Now I See Why They Translated These Into Chinese

A collection of Firefly Chinese curses, along with partial pronunciation guides. (I say partial because they don't give you the tones, which is a critical part of Mandarin pronunciation.) These are rather colorful!


MikeD said...

I always wondered though, if they were using exclamations that the Chinese would actually use, or if they were merely translated expletives. It looks like it's just nonsense that has been translated. More's the pity. Most foreign curses provide interesting insights into that culture.

A benign example is the German "Schweinhund". Pig-dog doesn't really register on the American outrage scale, but it's more offensive than direct translations of most English expletives in translation to the Germans.

Grim said...


Try here. "I love your pretty green hat" looks like the strongest insult on the page. They're pretty ribald too, though.

E Hines said...

Google Translate offers pronunciations of the words/phrases in several languages. I've no idea of the accuracy of the Chinese pronunciations (you get "Chinese," not Mandarin or Cantonese, for instance). In some of the languages with which I do have a passing familiarity, the accent/diction is reasonable; in others it's a bit off. The translations as written do seem reasonable.

The utility also offers slightly different translations than the link does, which to me offers insights into the nature of the idioms (idia?) that are being used. Assuming both parties translated with reasonable accuracy. And assuming Firefly used today's language and not an imagined evolution of the language into that future.

Eric Hines

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AndrewC said...

Most of those curses are too wordy in Chinese. Part of what makes cursing, cursing, is that the colorfully obscene or vulgar phrases captures your feelings concisely.

That said, I only have an elementary level schooling in Chinese (Cantonese), so I'm going by gut feeling here on what works. Some of those might pass muster in Mandarin.

The one I see with the most potential is "cow sucking" (sucks cow). There is already a phrase "blows cow" (spews bull), and the reversed direction implies all you need to know.

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I'll put it under your favorites. :)