It is challenging and deceptive to translate technical terms; the process becomes even more confusing when attempting to translate names from Chinese to Arabic. Or usually from any language to another as all languages have different anatomy or format of names. Especially names may sound unpleasant or awkward in other languages but are cool at the same time and sometimes it becomes a legal requirement to do so.
There are various systems to give Chinese names in Arabic, and it is important that the Chinese translator uses the correct method. First of all, even though we are talking about the Chinese translation of words, the names of a Chinese person are actually not “translated” into Arabic.
In most cases, Arab translators do not really translate; rather, close sounds of the Chinese word are expressed using English, or more accurately, Roman letters (or Latin). This is called Chinese Romanization.
In Chinese-speaking countries, it is not uncommon for people to be included in Romania. For example, the English word rendering may be required for educational purposes, travel abroad, or business dealings with speakers familiar with Roman characters only. The same is true of translating Chinese words into Arabic.
There are therefore approved programs and acceptable formats for translating the Chinese name. However, various language translation agencies and translation services perform this function from region to region.
Body of Chinese Names
Many Chinese names contain the family name, followed by the first name. Usually, the names of the families are one letter, and the first name is one or two letters. So a word usually consists of two or three letters. But like most rules, there are exceptions – there are also two-letter family names, but they are rare.
Each Chinese letter is usually a single letter (sound). So Chinese words are usually short and consist of two or three syllables. As like that with English words that can also be short – Jane Smith – or have several letters – Barack Hussein Obama seven letters.
How The History of Arabic Language Contributed to Chinese Language?
By the Year 1000 AD and after 616 AD, Muslim traders started trading in China. During those times, Muslims used to handle much of the import and export matters. However, the people of China are known for their acceptance of words of other languages; they often prefer to interpret the ideology rather than teaching others how to pronounce letters of other languages.
Working together for years has developed an acceptance of languages of both regions. In fact, both languages have adopted many words or phrases of other languages. Still, both languages are very different from each other and need professional assistance when it comes to translation.
There are many Arabic words that have distinct sound or pronunciation in the Chinese language, like:
- Coffee 咖啡 kāfēi in English
- Guitar 吉 others jítā in English
- Sofa 沙发 shāfā in English
It is notable that sometimes Chinese Muslim like to translate 清真 qīngzhēn for the word Muslim and 清真 教 qīngzhēn jiào for the Word Islam. The characters show it is clear and true.
Most of the time, Muslims were referred as huzu [hui people] by the Chinese. The letter ‘hui’ refers to ‘going back’ and it is said that this word was derived from the name of 8th and 9th century Uyghur people.
Today, the Hui people are considered a national group in China, but in reality, they are all Chinese immigrants who practice Islam, independent of their racial structures. Descendants of Silk Road travelers but also Tibetan Muslims and Cham Muslims were included in Huízú.
Some of the concepts translated into Chinese include:
- Gazelle 瞪羚 dènglíng (“antelope staring”)
- Saffron 藏 à zànghónghuā (“Tibetan Red History”)
- Algebra 代数 dàishù (“replacement numbers”)
Challenges to Translate Names from Chinese to Arabic
Arabic and Mandarin have distinct combinations of consonants and vowels, and despite the richness of Arabic, a few repetitions cannot be avoided. Like other languages, Arabic without vowels does not write short vowels, long vowels can be used to give short vowels, but it is still difficult to distinguish between o, u, uo and ou; e, i no ie, which can be written in one form only in Arabic.
When Chinese place names were written, various methods were adopted, which created pollution. There is a traditional spelling and pronunciation of Chinese words in Arabic, which are different from any of the suggested methods, e.g. بكين Beijing. For example, there are at least 4 ways to write Chinese G in Arabic.
What Chinese Word Translator Means
Care needs to be taken with a translation of the Chinese name because most people are sensitive to their names. Improper naming can be frustrating. There will usually be Romanization available in official documents such as a passport. This should be used where available. Indeed when language translators translating Chinese into English or Arabic often ask their clients to provide their English words to spell if they have them.
If not, Chinese words in the text need to be Romanized using the appropriate system. It is important to determine where the Chinese word comes from and to use the most common method used in that area. The Chinese translator will have online resources and dictionaries to help with this.
As there are various Chinese naming programs, it is best to leave the Chinese to Arabic or English translation to a professional translator.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Translating names from one language to another is a tricky job to be done, but sometimes it is a requirement for academic or legal purposes. Every language has its own anatomy or format of names; that is what makes it even more difficult.
When people try to translate names from Chinese to Arabic or English, they often don’t translate, rather romanize. As it requires a good knowledge of name format as per different languages, it is better to go let the professionals do the job. There are legal translation services agencies in UAE that are brilliant at this job. One should reach out to such agencies to avoid the hustle.