Translation News: Modern Chinese Dictionary Leaves Out A Word or Two

A new edition of the Modern Chinese Dictionary, recently published, has elected to add some new words and phrases in, something customary for new dictionaries everywhere and language evolves, but also decided there were some words better left out.


A common phrase in Chinese, used to describe unmarried women, but directly translated as ‘left-over women’ was left out amidst humanitarian concerns for the phrase. Globally, it’s a much more common occurrence than it used to be, for women and men to remain unmarried until later in life or to choose not to marry. Many of these women would hardly go so far as to class themselves as ‘left over’ and it’s an interesting move for equality to remove the phrase from the dictionary.

Some of the new additions to the dictionary included WeChat, a messaging service, a Chinese word meaning ‘positive force’ along with ‘吐槽’ – comment, and ‘拍砖’ meaning criticise.

As is often the case with changes to dictionaries, a variety of reactions appeared online, though perhaps not quite as many as when the phrase ‘selfie’ was added to the English dictionary.

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