English to Chinese Translation for A Few Proverbs

Listed are some English to Chinese translation for proverbs that can be used during everyday conversation in your upcoming trip to China to win over your hosts. They are written in Chinese pinyin to avoid website issues in displaying Chinese characters.

Phrase - mei chi putao shuo putao suan

Meaning of phrase: "To think that grapes taste sour even if you haven't ever eaten one yourself".

The above phrase is quite simple and may often have to be used in your stay in china. The deeper meaning of the phrase is to have a judgement or opinion for something about which you only have second hand information and have not experienced it first-hand. So, your opinion is completely unjust and baseless just as when someone says grapes taste sour while they haven't eaten one themselves. Many people have preconceived notions especially when it comes to different countries, especially if you are from the western parts of the world. All westerners are expected to be rolling in money (though the opinion has changed considerably since the recession). The idea that western countries also have poor, homeless people is as foreign to them as the countries themselves. If you tell them there are a lot of things wrong with your companies' government, healthcare or whatever, they will at best only tell you that your judgement levels are too high. So, it might be a good idea to use this phrase then.

Phrase - chi budao putao shuo putao suan

Meaning of phrase - To say grapes taste sour IF you cannot eat them.

The literal translation of the above phrase is quite similar to the first one. But, its meaning has a subtle difference. So, like if someone says 'it would be nice to have a huge house'. Then you say 'but then it would get pretty lonely' even when you think it would be super awesome. Jealousy is the reason this phrase was born. You would say negative things about something you like but can't afford in our attempt to console yourself. But, then it is obvious to both us and the person we are speaking to that we don't mean what we say. That is when this phrase can be used.

Phrase - guangong mianqian shua dadao

Meaning of phrase - To demonstrate your sword skills in front of an expert (Guangong was an ancient Chinese warlord known to be proficient with swords).

The deeper meaning is that you are trying to flaunt your amateur knowledge in front of an expert. Much like showing your gun skills to Billy the Kid. Doing so would result to an embarrassment to you at best. Such phrases which have a bit of Chinese cultural context will be especially impressive to your hosts. So, look for other phrases using folk heroes like Guangong or Zhugeliang. They might also help you in sprucing up your knowledge of Chinese history. So, if anyone is trying to show off their skills even when an expert is at hand you can use this phrase. There are both positive and negative ways to use it. One way, the positive way, to use it is while expressing humility. So, if anyone is better at something than you are and you still are carrying out that task than you can use this phrase to acknowledge his expertise in the field. This usage will surely get you a laugh from you friend. This is a subtle way to give him or her compliment by admitting they are better than you. But, you might sound a bit cheesy. Another, negative, way to use this phrase is if you know someone is not very good at something and is still trying to flaunt it. It is a good way to put him in his place. If you or someone around him is much better at a particular task and still he is trying to show off you can use this phrase to let him know that he should step probably aside. Another phrase with the same meaning is 'ban men nong fu'. But, it doesn't paint a picture or have a historical perspective like 'guangong mianquin shua dadao'.

Phrase - luobo baicai ge you suo ai

Meaning of phrase - Some like cabbage, some like turnip.

This phrase is used to mean that everyone has different tastes or opinions about the same thing i.e. everyone's likes and fancies are different. The expression can be highly used when you go to Chinese restaurants and want dishes customized to your preferences (like you might not like too many chillies or things like that). The waiters in china often say it is 'impossible' to do that just because they don't think it will taste good. Using this phrase will not only effectively shut them up but will also earn you a smile as they are presently surprised when you a foreigner show knowledge of a local phrase. It will effectively prove them wrong in their mother tongue. It is quite funny that even though such wise phrases exist in their language they tend to act against them very often. This will be one proverb you will get to use as often as you visit new restaurants in china that is almost every day. Hopefully, these English to Chinese translation of expression will have helped you.