Translation:Excuse me, your honorable last name?
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.
I think the answer is just wrong. It should be "May I ask for your last name?".
As a speaker of British English I spell it as "honourable". Please, Doulinguists, be a little more adaptable regarding this.
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.
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.
Are you quite sure? Because I think the 贵 serves as the English "honorable" according to just about any Chinese-English dictionary.
Yes, it actually really isn't. Honourable is for people deserving of honour whereas 贵 can also be an extremely polite form of “you".
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
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.