As translators, we frequently encounter the selection of words, especially words in certain grammatical categories when translate one language into another. Such selection can be difficult, when its equivalent do not offer much choice in the target language. For example, many English verbs are derived from their respective nouns. The verb “characterize” is derived from “character”. It’s easy to translate “character”, but not so easy to translate “characterize” (please let me know if you have a good translation for it). We illustrate this with the following English to Chinese translation sample:
Formality has always characterized their relationship.
As you see, here the verb “characterized” is translated as its noun form “character”, or “特点” in Chinese. This make makes the translated sentence much more readable, and natural. Fellow English to Chinese translator, I hope you’ll find this tip useful. Please don’t hesitate to share yours.