你最晚什么时候要?

swim4life

Senior Member
Chinese, China
I understand “最晚” or “不晚于” can be translated into “at the latest” or “no later than”. How do you say “你最晚什么时候要这份文件?” in English? Is it correct to say “When do you need this document at the latest?” My intuition tells me that it’s not correct. Could you tell me how to say it properly? Thanks.
 
  • BODYholic

    Senior Member
    Chinese Cantonese
    In this (and most) case, using “最晚” this way is considered as broken Chinese. :) 最晚” is used to mean "late" in the sense of night hours. If you are asking a person how long within a day can a person wait for the document. Then your sentence may be correct.

    But in most generic context, we say "
    最迟".

    最迟什么时候要这份文件?
     

    fredisaking

    Senior Member
    1. Mandarin Chinese 2. Taiwanese
    I suspect there is no equivalent. And these are the closest I can think of:

    When do you need it by?
    By when can I still give you that?
    When is the deadline?
    When is the latest that I can still give you that?

    It might be wrong, hang on a bit for the native speaker to correct them.
     

    samanthalee

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    In this (and most) case, using “最晚” this way is considered as broken Chinese.
    It seems kind of strange to see a Singaporean say that a Chinese national's Chinese is broken.:eek: I'll put this down as regional difference in speech habit, Singaporeans usually say "最迟", but actually "最晚" is right too.

    In English, "你最晚什么时候要~" would be "What is the latest time by which you must ~"
    eg.
    你最晚什么时候要回家? = What is the latest time by which you must be home?
    你最晚什么时候得登机? = What is the latest time by which you must board the plane?

    In this case, "你最晚什么时候要?" is "What is the latest time by which you must have it?"
     

    BODYholic

    Senior Member
    Chinese Cantonese
    I'll put this down as regional difference in speech habit, Singaporeans usually say "最迟", but actually "最晚" is right too.

    In English, "你最晚什么时候要~" would be "What is the latest time by which you must ~"
    eg.
    你最晚什么时候要回家? = What is the latest time by which you must be home?
    你最晚什么时候得登机? = What is the latest time by which you must board the plane?

    In this case, "你最晚什么时候要?" is "What is the latest time by which you must have it?"
    1. All the examples given by you take place within a day and hence, which I have also mentioned, 最晚 may be valid.

    2. I was assuming that the document concerned takes a few days or weeks to prepare. It is, therefore, incorrect to say "最晚什么时候要?". Do you reply the question by "最晚两个星期要."? Err ... doesn't sound ok to me. ^_^"

    3. Like you said, it could be regional. But it really sounds strange (to me, at least) to say '你最晚什么时候得登机?' if I have to board the plane, latest, by 10 a.m. :)

    4. Nevertheless, point taken. :)

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited:

    BODYholic

    Senior Member
    Chinese Cantonese
    I suspect there is no equivalent. And these are the closest I can think of:

    a. When do you need it by?
    b. By when can I still give you that?
    c. When is the deadline?
    d. When is the latest that I can still give you that?

    It might be wrong, hang on a bit for the native speaker to correct them.
    Not an English expert but a, b and d look ok to me. :)
    c. is tricky. The recipient may want to vet the document before the deadline. :)

    Having said that, colloquially when precision is not called for, I think all of them looks fine.
     

    swim4life

    Senior Member
    Chinese, China
    Thank you all for your kind replies. I was told the following ones through other sources.

    1. When is the latest date by which we should have this document ready for you?

    2. What's the latest date I can give you this document?

    3. What's the latest you need this document by?

    Are they sound okay to you native speakers of English? Thanks.
     

    lisa_blacksmith

    New Member
    English - England
    Hi,
    out of the 3 above, I would say it depends on how formal you are being, the first one sounds very formal, the other two are less formal (but still ok for a business setting). I would say the third one is the most natural sounding in conversation but they're all fine.
    Hope that helps!
     

    samanthalee

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    2. I was assuming that the document concerned takes a few days or weeks to prepare. It is, therefore, incorrect to say "最晚什么时候要?". Do you reply the question by "最晚两个星期要."? Err ... doesn't sound ok to me. ^_^"
    Hi BODYholic, don't worry, it sound absolutely weird to me too. :D It just proves you are as much a Singaporean as I am.:) But even though they sound weird to us, "最晚两天后" and "最晚两个星期"are both correct.:eek:
     

    fullyaware

    New Member
    Chinese
    I understand “最晚” or “不晚于” can be translated into “at the latest” or “no later than”. How do you say “你最晚什么时候要这份文件?” in English? Is it correct to say “When do you need this document at the latest?” My intuition tells me that it’s not correct. Could you tell me how to say it properly? Thanks.


    "What is the deadline?"
    I think it is the right translation.
     

    englishelp

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I disagree.

    My understanding of "deadline" is that its usage entails a hierarchical relationship. That is, usually superordinates can set deadlines for subordinates. You can't quite impose a deadline on your equal.

    The question "你最晚什么时候要?" does not entail a hierarchical relationship between the speaker and the listener.


    "What is the deadline?"
    I think it is the right translation.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top