What is the best way to translate 中国加油? (zhong guo jia you)
Jun 10, 2008 10:24
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The phrases 中国加油 (zhong guo jia you) and 汶川加油 (Wenchuan jia you) seem to have become the unifying cry of Chinese everywhere since the earthquake in May. I understand the general concept of "Go team!" and have heard it used many times during basketball games or any competition in general.

I was asked today by one of my students how I would best translate 中国加油 into English. I had to think about it a while and eventually couldn't come up with a satisfactory answer (at least for me). "Go China", especially in the case of this earthquake, doesn't really fit. I've heard many people translate it like this, but I personally don't like it.

How would you translate 中国加油! and 汶川加油! in a situation such as what has happened with this earthquake?
Jun 10, 2008 10:41
  • GRIZ326
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It will be interesting to hear the comments of the native speakers. Looking in Wenlin it suggests "make extra effort, "step on it," in reference to the Wen River and the Middle Kingdom. Your translation of "Go China" seems to be what is implied in the words.
Jun 10, 2008 19:23
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It's just idiomatic speech that means to 'GO for it'
Jun 10, 2008 23:38
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I always translate "jiayou" 加油, as "Come on"...

Which may well not be correct. Certainly in England, where I come from, we use "Come on" in two different situations. The first being when a team or player of a sport usually, but also in other contexts, is winning, or in a good position, and we want to show our support and happiness.

Crucially though, the second meaning, which "Go" or "Go for it" doesn't quite carry, is that if a person, player or team is losing, or struggling, or in big trouble and about to lose... we'll still yell "Come on"... this is a rally call, of support and encouragement, to strive and succeed despite being in a difficult spot...

So, I take it to be this second meaning, "Come on China", "Come on Sichuan"...

I must admit though, it still feels odd to me to hear it as it is linked most commonly with sports, and the earthquake seems just a bit more important than a basketball game... or whatever.

Perhaps our Chinese friends can offer their translations ?
Jun 11, 2008 03:49
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This is hard, the normal 加油 is just a word for encouragement. But this time, you need to include the feeling of sad sympathy, understanding, support, solidarity and comfort, which a simple "come on" can not cover.
Jun 15, 2008 07:31
GUESTYE what about this? fight! China!
Jun 15, 2008 22:08
  • BBQQ
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"what about this? fight! China!"

I prefer this one. At this crucial mement, China and Wenchuan needs to fight against the earthquake and rebuild their homes. "Fight" is really good.
Jun 25, 2008 02:55
  • XJD1007
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加油does have different meanings(a little bit different though) at differenet situation, here I think it includes the meaning of "Be stronger."
Jun 25, 2008 09:37
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"Stand Strong China!" "Be Strong Wenchuan!"...I like that. Thanks for the suggestion XJD1007!
Jun 26, 2008 23:49
GUEST42250 中国 => Chinese
加 => fill
油 => oil

中国加油 => Chinese be filled oil

as taht motorcycle be filled oil, it will have power to go on...
If something have oil, it will have power.

someone + 加油 => people wish someone have be cheered....
I want to study Englshe, some one can give me a hand? my Skype: a1807d
I'm Taiwanese
Aug 11, 2008 22:56
GUEST56228 In my opinion, "go China", "come on China", "be stronger China" and "China, fight!" don't really capture the meaning.

中国 => China
加 => add
油 => gas

The term 加油 is used to encourage people to put a little more gas in the engine and step up their efforts. So 中国加油 means something closer to "persevere through effort, China"! It's a bit scary to hear so many young people mindlessly chanting it, but the mantra's meaning is pretty harmless.

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