an old man holding a balloon, playing with his grandson in the park

Tabernero

Senior Member
English
Hi all. I have a very long noun phrase that I'm struggling to translate. It's longer than the title:

'An old man holding a balloon, playing with his grandson in the park'

在公园里跟他孙子一起玩,手里拿着一个气球的一位老人。

I am finding it hard to translate such a long attributive naturally. Also, do you need to say ’手里拿着一个气球‘ or can you simply say: ‘拿着一个气球’? ie. 拿着一个气球的一位老大爷。

Thanks a lot!
 
  • Lucia_zwl

    Senior Member
    Chinese (Mandarin)
    You could say 在公园里,一位拿着气球的老人在和他的孙子/外孙做游戏。
    But this would sound more idiomatic: 在公园里,一位老人拿着气球,在和他的孙子/外孙做游戏。
    拿着 basically means "to hold something in hand", so I wouldn't use 手里拿着, unless I want to emphasise "手里".
     
    Last edited:

    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    Lucia, he was asking about an attributive phrase.
    That should be 在公园里拿着气球,和孙子一起玩的一位老人 or 在公园里的一位拿着气球,和孙子一起玩的老人.
    Note: Don't make the long attributive even longer. Omit unnecessary words like 手里, 一个... Try to make it shorter by using expressions like 拿着气球, 陪孙子玩...
    Why did you switch the order of 跟他孙子一起玩 and 手里拿着一个气球? That's not necessary.

    A long attributive is always a problem when doing a English-Chinese translation, since we rarely use long attributives in Chinese.
    My trick is: keep the keywords and the meanings, forget about the attributive structure. Cut it into shorter verb-phrases.
    For example, if your whole sentence is: An old man holding a balloon, playing with his grandson in the park finds the day very enjoyable.
    I'd translate it as: 一位老人在公园里拿着气球,和孙子一起玩,感觉日子过得很舒服。
    Rather than something like: 在公园里拿着气球,和孙子一起玩的
    一位老人感觉日子过得很舒服。
     
    Last edited:

    Youngfun

    Senior Member
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Agree with the above two.
    Unless there is a question and an answer:

    - 你要找哪位老人?
    - 在公园里拿着气球跟他孙子一起玩的那位老人。
     

    Lucia_zwl

    Senior Member
    Chinese (Mandarin)
    Lucia, he was asking about an attributive phrase.
    That should be 在公园里拿着气球,和孙子一起玩的一位老人 or 在公园里的一位拿着气球,和孙子一起玩的老人.
    Right, he was asking about a phrase, but I was making a sentence. My bad.:p Yup, XXX的一位老人 or 一位XXX的老人 should be the correct translation. However, as you said, when we put the phrase into a sentence, I would not suggest stick with the order we use when translating the phrase. For example, "I saw an old man holding a balloon, playing with his grandson in the park."--在公园里,我看见一位老人拿着气球,在和他的孙子玩。
     
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