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  1. #11
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Naturalness of the following expressions in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandel1 View Post
    1) "No matter how I see it/look at it, she's just a weak girl. How did she do that?" The girl character just broke a sword with her bare hands.
    What's the difference between the two? Is the first plain wrong?
    I won't say see is wrong, but look at is a little better in this expression.

    4) "too high up/too high" - Something is pinned on the wall above a blackboard and a student is trying to reach it. Is "too high up" acceptable in this case?
    Yes, but it's really unnecessary, and so it's less likely that somebody would say it. For that reason, I'd get rid of the up.

    5) Ignoring the use of the metric system, is "Isn't he like 6 foot 2?" far more natural than "Is he 6 foot 2?"
    This is not related to naturalness in any way. The inclusion of like is to approximate. Obviously, the speaker doesn't know his exact height.

    The fact is, I can't get a job if I do English-to-Chinese translations
    Yes, I completely understand. I didn't mean to be discouraging. I wish you all the best.

  2. #12
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    Re: Naturalness of the following expressions in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandel1 View Post
    I agree that in AE and BrE, no one uses the metric system.
    Many, especially younger, Brits do.

  3. #13
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    Re: Naturalness of the following expressions in American English

    My country, Canada, officially adopted the metric system several decades ago. But nearly everyone still uses the customary units (pounds, feet and inches) to measure people's height and weight. A good many people also still use miles for driving distances and speeds. Our political leaders want us to go metric, but we the people are evidently reluctant.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 27-Mar-2021 at 22:25. Reason: Typo

  4. #14
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: Naturalness of the following expressions in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandel1 View Post
    Hi all,

    This is my first post. I do web novel translations part-time for a Chinese company, Chinese to English. I am not a native speaker of English, so please feel free to point out my errors. :)

    Just last week, I was asked to translate a chapter of a manhua (a Chinese comic strip). Since the client was important, my translation was edited many times, with plenty of amendments/edits/changes. The client asked for American English, but I was brought up using British English.

    One editor is based in the US, and I assume he/she is a native speaker of American English. Most of his or her changes are clear improvements, but I'm wondering about a few others.

    These include:

    1) No matter how I see it -->

    That's not natural.


    No matter how I look at it

    That is.

    (Is there a difference between these two,

    Yes. One makes sense, one doesn't.


    or is the second the only one correct?)

    Only the second is correct.


    2) Which class are you two from? -->

    That's natural if you're asking about social class: rich, middle class, working class.


    Which class are you two in?

    That's natural if you're asking about a class in school.


    (Are both acceptable, or is the second more correct in AE?)

    It depends on the context.


    3) Didn't you hear me? I called you so many times! -->

    That's a little stilted. More likely:

    - I've been calling on you!

    - I've called on you over and over!


    Are you deaf? I've been calling you! (Which sounds more natural? The speaker is a teacher who is a little angry with an unresponsive student. The literal meaning is more like the first, but isn't the amended version a little rude?)

    That's more natural, but you're right, it's rude. So it depends on the context.


    4) It's too high up! I can't reach it! --> It's too high! I can't reach it! (Is "too high up" wrong?)

    Both are fine and mean the same thing.


    5) Wow, he's so tall! Is he 1.9 meters... ? --> Wow, he's so tall! Isn't he like 1.9 meters? (I know the second is correct, but does the first sound natural in AE or BrE?)

    In this context, an American would never say "meters"!

    Otherwise, both are natural, depending on the context. Using "like" that way is very slangy.


    I'm asking this because I want to know if my English is good enough to translate comic strips, which demand more idiomatic, informal, natural-sounding English. I was brought up under the British system, so please feel free to point out any differences between BrE and AE (if any) in the examples above. Any input will be much appreciated!
    That's what I know.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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