translate as / into / to be

HyeeWang

Senior Member
Chinese
one case:
Please translate this text into Chinese.
I know we should use "into" after "translate" and before one certain language.
Another case:
I translate "person" in English into Chinese,the result of translation is Chinese character "人".
I rephrase that sentence in different ways as follows.
1. I translate "person" in English into "人" in Chinese.
2. I translate "person" in English as "人" in Chinese.
3. I translate "person" in English to be "人" in Chinese.
Which one is correct?
Thank in advance.
 
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't do many grammar rules -- at least consciously. I just look for common use and comparison. So I would normally say: Please translate this English copy to Chinese. Which is why I chose "to" here. Second best for me would be "into."

    Someone else will probably jump in with the grammar. :)
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd probably say "please translate this into Chinese", but "translate to Chinese" wouldn't be strange. Perhaps a US/Br English difference?

    You can also say "Person translated into/to Chinese is 人"
     

    akimura

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I came here from my thread to ask how native speakers see "translate as", as it hasn't been covered yet while "translate to" seems to be comfortably accepted. Oxford's Advanced Learner's Dictionary, seventh edition, goes:
    2 [V] ~ (as sth) to be changed from one language to another

    • Most poetry does not translate well.
    • The Welsh name translates as "Land's End".
    So the dictionary doesn't cover "translate to" at all, quite the opposite to native speakers who have contributed in this thread.
     

    airportzombie

    Senior Member
    English - CaE/AmE
    I came here from my thread to ask how native speakers see "translate as", as it hasn't been covered yet while "translate to" seems to be comfortably accepted. Oxford's Advanced Learner's Dictionary, seventh edition, goes:


    So the dictionary doesn't cover "translate to" at all, quite the opposite to native speakers who have contributed in this thread.
    You translate from one language into another.

    A word in one language is translated as the equivalent word in another language.

    For the sentence you used in your closed thread, I would only use as:
    "'Guten Morgen' in German translates as 'Good morning' in English"
    The same goes for the original post of this thread (at least for me):
    2. I translate "person" in English as "人" in Chinese.
     

    akimura

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    For the sentence you used in your closed thread, I would only use as:
    "'Guten Morgen' in German translates as 'Good morning' in English"​
    Thank you, airportzombie. It's interesting because many native speakers who have contributed in the above prefer translate to while you, and Oxford's Advanced English Dictionary which I assume hasn't necessarily been covering all aspects of today's language, would choose translate as.

    Purely in order for me to better understand the verb translate and its valid preposition partners, specifically in the case of translate <a word(s)> as/to <the equivalent word in another language>, let me take a wh-question additionally. Would you rather say "What does this word translate as" (4 google hits) than "What does this word translate to" (556 google hits)?
     
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    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Here's the way I see it, but it's just a personal view:

    Translate "person" into Chinese. (Although I can see "to Chinese.")
    I translate "person" in English
    as "人" in Chinese.
    "Person" in English is translated as "人" in Chinese.
    "Person" in English translates as "人" in Chinese.
    What does "person" in English translate as/to in Chinese?
     

    airportzombie

    Senior Member
    English - CaE/AmE
    Purely in order for me to better understand the verb translate and its valid preposition partners, specifically in the case of translate <a word(s)> as/to <the equivalent word in another language>, let me take a wh-question additionally. Would you rather say "What does this word translate as" (4 google hits) than "What does this word translate to" (556 google hits)?
    I would use how more than what to ask the question:
    How is this word translated?

    How do you translate this word into German?

    How do you say this word in Chinese?​
    but
    What is the translation of this word in German?​
     

    akimura

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    It's good to know that such easy structures with the choice of easy words as What is this word in German and How do you say this word in German are common. Also I am happy about the usage of the verb translate. Thank you!
     
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