"请问,您贵姓?"

Translation:Excuse me, what is your honorable last name?

March 21, 2018

67 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ray179840

The English answer feels unauthentic and grammatically incorrect. Too literally translated imo. I recommend, "Excuse me, may I have your Surname?" This conveys the politeness of ninguixing and disambiguates the last name/first name issue.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnie165424

Absolutely! What kind of English is this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YukWah

An unauthentic and literal kind apparently.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimWeller2

This is okay. They are sharing their sense of propriety, even though we don't say "your honorable last name," they do. Take it as culture. But hold onto your hat. A far worse one is coming that makes no sense at all and they have not changed it in years. "Your honorable's company..." Watch for it. It is horrendous. All of us have asked them to fix it. Maybe your complaint there will be the final straw. Good luck! :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MelvinCheah

"May I ask, what is your surname?"

Equally formally polite?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feyMorgaina

Add "please"at the beginning for even more politeness.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/m.cappelli2

This is a very basic question, how did it get translated so badly?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wbeeman

It is a social formula, not something that can be literally translated. It reflects politeness levels in Chinese that really don't exist in the same way in English. Although I have heard something like this in India where hierarchical language is more common than with other regional forms of English. If you study Japanese you will see even more pronounced language politeness levels.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LBoksha

Translating a polite sentence with a fragment is pretty much the worst path to take here; broken grammar and omissions are associated with the most colloquial registers in English; precisely the opposite of what's expressed in the Chinese sentence. I also think English does have close equivalents in terms of politeness. Unlike Chinese (and to some degree Japanese), it's less systematic: there are no necessarily polite/formal pronouns, prefixes or conjugations, but (like in Japanese) you can adjust the sentence structure and level of directness/certainty. For a sentence like this, it could be "Excuse me, could I have your last name please?" (formal) versus "Excuse me, what's your last name?" (colloquial)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G.Turner

That's a great, well-reasoned comment. Did you report it as well? They seem to have given up on doing anything with Chinese, but it can't help to try.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LBoksha

Thanks! Actually it seems the course is being worked on again since a couple of months, so I'll try reporting that translation as a suggestion next time I encounter this exercise, but the reporting system doesn't really allow suggesting more structural course changes than that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YukWah

As with Korean too. I agree though, honourifics are difficult to translate properly and into English is even more daunting as such things don't really exist.


[deactivated user]

    Nobody is going to say "your honourable last name" in English. Ridiculous translation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Simon299426

    Ladies and gentlemen, after a 650 day streak, I can finally confirm the single worst translation into English of any Duo sentence. This has to be the most unlikely, unrealistic and stilted translation yet.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregorRick

    I think the answer is just wrong. It should be "May I ask for your last name?".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RemieSmith

    This "translation" is hardly one. Incredibly confusing


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimWeller2

    Please change this. As an American who has worked in Taiwan and now among Chinese in the Philippines, I am comfortable with "honorable." Yes, we need to learn (and accept) the culture that spawned this language. But I am annoyed by the choppiness of the rest of the sentence. "Your last name?" is what someone at a hotel checkin desk would say without looking up from the registration card. With or without "honorable" "Your last name?" would be rude in an English-speaking country. Try, "Excuse me, may I have your honorable last name?" You've had two years of complaints. I think it's time to correct this.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lily989081

    This is just literal translate and is not practical


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wbeeman

    The English "correct answer" is not grammatically correct.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterStephen

    I think this goes to a common issue with Duolingo's Chinese course. A lot of the translations are sort of half thought out. Some of them are translated too literally into something that makes no sense in English and others are translated so loosely that they lose key aspects of the original Chinese sentence when there is a much more accurate and legitimate English translation. My Chinese professor would dock me a lot of points for turning in translations like these. I know it's always a bit of a challenge finding the balance between not losing meaning in the translation and making the translation readily understandable, but it just feels like a little more thought could make these translations so much better.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterStephen

    Also, where's the verb in this sentence? This isn't even a sentence in English. I get that verbs aren't needed in Chinese, but they are required in English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimWeller2

    "Excuse me, your name?" There are some instances where our verbs are understood.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YukWah

    The Chinese course is indeed quite frustrating when it comes to translations. It's riddled with issues like archaic and rigid sentence structures; not to mention that some stuff just doesn't/can't translate well. If the course creators are native Chinese (from China), then I can only fault their education system as that's the type of ESL lessons they often receive in school so their knowledge only goes so far.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RichardWrigley

    As a speaker of British English I spell it as "honourable". Please, Doulinguists, be a little more adaptable regarding this.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StanTallon

    ❤❤❤?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G.Turner

    I assume it's a perfectly valid thing to say in Chinese, the formality of which doesn't really translate into English. They could/should have done a better job than what they have, but...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nanani6

    For one, it's not "last" name. SURNAME. It isn't last. More importantly, every one one of these exercises with "honourable" is a gross stereotype that makes Chinese sound backwards. Delete them.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steven201360

    Translated poorly. Should be excuse me, may i know your honorable last name? Instead they gave the correct answer is excuse me your honorable last name. What the...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jHKnkt6t

    Even poorly subtitled movies would be ashamed to use this translation


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/norman.eis

    Yeah, this is not proper English. Please correct it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Artikyulet

    Just adding to the chorus, here: a complete English sentence ought to be accepted. This is obviously meant to be formal language in Chinese. In English, at least in my part of the US, it would be extremely rude to speak to someone formally using their title, then ask them a question in an incomplete sentence. "Your name, sir?" comes off as rude, despite the "sir".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andres.Campe

    This translation is awful. I hope you update this


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SlickSims20

    awful english make it confussing! reported


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YukWah

    The translation ought to include "what" as in:

    May I ask (Excuse me), "what" is your honourable family (last) name?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yoon48729

    honorable is so much direct translation, adding a 贵 is just a very polite way to ask 'excuse me, what's your surname'


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SimonWhite1

    It's cases like this that make me feel they could do with providing information in parallel. Give one translation that's very literal, another that may be looser but which more accurately expresses an equivalent sentiment in English, and perhaps also a brief note about the culture when there's no direct equivalent.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jHKnkt6t

    Horrible translation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/XiyS9M
    • 1043

    this is not engrish


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Faytalencounter

    this is a word for word translation that fails to actually make sense in the context of English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FJSoekahar

    My answer was rejected. The differences just a coma and a question mark. Which are not available in the words list given.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G.Turner

    That doesn't sound right. I've never ever seen punctuation matter in Duolingo. I think there was probably something else as well.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YukWah

    That seems most plausible because Duolingo doesn't require punctuation at all in answers - I pretty much never use them and my answers are only marked wrong for other reasons.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreasHlz2

    Wrong English translation


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dominic444013

    I would think "excuse me, what is your surname" or even "Excuse me, Sir (or Madam) what is your last name" would be more true to what the translation means


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/justone2004

    Horrible translation. Lol


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stephen241623

    As ever, “last name” is incorrect; the Chinese surname is the first name. Names count from left to right (I, for example, have both a second and a third name; my third name is my surname, though it would be possible for my second name also to be part of my surname). And … you simply can't use the English word “honourable” in this way, perhaps because it implies that you must also have a dishonourable one (though it is possible, if uncommon, to say “he has an honourable surname”, in a non-contrastive construction). If you really need the word “honourable” to appear, “what is your name, honourable sir” will serve, but the closest to a faithful and idiomatic translation I have is “Pardon me, what is your good name?”, which is at least attested. (It's rumoured to be a borrowing from Hindi, but I'm uncertain of this.)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stevebeaker

    The English translation sounds really strange and just clumsy. I've never heard of "honourable last name" before and I'm a native English speaker. I was thinking that it might be something along the lines of 'Excuse me, honourable[/Your Honour], may I please have your last name?' but apparently that's still wrong.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FullmoonPen

    How about ?? "Could you please tell me your noble surname, your highness". LOL


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leili153818

    Excuse me, what's your honorable surname? <-- This version was featured in the New Practical Chinese Reader, Vol. 1 (my college textbook for learning Mandarin). I think it should also be included, so I reported it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G.Turner

    This is a matter of culture I think. In Chinese culture, it sounds like it makes sense to add it. To a native English speaker, with a western culture, using honourable like that sounds very strange and unnatural. It is simply chinglish.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feyMorgaina

    Technically, it's correct grammatical English even if that's not how you'd ask this question in English. The point of that translation is so that an aspect of culture that's in the Chinese phrasing isn't lost. It's a completely valid translation from a learning standpoint as well. Too bad, but you're going to have to deal with some "Chinglish" if you're learning Chinese.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feyMorgaina

    I'm glad you did.

    I know that "honourable" would not be used in asking this kind of question in normal English, but it's a pity that English doesn't have a formal register at all anymore, except for the legal personals, government officials, and royalty. The standard "Excuse me, what's your surname / last name?" does not convey this aspect of Chinese culture. If people want to avoid using "honorable", then my suggestion would be the very polite "Please, may I ask what's your surname?" I see"May I ask?" as simple politeness and "please" as adding almost the amount of respect as 貴 implies when it's used in this context.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feyMorgaina

    I meant "legal professionals", and no "the" before it. (Why no editing in the app?)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wilson.Ta

    There is no word in the sentence that says "honourable". It is redundant.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Translingual

    Well, maybe there is. I agree it's a tad overtranslated maybe but 贵 definitely means "dear, precious". "Honourable" may be stretching the original meaning a little but I would take it as a possible translation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dr_Jerry

    Are you quite sure? Because I think the 贵 serves as the English "honorable" according to just about any Chinese-English dictionary.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KX3.

    Yes, it actually really isn't. Honourable is for people deserving of honour whereas 贵 can also be an extremely polite form of “you".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leili153818

    Actually, politeness is already conveyed by “您” (instead of “你”). “贵” here goes beyond just being polite and is more akin to using the English honorifics/titles "Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Your Honor, Your Majesty, etc." The story behind “贵“ is as follows: In ancient China, some regular people would have the same surnames as gods. For example, if your surname was ”张“, then your surname would be the same as the Jade Emperor‘s mortal surname . As people wouldn't know whether or not your surname was the same as a god (or other respectable individual) when they first met you, the only way they could ask you while conveying this formality (and avoid disrespecting the gods, etc.) would be to add "贵“ (Yes, they believed gods are totally deserving of honor). After the question was asked, you could respond ”免贵“ to state that there is no need for such formalities or this common curtesy. Of course, you can drop this extra info given about the Chinese culture when writing the question in English (making it lost in translation), but I think, from a learning standpoint, it is important to understand some of the culture besides just the linguistics. https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1594827918580135858&wfr=spider&for=pc


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KX3.

    It is important, thank you for pointing that out. I was referring to the fact that (a) to use "honourable" in English is unnatural and sounds foreign, if not strange, and (b) the use of 贵 in, well, ancient China; said usage was from texts I studied so your story of the history behind it is even more interesting to me.

    To go back to the translation, I think that this is an instance where things may be "lost in translation" simply because it is beyond most translators, or at least me, to bring out the nuance behind it. Perhaps someone here will have an answer.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feyMorgaina

    You deserve a lingot, but there's no way to give you a lingot via the app.

    You understood this aspect of the culture exactly. And thanks for looking up the story behind the use of 貴.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EdwardQuin360844

    "Excuse me, may I please ask what is your honourable's last name?" could not be more correct, and yet it was not accepted!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G.Turner

    Really? "your honourable's" sounds really weird to me. Are you thinking of something like "the honourable" as a title?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YukWah

    Just get rid of the genitive apostrophe "s" and it'll make more sense. "your honourable last (family) name" vs. "your honourable's last name"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lesleychang

    Who talks like this???


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vvHills10

    arimasu tametai nokomeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii aaa

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