Great Again again

First Published: Jan 18, 2016. Repost: Nov 9, 2016 and Jan 19, 2017

The following is a rerun of series of articles back in January 2016 from the 18th to the 23rd:


Wouldn’t it be fun to mix fiction into reality? Imagine reading the following:


Donald Trump’s First TV Ad Focuses on Galactic Immigration


Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, released his first TV spot Monday, repeating his call to “make America great again” and doubling down on his rhetoric against space aliens and galactic immigrants.


Chinese character: 重
Chinese character: 振
Chinese character: 美
Chinese character: 國Simplified Chinese: 国
Chinese character: 聲Simplified Chinese: 声
Chinese character: 威


Chinese character: 超
Chinese character: 迴Simplified Chinese: 回
Chinese character: 路
Chinese character: 列
Chinese character: 車Simplified Chinese: 车


A ban on Jawa, Wookiee, Ewok and Hutt immigration. A Hyperloop to Mexico to increase transportation and bi-country cooperation. Decapitating the First Order.


These were the themes featured in Donald J. Trump’s first television advertisement, set to hit the airwaves on Tuesday as the sprint to win the Iowa caucuses begins in earnest.


“I am very proud of this ad,” Mr. Trump said in a statement on Monday. “I don’t know if I also need to enlist the Jedis, but I don’t want to take any chances.”


I read the Chinese media translations of “make America great again.” Two of them are:


讓美國再度偉大 (ràng měiguó zàidù wěidà), literally, let America great again, and, 重建偉大美國 (chóngjiàn wěidà měiguó), literally, reconstruction Great America.


Let me suggest a better translation: 重振美國聲威 (chóng zhèn měiguó shēngwēi).


重振 (chóng zhèn) is short for 重新振作 (chóngxīn zhènzuò), meaning rebound or reinvigorate.


美國 (měiguó) is the United States. Remember you learned America is 美國 (měi guó), literally beautiful country?


聲威 (shēngwēi) is renown or prestige. Separating these two characters, 聲 (shēng) means sound or voice; 威 (wēi) means might.


Chinese character: 移
Chinese character: 民

None of us has control of who, what, or where we’re born. Imagine how different your life would be if you were born a different gender, of a different race, or in a different country.


We can’t do much to our DNA but thanks to improved transportation, we can at least travel or move to places we desire.


What’s “immigration” in Chinese?


It’s 移民 (yímín), literally, 移 (yí), to move, and, 民 (mín), people.


Hyperloop sounds like a leap over the existing high-speed rail. What do you call it in Chinese?


Hyperloop is translated as
超迴路列車 (chāo huílù lièchē).


超 (chāo) is super or hyper.


迴路 (huílù) is loop.


列車 (lièchē) is a train.

Can you imagine Trump by any other name?


Shakespeare famously wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But I believe the name Trump does trump Drumpf, the original family name before renaming.


How do you say Trump in Chinese?


Trump has been transliterated as
川普 (chuān pǔ) in Chinese.


Chinese character: 壯Simplified Chinese: 壮
Chinese character: 夫


Chinese character: 川
Chinese character: 普

Just for fun, I came up with a transliteration that sounds similar to both Trump and Drumpf. It’s 壯夫 (zhuàng fū), literally strong man.

Chinese character: 唐
Chinese character: 諾Simplified Chinese: 诺
Chinese character: 當Simplified Chinese: 当
Chinese character: 諾Simplified Chinese: 诺



This is one of the reasons it’s insufficient to rely on a dictionary to create a Chinese name yourself unless you also know all the potential connotations not mentioned in the book.


What’s the Chinese name for Donald?


It has been transliterated as either 唐諾 (táng nuò) or 當諾 (dāng nuò).


唐 (táng) is most known as the name of the Tang Dynasty. It’s also a Chinese surname. It does have negative meanings of exaggerative, boastful, in vain, or for nothing, but people don’t think about these when it is used in a name and as the first character.



The second character, 老 (táng lǎo), sounds like the “-nald” sound in Donald and it means old.


The third character, 鴨 (yā), is duck.


So 唐老鴨 (táng lǎo yā) can be interpreted as Donald Duck (transliteration: 唐老, táng lǎo; translation: 鴨) or Don[ald] [Old] Duck (transliteration: 唐; translation: 老鴨).


The nephews of Donald Duck—Huey, Dewey, and Louie—are called 唐小鴨 (táng xiǎoyā), literally Don[ald] Little Duck.


當 (dāng) is appropriate or to regard as.


諾 (nuò) is to promise.


Whenever you see 言 (yán) on the left side of a character, it has to do with speech or words.


Chinese character: 唐
Chinese character: 老
Chinese character: 鴨Simplified Chinese: 鸭


Speaking of Donald, another famous Donald I have in mind is a duck.


Donald Duck is 唐老鴨 (táng lǎo yā) in Chinese.


唐老鴨 (táng lǎo yā) sounds familiar and friendly to the Chinese because the first character, 唐 (táng), here used as the transliteration of the “Don-“ sound in Donald, is associated with everything Chinese, e.g.: 唐人 (tángrén), meaning Chinese people, or, 唐朝 (táng cháo), meaning Tang Dynasty.


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