Translation:Pandas are black and white.
I tried that too, but was corrected with "A panda is black and white". I thought Chinese didn't have any definite or indefinite articles, so it should be up to the English translator.
With no context it should be fine as long as it's correct English - and there's certainly no problem with that sentence.
You have to convey the meaning of "the whole species" rather than a single one.
I was wondering if "黑色和白色的" is the only way to say "black and white". Would "黑和白的" or "黑和白色的" be valid, too?
Well, I think 黑和白色的 sounds really incoordinate, but 黑和白的 is fine. 熊貓是黑、白的；熊貓是黑色、白色的 are both fine. You can omit 色 it's because we know it's talking about the color.
+1 for 熊猫是黑白的, but I'd get rid of the 、because we don't really make a pause in the middle when pronouncing it. In fact, I'd consider 黑白 as one adjective here, just like "black and white" in English. To be even more precise, I'd say 熊猫是黑白相间的, where 相(xiāng)间(jiàn) denotes a pattern in which two or more colors appear alternately.
It's correct colloquially and certainly looks better, but would it be (as) accurate without 顿号（、）?
For native speakers, I think the rule of thumb is to omit the 顿号 (called enumeration comma in English, as I just found out) as long as there is no pause in pronunciation. A classic example is 三四个 (three or four): a lot of people would write it as 三、四个, but the 顿号 is redundant and often deprecated by textbooks.
In typical enumeration usages, the 顿号 is required (technically, although few people bother to type it nowadays):
熊猫身上有黑、白两种颜色 = On the body of a panda, there are two colors, black and white.
That's true, you're likely right.
Thank you, I've always wondered what 顿号 was in English! How and where did you find out?
How and where did you find out?
There's no dedicated article for it on English Wikipedia, but fortunately it's mentioned in the article for Chinese punctuation:
Question to the local experts.
This sentence seems to represent another way to attribute adjectives to nouns. Previously we've been taught the pattern "Noun 很 Adjective", like 我很好。我很高兴。
And here we have a different pattern: "Noun 是 Adjective 的", which is what we are more used to in English.
The question is how universal it is? Does it carry exactly the same meaning? Can it be used as widely? For example, can we say 我是好的 or 我是高兴的?
I understand that these 2 examples are quite idiomatic, so they may sound weird, but in general, are these 2 patterns completely interchangeable?
Good question. In short, they are not interchangeable in most cases.
The ...是...的 construct has a lot of different usages. What you have learned here is a simple one, "Noun1 是 Noun2 的", where Noun2 is a color (not an adjective). This is the Chinese equivalent for English "Noun is Color-Adjective": 马是黑(色)的 = The horse is black. You can also interpret the 黑(色)的 part as an adjective derived from the noun 黑(色). But I wouldn't recommend Chinese learners to delve deep into the grammatical details of ...是...的, which are quite complicated. Instead, just learn one usage of it at a time by example.
The Chinese equivalent for the more general "Noun is Adjective" is "Noun (很) Descriptive-Verb". Note that Chinese adjectives are more like verbs: 好, 高兴, etc. literally mean "to be good/well", "to be happy", etc. I'm not a grammar expert, but I think every sentence needs a verb (predicate?). You can't say 马黑色(的) or 马很黑色(的), because there's no verb (很 being an adverb).
That said, 马很黑, 天很蓝, etc. are good Chinese sentences, because, without 色, Chinese color names can also function as descriptive verbs. When 很 is not stressed, they are interchangeable with 马是黑的, 天是蓝的, etc., although the former sentences (Noun 很 Color-Descriptive-Verb) sound more subjective to me (more like a feeling as opposed to an objective statement).
Anyway, most Chinese adjectives (descriptive verbs) are not derived from nouns, and they work best in the "Noun (很) Descriptive-Verb" pattern. "Noun 是 Descriptive-Verb 的" is grammatical, but I think it's another, more advanced usage of ...是...的 that you shouldn't worry about at this stage.