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How to find the Chinese name of any book, TV show, movie and everything else

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Andrew, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    The translation of Western titles in China is a minefield – online dictionaries don’t always help us as they will often try to translate each individual word literally into the target language.

    To illustrate my point: I remember once trying to make a comment about the TV show ‘Friends’ to someone from China, but they had no idea what I was talking about. I was speaking Mandarin, and my mistake was that I was translating the literal title from the English word for ‘Friends’ to the Chinese ‘朋友’. However in China, the show is known as ‘六人行’ (‘six people walking together’). This translation captures the essence of what the show is about - but you can see how this doesn’t help West-East communication (although another closer translation commonly used is ‘老友记’ (‘old friends’).

    friends_in_chinese.jpg
    Joey!

    Now when you type ‘Friends’ into English Google, it kind of knows that you want information on the show based on an algorithm which determines that the word Friends doesn't mean 'Friends' but is actually referring to the TV show – indeed the #1 spot for that keyword is the Friends Wikipedia page. But if you want to search on Chinese search engine or website for the Friends TV show, you might have trouble figuring out what the title is known as in the East. More often than not, you'll get much better search results if you use the Chinese title.

    How to find the Chinese version of the English title of a book/movie/TV show/poem/etc - use Wikipedia!

    The way that I figure out this problem is to use Wikipedia as my personal cultural dictionary. The majority of Wikipedia articles are translated into multiple languages. More often than not, a Western movie has Wikipedia articles in both English and Chinese. When you are reading an article, check to see if there is a link for 中文 in the bottom right of the page. When you click through, you’ll find yourself looking at the Chinese equivalent of the title.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 00.40.47.png
    Follow the 中文 link from the Friends Wikipedia page on the bottom left

    This kind of information really helps with communicating with Chinese people about certain books or movies and to make sure you’re talking on the same page! It’s also invaluable in searching for very specific types of files, and one of my most common usages is to find Cantonese dubs of TV shows for my son! Just copy the title of what you are looking for in Chinese into Google or Baidu, and you'll find a whole load more than if you just typed the English. Check my other thread: How to watch TVB (myTV) from the UK and anywhere in the world for other information on finding shows.

    Tip: You can do this on mobile too, but you need to activate the ‘Desktop’ view at the bottom of an article, so that the language links are revealed.
     

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    #1
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
    Oopsydaisy likes this.
  2. Oopsydaisy

    Oopsydaisy New Member

    Great post, thanks!
     
    #2
    Andrew likes this.

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