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Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by shenjunhuang, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. shenjunhuang New Member

    Chinese-mainland China
    One day I was asked to translate from Chinese "这是今天第几件产品“ to English...but couldn't find a close equivalent in English. So I ended up saying "How many part have you produced today?" Is there an English phrase that perfectly equals to "第几个"?
    : numerals
  2. Daffodil100

    Daffodil100 Senior Member

    I would say, "which number is it for the product you have produced today?"
  3. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    We need a bit more context/ information to know what 产品 refers to but your translation sounds good, and I'd change it just slightly:
    "How many partS have you produced so far today?"
  4. shenjunhuang New Member

    Chinese-mainland China
    Many thanks! sorry for the missing S. The company I work for makes automotive components so we simply refer to our products as "parts". But in general is there a term in English that can be used as the translation for "第几个" as in, for example, "你昨天是第几个到学校的", where this "how many..." structure may not be as suitable. I understand there's some sentences that cannot be translated exactly the same as the source language but I really appreciate your help.:)
  5. SuperXW Senior Member

    This is an interesting question...I'd like to know the answer too...
  6. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    I don't think thre is an exact equivalent of "第几个" in English. Depending on the context, a different phrasing is used for the occasion and the most common ones I can think of are "what" and "which":
    第几天 = what day of the week, what day of the month.
    星期几 = what/which day of the week.

    For "你昨天是第几个到学校的", I would say "How early did you arrive at school yesterday?", as we normally don't keep records of the order of students arriving. If you may have arrived very early, then I'd say "Were you the first to arrive at the school yesterday?" and the answer may be: "No, I was the 5th earliest."

    The following are what you're likely to see as translations for sentences with "第几个":
    How did you do in the race? What did you get?
    What is his position in the class?
    How high would you rate her...?
    Is this your first time.../ how many times...?
  7. shenjunhuang New Member

    Chinese-mainland China
    Wow! Thank you so much for such detailed answer.
  8. AquisM Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Regarding the "arriving at school" question, you could ask "How many students arrived before you?" if you want to keep the same structure.
  9. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    Good suggestion, AquisM! :)

    Although "第几" is such a common phrase in Chinese, it's not always easy to find a neat equivalent in English. One would assume sentences such as "他是美国的第几届总统?" would be quite common in English, but it's not and it'd be interesting to try translating it.
  10. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    As I said in another thread, I like to use fill-in-the-blank style questions, which are acceptable in spoken Italian, though I'm not sure in English. :p
    Today, this is the product number ...? (Though simply "how many pieces did you produce today" sounds more natural)
    This is US president number... ?
  11. panzerfaust0 Senior Member

    Hello. At work today, we were putting coconut snack on trays that were placed in racks. My boss told me to put together 6 racks. Half way through it, I lost track of it, then I wanted to ask my coworker 这是第几个 rack. But much to my surprise I didn't know how to say that in English. Can someone help please. Thanks.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  12. brofeelgood Senior Member

    English, Chinese
    Hmm, I would have just asked:
    1) How many racks have we done/stacked (so far)?
    2) What's the (current) count?

    But since it's your co-worker (who's obviously cognizant of the surrounding circumstances), you could try:
    1) Which rack are we at?
    2) What number rack are we at?
  13. strad Senior Member

    English (American)
    I think previous posts explain the format here well, but to answer you specific question I would say "How many racks is this?" or "How many racks does this make?" or "How many racks have I made?"
  14. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Q: What rack are you on?
    A: I'm on the third rack (ordinal number). I'm on Rack Three (cardinal number).

    Q: How many racks is this?
    A: Three (cardinal number).

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