it seems to me to say "We almost didn't see the students there".

Any suggestions on how I am misinterpreting this?

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July 30, 2012, 09:58 AM

Here is another issue from the same set of sample sentences:


Yú zài zhè jiā chǎng lǐ zhuāng chéng guàntou.

The translation makes more sense than my initial reading: "The fish is canned in the factory."

At first it seemed to say "In the factory, the fish are disguised as cans", which is obviously nonsense.

I thought 成 meant 'become', or 'turn into', while 装 meant 'adorn' or 'pretend'?

I see now that 装 also means 'wrap' or 'pack', so I guess I just don't understand the addition of 成.

Any suggestions?


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July 31, 2012, 09:07 AM

Are there any takers for my two questions?

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Hi conmando1244 - I'll have a go. No promises though :)

1. I'd translate this as "We saw almost no students there" (the 几乎 giving the almost), which is essentially the same meaning as the translation given.

2. You're right. The 装 here means to pack and the 成 kind of means "to become", though if you're looking for a more natural translation in English then "into" is a better way of looking at it. So the 成 is acting as "into" in this translation:

"The fish is packed into cans in this factory."