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Unit 3 Conversion

Section One Conversion in E-C Translation

1 Introduction

A word in one language is not necessary or even possible to be turned into one of the same part of speech in another language.

Conversion –conversion of part of speech, also of sentence element and voice

It is one of the important techniques and is necessary because of the differences in syntactic structure and idiomatical way in the two languages. different syntax

E: hypotactic language; rigid grammar rules;

C: paratactic


1) using nouns that derive from verbs to indicate actions

2) prepositions functioning as adverbials, post-modification and predicative; more frequently in English used than in Chinese

C: verbs are of great importance; can be clustered together within one sentence

2 Conversion of Part of Speech

2.1. Converting into verbs

1) Nouns converted into verbs

a) Nouns deriving from verbs or indicating an action

? A view of Mt. E-mei can be obtained from here.


?An acquaintance of world history is helpful to the study of translation.


? A smiling is an open invitation to be approached.


?There is no time for consideration.


b) Nouns ending with –er / -or which doesn’t indicate status or occupation but action

?He is not a smoker, but his father is a chain-smoker.


?He was a regular visitor.


?Those small factories are also lavish consumer and waster of raw



?I am afraid I can’t teach you swimming. I think my little brother is a better

teacher than I.


c) nouns in some verb-phrases where the noun is the core, like have a rest, take a look, pay attention to, etc.

2) Prepositions converted into verbs

?Her brother was in a serious car accident and she went to be with him.


?The shaft turns about its axis.


?No one has ever seen a single atom or molecule even with the most

powerful microscope.


3) adjectives converted into verbs

Adjectives indicating consciousness (知觉), feelings (情感), desires (欲望), etc, such as aware, conscious, certain, sure, glad, pleased, careful, confident, eager, afraid, anxious, keen, enthusiastic, etc.

?I am sure the meeting will be a success.


?The library was silent, making Susan suddenly aware that she was alone

on the third floor.


?I am anxious about his health.


?Are you familiar with the performance of this type of transistor amplifier?

你熟悉/ 了解这种晶体管放大器的性能吗?

4) adverbs converted into verbs

?As he ran out, he forgot to have his shoes on.


?After careful investigation they found the design behind.


?That day she was up before sunrise.


?Jones opened the windows to let fresh air in.


2.2. Converting into nouns

1) verbs converted into nouns

Verbs deriving from nouns and having no correspondent verbs in Chinese ?She behaves as if she were a child.


?This kind of behavior characterizes the criminal mind.


?Gases differ from solids in that the former have greater compressibility

than the latter.


2) adjectives converted into nouns

Adjectives with the definite article or used as predicative to indicate the nature of sth.

?He hated the rich and loved and protected the poor.


?This problem is no less important than that one.


?Glass is more transparent than plastic cloth.


?The more carbon the steel contains, the harder and stronger it is.


?The Smith family ware religious.


?Stevenson was eloquent and elegant– but soft.


3) pronouns converted into nouns

E: trying to avoid repetition; using pronouns to substitute nouns or using different words

C: repetition

E-C Tr: pron →n; to avoid ambiguity or misunderstanding

?It may seem strange to put into the same packet an industrial revolution

and two political revolutions. But the fact is that they were all social revolutions.


?Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, but he was the first man to

mass-produce it, and this made it available to the ordinary man.


?Foreigners sometimes draw the conclusion that Americans are wealthier

than they are because they have such things as vacation houses or beautiful landscaped garden.


4) adverbs converted into nouns

?It is editorially said that…


?It is officially announced that China has successfully launched its second

unmanned lunar probe, Chang’e-2 on 2nd, October.


2.3. Converting into adjectives

1) Nouns converted into adjectives

nouns deriving from adjectives (esp. used in “of + n”; “a / an + n. →predicative”; “the + n. + of”), such as necessity, depth, importance, etc.

?This issue is of vital importance.


?I can note the grace of her gesture.


?We have seen the beauty of Mt. Tai.


?He is a stranger to the operation of the electronic computer.


2) Adverbs converted into adjectives

v →n. adv →adj.

?Hopefully, it will be done early next month.


?The film impressed him deeply.


?The President had prepared meticulously for his journey.


?She looked at me expectantly.

她用期待的眼光看着我。/ 期待地看着我。

2.4. Converting into adverbs

1) Adjectives converted into adverbs

When a noun is modified by an adjective and the noun is converted into a verb

?He had a careful study of the map before he started off.


?Can you give an accurate translation of the sentence?


?We must make full use of the existing technical equipment.


?We place the highest value on our friendly relations with developing



?Warm discussions arose on every corner as to his achievements.


2) Nouns and verbs converted into adverbs

conform to idiomatic Chinese expression

?When he catches a glimpse of a potential antagonist, his instinct is to win

him over with charm and humor. (n →adv.)


?I had fortune to meet him. (n →adv.)


?I succeeded in persuading him.

我成功地说服了他。(v →adv.; the action of “persuading” is emphasized not “succeeding”)

3 Conversion of Sentence Elements

1) object →subject

?An automobile must have a brake with high efficiency.

汽车的刹车必须高度有效。(object →subject; subject →attributive)

?We have friends all over the world.

我们的朋友遍天下。(object →subject; subject →attributive)

?Atoms differ in their atomic weights.

各种原子的原子量是不相同的。(object →subject; subject →attributive) Comment: in the above two sentences, the object is part of / related to the subject, therefore can be changed into subject while the subject usually changed into attributive.

2) subject →object

?The mechanical energy can be changed back into electrical energy by

means of a generator.


(subject →object; passive →active; prep-phr →verb)

?The molecules are held together by attractive forces. (subject →object;

object →subject)


3) subject →other elements, such as predicate, adverbial, etc.

?Precautions are necessary to prevent it from burning.

必须注意不要让它烧着。(subject →predicate; subjectless sentence)

?These circumstances make it difficult to find site on which to carry out


由于这些环境条件,难以找到进行试验的场所。(subject →adverbial)

?Machinery has made the products of manufactories very much cheaper

than formerly.

由于机械的缘故,工厂里出的产品比起以前来,价格便宜多了。(subject →adverbial)

4) other types of conversion

?There should be a hospital in this area.

这个地区应该有个医院。(adverbial →subject)

?High-quality machines of various types are produced in our country.

我国生产各种类型的优质机器。(adverbial →subject)

?Neutron has a mass slightly larger than that of proton.


(attributive →predicate; object →subject; subject →attributive)

?Radar works in very much the same way as the flashlight.


(v →n; predicate →subject)

Section One Conversion in C-E Translation

Step One: Introduction:

One of the characteristics of Chinese language is the predominance of the verb.



I took my child to the street for a walk.

?你妈妈叫你马上回去。(兼语式: you – both the subject and object)

Your mother wants you back at once.

Many verbs should be converted into other parts of speech in C-E translation. Step Two: discussion

1 conversion of verbs

1) v →n.


There must be less empty talk and more hard work.


One can never be too careful in the choice of one’s friends.


All peace loving people demand the prohibition of atomic weapons.

2) verb →preposition


He went to the shop for a bottle of sauce.


Her beauty is beyond word.


Are you for or against our proposal?


They shouldn’t return evil for good.


The girl in green is a student of the English Department.


We are determined to build a government truly of the people, by the people and for the people.

“用”: with, on, by, in, ect.

?用刀切面包Cut bread with knife.

?用右手写字write with right hand

?汽车用汽油开动。Cars run on petrol.

?这活得用机器/手做。The work has to be done by machine / hand.

?用特快专递邮寄。Send by express (mail service)

?你能用英语唱这首歌吗?Can you sing this song in English?

?不要用铅笔写。Don’t write in pencil.

3) verb →adjective


Facts speak louder than words.

Facts are more eloquent than words. (v →adj.)


He is quite aware of his shortcomings.


I am grateful to him for his kind help.


Don’t be envious of others.



We are willing to join hands with other WTO members to build a brand new pattern of world trade through concerted / joint efforts.


Achievements of the hotel industry are subject to a series of factors including weather, economic prosperity, degree of political stability, and social security.

4) verb →adverb


Is the movie on?


“Let me out!” the child in the room shouted / cried.

2 noun →verb


He behaved with great composure / calm.


The pairs of opposites condition one another for their existence.


The development of scientific research in China is characterized by integration of theory with practice.

3 adj. / adv. →noun


The delegation unanimously expressed their determination to oppose atomic weapons.


The maiden voyage of the newly-built steamship was a success.

4 adj. / adv. →prep.

The use of preposition is flexible in English, making the expression more concise and accurate.


Her voice rings through the house.


He went begging about the town.


The news quickly spread throughout the world.

5 adv. →adj.

1) v. →n.; adv. →adj.


They gave him a hearty welcome.


He will give an immediate reply.


His annual visits to Beijing brought him into contact with many well-known writers of our country.

(C: sentence as the subject; E: noun phrase; adv. →adj.)


We should bring the initiative and creative spirit of the students into full play so as to raise our teaching quality.

2) different idiomatic expressions 表达方式不同

?你拨错了电话。You dialed the wrong number.

?这正是你所要找的人。This is the very person you are looking for. Exercises:

?他们的实验已经结束了。Their experiment has been over.


His paintings are characterized by steady strokes and bright colors.

?我们应当起来捍卫真理。We should come forward in defense of truth.


The president took the foreign guests about the campus.

?这台计算机具有很高的灵敏度。The computer is of high sensitivity / is very



Our government shows great concern for the Chinese students abroad.