In Chinese there are a lot of idiomatic expressions that often don’t make sense without explanation. The most obvious is the “Mt. Taishan” one, which I believe I first read in Outlaws of the Marsh, and is now part of our common vocabulary.
The meaning of some are relatively obvious even with direct translation. For example the idiom “to play the lute for a cow.” If you read a paragraph that went something like this: “That guy doesn’t understand martial arts. Trying to teach him the Ultimate Gobstopper Fist is like playing a lute for a cow.” You pretty much get the picture, right? It’s an idiom that’s often translated as “toss pearls before swine.”
My question to you guys is, when it comes to these lesser obvious idioms, what translation do you prefer? For example, with the expression “to beat the grass and startle the snake,” do you prefer:
1) Direct translation only: “Dude, don’t do that. You don’t want to beat the grass and startle the snake.”
2) English only: “Dude, don’t do that. You don’t want to arouse the attention of the enemy.”
3) Direct translation with note: “Dude, don’t do that. You don’t want to beat the grass and startle the snake. (TL Note: ‘to beat the grass and startle the snake’ is an idiom which means to arouse the attention of the enemy.)
If you have a minute, please take the time to participate in a quick poll. (There’s no “other” option in this poll. please leave “other” comments in this thread…)
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