Trump's vulgarities rendered into Chinese

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Judging from these recent Language Log posts and the comments thereto, it is not always easy for native speakers of English to understand what Donald Trump says, especially when he is making lewd remarks:

"A non-apology for the ages" (10/7/16)

"'Like a bitch'?" (10/8/16)

"Trump translated" (9/31/16)

"Trump's aphasia" (9/5/15)

There have been many other attempts on Language Log to clarify Trumpian rhetoric.

If those who are born to English have difficulty comprehending the Donald's utterances, you can well imagine how hard it must be to grasp their nuances in another language.  Let's take a look at some of the Chinese translations of Trump's latest crudities.

[N.B.:  To preserve the "feel" of the Chinese, the translations given are necessarily on the literal side.]


Nǐ shènzhì kěyǐ wánr tāmen de xiàtǐ, shénme dōu xíng.
"You can even play with their nether parts; anything goes."

Wǒ xiàng zhuī biǎozi yīyàng zhuī tā, dàn méi néng chénggōng.
"I pursued her like a whore / prostitute / harlot / strumpet, but I couldn't succeed."
Note:  English "bitch" is often translated as biǎozi 婊子 (for examples, see here)


Nǐ xiǎng zěnme zuò dōu xíng, bāokuò mō tāmen de yǐnsī bùwèi.
"You can do whatever you want, including touching / feeling / stroking / groping their private parts."


Wǒ kěyǐ zhuā zhù tāmen de [bì——], wǒ kěyǐ zuò rènhé shì.
"I can grab their [beep]; I can do anything."

Wǒ kěyǐ shàng tā xiàng shàng bitch yīyàng, dàn wǒ méiyǒu chénggōng.
"I could get on her like a bitch, but I didn't succeed."

Wǒ duì tā cǎiqǔle qiángliè de jìngōng
"I made a strong attack on her"

Yòng p-y zhuāzhù tāmen
"use pussy to grab them"

Wǒ xiàng duìdài dàngfù yīyàng kàojìn tā
"I treated her like a slut to get close to her"

Comment by David Moser:

By the way, I don't think there is any obvious way to say "pussy" in Chinese.  It doesn't mean the same thing as "vagina", so "bi1 屄" doesn't really express the meaning.  I've seen some articles translate the Trump rant with si1chu4 私处 ("private place"), which is pretty good, but not a translation because it's not vulgar.  Yin1bu4 阴部 ("private parts; pudendum") is also descriptive but not at all lewd.  It's a bit like the French word "fesses",  which is usually translated "buttocks", but it refers to the area of the thighs, buttocks AND loins, as seen from behind.  We don't really have a word specifying that bodily region in English.  (Another example may be "lap", that seems to be a peculiarly English word.)

[Thanks to Jichang Lulu, Melvin Lee, Fangyi Cheng, and Randy Alexander]


  1. Chris Kern said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 11:08 am

    I had a hard time finding a Japanese news article that translated his statements. It seemed like generally what they did was translate the "when you're a star they let you do it you can do anything" part and then just make a vague reference to other crude/lewd statements. This seems to be from a BBC-related outlet:


    かなり激しい is "like a bitch," so they're interpreting it as just an intensifier.

    Interestingly they didn't translate "pussy", they left it in English (in roman letters) and put an explanation after it.

  2. Fs said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 11:38 am

    I was just wondering about this last night — I.e. how my parents and the wechattosphere was hearing this. I also wonder how young people would express this: "pussy" comes up in rap a lot, and maybe musical interests have motivated a better import of the word.

  3. leoboiko said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 3:28 pm

    Judging by dictionary definitions as well as my intuition, I believe Brazilian Portuguese colo is an exact equivalent of English "lap".

  4. Fushichô said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 3:57 pm

    (French native speaker here) I've personally never heard of fesse(s) referring to "the area of the thighs, buttocks AND loins, as seen from behind". I've always used it and heard it used to refer just to the buttocks, or as the polite version of "cul" (ass/arse) in various expressions. Dictionnaries seem to agree with my use and don't mention an extended area above and below the buttocks, only the glutes, for "les fesses".

    Interesting that there's no established equivalent of "pussy" in Chinese and Japanese. The French have a very common slang term for it – I believe the Germans do as well, though I can't remember it – for such a body part, I would have imagined all languages would have had something. Would the Chinese/Japanese be too respectful of women to come up with a term? Is it too taboo to have it's own term?

  5. leoboiko said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 4:04 pm

    @Fushichō I'm pretty sure the Japanese vulgar/offensive word for "pussy, cunt" is manko though? I've seen it censored even in otherwise quite graphic porn comics (which I know because of… research).

  6. John Rohsenow said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 5:27 pm

    My 17 year old African American godson here in Chicago mystified me by referring to an upcoming date he had with a young woman as a "P.A." Turns out that this stands for a "pussy appointment". or a (brief) "booty call". I did comment on this behavior, but that isn't relevant to linguistics.

  7. More Cowbell said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

    According to Wikipedia,
    Words referring to cats are used as vulgar slang for female genitals in some other European languages as well. Examples include German Muschi (literally "house cat"),[13] French chatte ("female cat", also used to refer to sexual intercourse),[14] and Dutch poes ("puss").[4] The Portuguese term rata (literally "female rat")[15] and Norwegian mus ("mouse")[16] are also animal terms used as vulgar slang for women's genitals.

    <a href="Wiktionary gives over 50 multilingual translations of "pussy; female genitalia"

  8. Victor Mair said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 6:11 pm

    So far I haven't seen any translations of Trump's "bitch" as mǔgǒu 母狗 ("female canine").

  9. Jacob said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 9:01 pm

    Just sayin', there's an alternative (phonetic) translation of "bitch" in Chinese — "碧池", which appeared in recent years on the Internet. My guess is that 婊子 is either too formal, or too much of a "翻译腔" (What's the word for this in English? Translation-ish, I guess?) for Chinese millennials' taste.

    More colloquially, people now use "婊" as a suffix for women (sometimes men too) they don't like, with the connotation of cheating, lying or promiscuity.

  10. V said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 10:52 pm

    Here's a sample of a Japanese translation attempt:

    As you can hopefully see from my retranslations, these Japanese renderings are relatively literal, and also notably less vulgar than the English (esp the choice of 性器 "genitals"). In addition, most Japanese articles time seeing are referring to the utterances as 性的発言 "sexual remarks", which is much less censorious than the terms "lewd remarks", "vulgar remarks" etc that US media have been using.


    I went after her, but it was no good.


    I tried to have sex with her, but she was married.


    I'm automatically attracted to beautiful things and just start kissing. It's like a magnet.


    If you're a star, they let you do anything. Including grabbing their genitals.

  11. V said,

    October 9, 2016 @ 10:53 pm

    Whoops, *I'm seeing, not "time seeing".

  12. Joseph said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 3:47 am

    All of these translations of "bitch" are incorrect. I am almost certain Trump is referring to himself as a bitch, in the sense as defined in the Oxford New American Dictiknary as "a person who is completely subservient to another." The context is Trump discussing taking a married woman furnature shopping in an attempt to seduce her.

    For an example of this same misunderstanding, in Japanese ビッチ "bitch" means a promiscuous woman, like the Chinese translations here. In American English I have only heard the term used for a malicious and selfish woman, but not necessarily a promiscuous woman.

  13. Vilinthril said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 3:52 am

    To the best of my knowledge, German Schoß is (among other meanings, like “loins/womb”) a near-perfect translation of “lap”.

  14. B.Ma said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 5:02 am

    I agree with Joseph, and so do most commenters on Mark Liberman's post linked by VHM (2 posts down from this one on the main page).

    I'm not sure how to express this properly but a lot of Chinese seem to think they are experts on English because they "spent a year in the US" or something. I once posted "your English sucks" on a Chinese messaging board in response to some poor attempt at translation, which was replied to by a lengthy diatribe (in Chinese) about how the only thing that could suck was a mouth.

  15. JENS B FIEDERER said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 9:03 am

    Vilinthril is correct on the German (I was born in Germany and spent the first 10 years of my life there).

    I suspect ANY culture where it is common for a child to sit on the lap of a seated person will have a term for "lap".

  16. Terry Hunt said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 9:44 am

    I'm intrigued by the French "fesses". In English, a "fesse" in heraldic terminology (deriving from Norman French) denotes a thick horizontal bar, usually across the middle of a shield. (a "bar" is actually a thinner version of a fesse, and a "barrulet" a yet thinner version.) My OED tells me it derives from Latin "fascia" – a band – via Old French "fesse" from which modern French "fasce" comes. Is "fesses" = buttocks/arse cognate (referring to the middle part of the body), or does it have a different source? Sadly, my Harrap's English–French Slang Dictionary, though rich with phrases and metaphors using the term, does not give etymologies.

    I've always assumed that the heraldic terminology comes specifically from a component of a fence or similar wooden construction, since the equivalent thick vertical band is a "pale" (diminutive "pallet"). A similar diagonal band is called a "bend" (dim. "bendlet", second dim. "riband"), for which the OED suggests a Norse and/or Germanic origin, related to n. "band" and v. "bind", though the Old French "bende" (Mod Fr. "bande") is obviously cognate and the proximate heraldic source.

    Apologies for straying off-topic.

  17. cameron said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 9:50 am

    This article on Slate seems worth a cross-reference here:

  18. Keith said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 11:03 am

    @David Moser,
    It's a bit like the French word "fesses", which is usually translated "buttocks", but it refers to the area of the thighs, buttocks AND loins, as seen from behind. We don't really have a word specifying that bodily region in English.

    No, the French word "fesses" does not include the thighs. It strictly means the buttocks when used to literally refer to the body. There is the euphemism "fesses de devant" for the vagina, but that's mostly childish language (cf. English use of "front bottom").

    Used figuratively, "fesses" (plural) means sexual activity or relationship, so you might hear about an intrigue that was "une histoire de fesses" (Mitterand springs to mind).

    It appears in quite a few expressions, too, such as "ça m'a coûté la peau des fesses" for "it cost me an arm and a leg".

  19. Jean-Michel said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 3:02 pm

    @Chris Kern: Interestingly they didn't translate "pussy", they left it in English (in roman letters) and put an explanation after it.

    This Buzzfeed Japan article did the same, except "pussy" is transcribed into katakana as "プッシー." Interestingly the site's editor-in-chief made a tweet supplying a more direct translation: "ま○こ掴む," where the ○ stands for the ん of まんこ manko. It appears this was originally in the headline but subsequently removed, and now it doesn't appear in the article at all.

  20. Dave Empey said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 5:50 pm

    Jean-Michel, is that the equivalent of writing, say, c*nt ? (Or maybe, m*nko.)

  21. Reinhold {Rey} Aman said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 9:54 pm

    @ Keith:
    There is the euphemism "fesses de devant" for the vagina

  22. flimflam said,

    October 10, 2016 @ 11:43 pm

    “By the way, I don't think there is any obvious way to say "pussy" in Chinese.”

    鮑魚 or 荷包

  23. Simon P said,

    October 11, 2016 @ 1:01 am

    More linguisic sidenotes on names of body parts, this time from Swedish:

    1: In Swedish, there is certainly a waord for "lap", though it's the same as for "knee". But there's a difference between sitting IN someone's knee (in someone's lap) and sitting ON it.

    2: Interestingly, the Swedish animal synonym for the female genitalia isn't a cat, but a mouse.

  24. Simon P said,

    October 11, 2016 @ 1:06 am

    Also, both Mandarin and Cantonese have thoroughly vulgar words for the female genitalia, so I don't see why they couldn't be used (except for the fact that print media might be unwilling to write them, especially in the censorship-happy PRC)?

  25. Jerry Friedman said,

    October 11, 2016 @ 12:25 pm

    Terry Hunt: Fesse isn't slang, and you can find the etymology in the Larousse on line: "latin populaire fissa, du latin classique fissum, fente, de findere, fendre". So it comes from the Latin for "split" and is related to "fission" and "fissure", not to the heraldic "fess".

    As Winston Churchill is supposed to have said, looking back at his past in a speech in Paris—I confesse it may be apocryphal— "Quand je regarde mon derrière, je vois qu'il est divisé en deux parties."

  26. Terry Hunt said,

    October 21, 2016 @ 12:13 am

    Jerry Friedman: I didn't actually say that Fr. fesse is slang; nevertheless it has an extensive entry in the dictionary I mentioned, which is titled Harrap's Slang Dictionary: Anglais-Français/Français-Anglais. A French strapline on the front and back covers reads "L'argot et l'anglaise de tous les jours", but though "argot" is both familiar in English and better describes the content, which covers many idiomatic phrases in both languages, evidently the publisher preferred "slang" to "argot" or "idioms".

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