Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Chevere33, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. Chevere33

    Chevere33 Senior Member

    Midwestern U.S.
    English, midwestern US
    In attempting to explain to a Chinese student what a "wimp" was, we used Google translator. The phrase it gave us was 窝囊废 . The student explained that this is a VERY bad name in Chinese.

    What is the real translation for wimp? Here are some sample sentences:

    He can't eat hot sauce -- he's a wimp.
    That guy can't lift 50 pounds -- he's a wimp.
    If you can't do 40 pushups, you're a wimp.

    We want to give Google translator a better suggestion than "窝囊废". Also, just how bad is that?

  2. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    Stop using Google translator...Even Chinese dictionary websites like iCiba are better, in terms of explaining a word professionally.

    Google translator is better at translating a whole sentence or an paragraph. It cannot be used for vocabulary teaching since the words meaning would change according to context.

    If you are going to explain wimp, you can:
    A. just give your examples to the students. They'll understand.
    B. say: it's like 窝囊废 but not as strong as 窝囊废.
    C. in Chinese, the common way we say it is: 真没用 (so useless).
    For example: 你做不了40个俯卧撑,你真没用!(If you can't do 40 pushups, you're a wimp.)

    窝囊废 is like: "Such a loser!"
    真没用 is not as strong as 窝囊废, and is quite common.
    There would be other slang words. But many slang words are regional, not universal.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  3. 枫十二

    枫十二 Senior Member

    As the dictionary here says:
    Wimp ==> a feeble ineffective person.
    弱 has the meanings of feeble and ineffective both.it's an adjective,however in Chinese, there is no phase like “弱人”. So you can’t translate ”弱 person” as 弱人.But it helps to explain it. And I have tried to use it to “translate” your three sentences as follow:

    He can't eat hot sauce -- he's a wimp. 他不能吃(吃不了)辣椒酱-----他真弱
    That guy can't lift 50 pounds -- he's a wimp.那个家伙不能举起(举不起)50磅-----他真弱
    If you can't do 40 pushups, you're a wimp. 如果你不能做(做不了)40个俯卧撑,你真弱

    It remind me of another popular internet phrase:”弱弱地问一句”.
    You don’t know something.
    ==>You don’t want others to think you (to laugh you), so you 弱弱地问
    ==>I have already felt,the question I am asking is , so don’t laugh me anymore.

    Hope this will help.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  4. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    "Wimp" means "a cowardly (怯), weak (懦弱), ineffectual (無能) person", which is exactly the definition of 窩囊廢 ("怯懦無能的人", also 孬種, 菜包子). 窩囊 is derogatory, so is "wimp". Let me put it this way: If someone I don't like calls me "a wimp" (or its near-synonyms such as "sissy", "pussy", and "coward"), I would surely take it as an insult and be offended. If 窩囊 is said to a friend in a joking way (e.g., 你真窩囊, 連40个俯卧撑也做不來), it sounds no worse than English "You're a wimp. You can't even do 40 pushups." As far as talking behind one's back is concerned, "He can't eat hot sauce--he's a wimp" sounds as bad as "他真窩囊, 不能吃辣椒酱".
    I agree. "Wimp" is meant as a mild insult, an insult nonetheless. 窝囊废 is clearly a pejorative. Its adjective form 窝囊, which lacks the morpheme 废(物) "useless object", sounds milder and is thus closer to English "wimp" in terms of abusiveness.
    Last edited: May 7, 2014

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