Going to China

可能好離奇,我覺得香港最好嘅一樣野係我可以好容易就走。中國大陸係好近,週末去中國好容易同埋好平。旺角嘅深圳巴士係三十四文,泰國曼谷好平但係都要一千文。中國係最好!但係我最鐘意嘅唔係因為近或者係平。而係嗰種冇規冇距嘅自由感 (對於共產國家黎講可能好奇怪) 吸引我。除非觸犯政府,否則你可以喺中國做任何野。我 之前 / 從來 未見過啲人揸車咁求其,或者隨便係條街度揸水。星期五十點放左工飲啤酒,wing wing 地係皇崗口岸有種 放假 / 假期 嘅感覺。蘭桂坊畀唔到呢種感覺我。去吧深圳有氣氛,香港冇。啲人坐外面,街邊有好多熟食檔,煮野食陣味好香。但係深圳的士高好玩好多。香港得少數吧係好玩。我哋俾四百文入場費只可以逼係間淺窄嘅房仔!場。中國有好多。啲吧有好靚嘅舞蹈員同 好多 / 太多煙機。音樂好好同埋啲人可以跳舞。就算禮拜六朝早七點返香港個陣我唔舒服同埋聞到煙味,都仍然係好好嘅經歷。我愛香港係有啲原因嘅,其中一個係因為中國。

Recently I have started using iTalki quite a lot and decided to give it a go with a long article (by my abilities standards).  I got an excellent response from a guy called Rocky and I thought it was worth sharing his comments.  They’ve really helped me a lot.

My original Cantonese is in grey, and I left the English translation above.  The purple is the corrected Cantonese.


(1) Probably bizarrely, for me, one of the best things about Hong Kong is how easy it is to leave.
離奇話唔定,我以為香港有最好特性係我可以走!
可能好離奇,我覺得香港最好嘅一樣野係我可以好容易就走。

– I am not sure if 離奇 is a proper adjective here because it is used to describe something really strange. But I guess it is fine because you used the word “Bizarrely”. Yet you may also use 奇怪 or 古怪.
– 話唔定 is usually placed before adjective / proposed situation. And it is usually used when you are really not certain about the truth, or when you making a wild guess. So I think 可能 maybe a better alternative.
– 我以為 is used when you are referring to a wrong perception, i.e. ” I THOUGHT that….. “. Therefore if you used 我以為 in this sentence, it means that you thought you could leave freely BUT it was not the real case indeed. A better choice of word would be 我認為 / 我覺得.



(2) With Mainland China only a stone’s throw away, escaping for a weekend is easy and cheap.
中國大陸係好近住,星期尾去中國好容易同埋好平。
中國大陸係好近,週末去中國好容易同埋好平。

– Weekend is translated as 週末 or less formally 星期六日。



(3) A bus from Mong Kok is only $34, and the next thing that comes close is Bangkok, Thailand at somewhere around a grand. You cannot beat it.
旺角深圳巴士係三十四文,曼谷泰國係好平但係~一千文。中國係最好!
旺角嘅深圳巴士係三十四文,泰國曼谷好平但係都要一千文。中國係最好!

– $ is pronounced as 蚊 (I bet you already know about this.) People usually use 蚊 too just to represent the exact pronunciation. So you may see people writing 三十四蚊. (蚊 literally means mosquitos.)
– In Cantonese (and Chinese), when we are addressing a city/ country, the bigger region comes first. Therefore 泰國 comes before 曼谷. This rules also applies when we are writing addresses.



(4) But it’s not really the cost or ease of access that attract me.
但係唔係接駁容易我好種意。 (This is a very “English” sentence and is not quite comprehensible.)
但係我最鐘意嘅唔係因為近或者係平。

      (Lit. But my favourite thing is not because of the short distance or the cheap cost.)
– In general main verbs come before the objects. Sentence patterns like ______that I know/like etc. are not common in Cantonese.



(5) It’s the sense of unruliness and, strangely in a communist state, the sense of freedom.
冇法規(共產國奇怪特點)吸引我, 冇自由。 (Contradicting to the English version above.)
而係嗰種冇規冇距嘅自由感 (對於共產國家黎講可能好奇怪) 吸引我。

– Since I think this sentence follows the previous one, I add a conjunctive “而係” here, which is similar to not.., but….
– I think you actually feel free in China. Therefore 冇自由 (No freedom) is a wrong use of words, and its position in the sentence is improper because you indeed isolated it at the end of the sentence.
– 共產國奇怪特點. Do you mean freedom is a rarely found in communist countries and hence strange? or Freedom is always a distinct strange character of these countries? Because I interpret your English version as the former one while your Chinese version as the latter one. Anyway, the difference is indeed very subtle.



(6) Let’s face it, in China you can do what you want as long as you don’t offend the Government.
中國你想可以做嘢,除非觸犯政府。
除非觸犯政府,否則你可以喺中國做任何野。
(Lit. Unless you offend the Government, you can do anything in China.)

– Conjunctives in Cantonese are usually places at the beginning of the sentences, e.g. “If/Because/Unless……, …..” is preferred to “……, if/because/unless…… “.
– 除非 is used with 否則.



(7) I’ve never before witnessed such a lax attitude towards driving, or people so carefree that they will happily piss on a busy street.
永不咗我見揸車好千猜態度,入哋唔理同埋街揸水冇所謂。
我 之前 / 從來 未見過啲人揸車咁求其,或者隨便係條街度揸水。
    (Lit. I have never witnessed people who drive laxly or casually piss in a street.)

– I believe this sentence is the most challenging one for both you and me. I am glad that you wrote the English version so that I could try my best to provide you with a better Cantonese translation. Since the original sentence is way too incomprehensible, I made some major changes.
– Never can be translated as 從來未 or simply 未 (lit. have not <past participle>), which follows the subject, after 我 in this case. Indeed as Cantonese is a spoken language, the sentence pattern is preferred to be  simple for better understanding. So you may consider writing sentences that resemble simple English.
– ” – 過” is an expression to describe something you have done before, e.g. 我去過泰國 = I have been to Thailand. That’s why I use 見過 to represent “witnessED”.
– I haven’t heard about 千猜 before so I googled it. Then I realized it is a term mainly used in Singapore. In HK, we use 求其 instead. Since 求其 itself is already an attitude, there is no need to use 態度.
– 入 =/= 人。Pay attention when you input these characters. 入 means “enter” while 人 means “person/people”.
– 唔理 means “to ignore”. Carefree is better translated as 隨便 (lit. casual) or 冇所謂 (lit. don’t care about it / No preferences).
– Just to let you know piss can also be translated as 痾尿. Of course 揸水 is another more subtle way of translation.



(8) You get that holiday feeling when you arrive in Huang Gang at 10pm on a Friday, already tipsy from the after work beers.
放工飲啤酒,星期五十點你係扔咗皇崗口岸到來有"假期情感"。
星期五十點放左工飲啤酒,wing wing 地係皇崗口岸有種 放假 (lit. on vacation) / 假期 嘅感覺。

– I guess you used 扔 to resemble the pronunciation of expressing tipsy in Cantonese. It is fine but you may also use the English syllables too since many Cantonese words do not have written versions with the same pronunciation. And if you use 扔, the first thing that comes to people’s mind is about “throwing away”, which is the literal meaning of the word. An alternative of “wing/扔” is 醉醉地.
– 情感 better describes strong feelings, such as affection. Therefore I think a “milder” noun such as 感覺 will do in this case. The “amount describing word” for 感覺 is 種, e.g. 一種感覺 (lit. a feeling).



(9) A feeling I just don’t get that feeling from LKF.
蘭桂坊唔畀呢個情感我。
     蘭桂坊畀唔到呢種感覺我。

– Indeed your sentence is already very nice. However, to be a little bit better, I used 畀唔到 instead of 唔畀. Because 唔畀 can be interpreted as “Lan Kwai Fong doesn’t give you the feeling deliberately.” ; 畀唔到 literally means “Lan Kwai Fong cannot give you the feeling.”



(10) Heading down to the bars there’s again an atmosphere you just don’t feel in Hong Kong.
去吧深圳有氣氛,香港冇。
– It is concise and alright : D



(11) People are sitting outside, the streets smelling of cooking food from the numerous vendors parked up along the edge.
人哋坐外面,街有煮食品好香,有好多熟食檔。
啲人坐外面,街邊有好多熟食檔,煮野食陣味好香。

– 人地 usually refers to “Other people”.”People in general” can be translated as 啲人.
– 食品 is a more likely to be used in writing. A colloquial expression of it is 野食。



(12) The clubs however are where things are taken to another level.
但係深圳的士高係好多玩!
a. 但係深圳的士高好玩好多
b. 但係深圳的士高更加好玩

– I am not sure what you want to express.
“The food vendors are not very nice but the clubs are fun” ——> a
“The food vendors are nice but the clubs are even more fun” —> b
Indeed a and b literally have the same meaning, but they actually sound a bit different to people.
– 好玩 = Fun ; 好多 = a lot more ——> 好玩好多 = a lot more fun —-> Implying the food vendors being compared are not fun or of minimal fun.



(13) There are not many clubs in Hong Kong that I would call “fun”.
香港有少數吧係好玩。
香港得少數吧係好玩。

– Your version is grammatically correct. But using 得 instead of 有 can express what you think better. 得 emphasized the quantity is limited, e.g. 我得3蚊咋 = I’ve got only $3.



(14) Being rammed into a small space like sardines is not what I want from a $400 entrance fee.
我哋小房淺窄係唔玩同埋入場飛係及至四百文!(唔玩? I don;t get it)
我哋俾四百文入場費只可以逼係間淺窄嘅房仔!
       (lit. We paid $400 for entrance fee but we can only get rammed into a small space.)

– 費 = Fee/ charges / fare.
– “- 仔” means small, e.g. 房仔 = small room, 臺仔 = small table, 狗仔 = puppy.
– 逼 = crowded / ram, e.g. 依度好逼 = It is so crowded here ; 唔好逼入黎 = Don’t ram in.



(15) Space. China has it in abundance.
場。中國有好多。

– Fantastic. The use of 場 is perfect here. 場 means clubs/bars.



(16) Clubs have dancers and excessive use of smoke machines.
吧啲有好靚舞蹈家同埋太多用煙機。
啲吧有好靚嘅舞蹈員同 好多 / 太多煙機。

– 舞蹈家 is okay here. But it refers to people who devote themselves in dance and may are exceptionally good i the field, such as outstanding ballerina. 舞蹈員 refers to dancers generally.
– Do you think they are using too many smoke machines? If so, 太多 is perfect here. If you think they use the smoke machines extensively, 好多 can be used.



(17) The music is actually good and people can dance.
音樂係好好同埋人哋可以跳舞。
音樂好好同埋啲人可以跳舞。

– We usually omit 係 in sentences of ” <Noun> is <Adjective>”, e.g. The car is expensive = 架車好貴.
We keep it unless we want to emphasize the description, e.g. The car is really expensive = 架車真係好貴.



(18) Returning to Hong Kong at 7am on a Saturday morning feeling sick and stinking of smoke doesn’t taint the experience.
星期六七點返香港我唔舒服同有煙聞,唔可以經歷損壞。
就算禮拜六朝早七點返香港個陣我唔舒服同埋聞到煙味,都仍然係好好嘅經歷。
(Lit. Even if I return to HK at 7 am on Sat feeling sick and smell the stinking smoking, it is still a nice experience.)

– 就算 = even if ; 仍然 = still. I used them because I couldn’t find a proper way to translate the original sentence directly.
– You better add 朝早 (lit. morning).
– 經歷, similar to experience, can be used as a noun or a verb. 經歷損壞 = to experience damage; 損壞經歷  = To taint the experience.



(19) There are reasons why I love Hong Kong. And one of them is China.
我愛香港有原因啲。一個原因係中國。
我愛香港係有啲原因嘅,其中一個係因為中國。

– 其中一個 = one of them, e.g. There are three balls. Two of them are red. = 有三個波,其中兩個係紅色。
– 啲 usually comes before the noun or after an adjective.

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