Translation Patterns Not Treated in Schools and by Dictionaries, Only Our Forum and Our Books Do.


It’s tough because we were not born and raised in the United States or the United Kingdom where English is the everyday medium of blabbering from childhood to adulthood and, yes, to expiration.

The problem, really, is, we are adapted to our own syntax, the Filipino way. Now if we try knitting a translation tending to fashion it from the syntax of the language to be translated, as from Filipino to English, the resulting translation would be awkward, funny, or even bizarre.



THIS ARTICLE IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE FIRST EDITION (the prototype) book entitled “How do you say it in English?, 2010 Edition, Enhanced” being published by National Book Store. The author is speaking herein.


Pinoy beginner style of translating

“Nagagandahan ako kay Mika.” In English, is it “I’m beautifuling of Mika”? No! You wouldn’t accept such a pointless translation. It’s absolutely out of
order. How about this, “Ikaw kasi”? Would it be, “You because”? Again, no. It’s senselessly awkward. And never attempt to say “Because of you” since it sounds quite deep, charged with heavily intense meaning, as in the song “Dahil sa iyo.” Now try this, “Kaysa mahirapan ka ng kaiisip kung paano ito i-inglesin, mabuti pang tumigil ka muna.”…………………………… All right, please fill up the space with your translation. What then? You’re at a loss!


By the way, I remember during a group conversation when a friend of mine threw us a Filipino specimen for translation. He asked, “How do you say ‘Pang-ilan si Colico sa magkakapatid?’ in English?” Nang pare-parehas kami mahirapan at sirit na, he tried out this translation as an option, sabi niya:


“Colico is the xth child. Can you find the x?”


Trouble is, he’s a lawyer. His translation is one by engineers! Okay, he’s just joking!

Pinoy Dilemma of speaking English

But just how do we convey these and other common Filipino expressions into English that could sound not just correct and accurate but may dating as well? This must be the language dilemma of many Filipinos who strive hard to justify the popular impression about us being the second largest English-speaking folks outside of the U.K.


Can we, indeed, speak English competently or, at least, satisfactorily? The truth is most of us cannot, only tolerably, perhaps. In fact, there are many professionals, from subordinates to executives, from engineers to lawyers, and from trainers to teachers, who can hardly knit straight English. You would hear some constrained speaker mutter blunt and clumsy English and then flinch. You would observe some mentor babble “ahm! ahm!” in his speaking attempt until you feel like rescuing him if only to complete the sentence. We go through the same upset when compelled by an occasion. And what? Chances are that we falter in our desperate word hunt. Or worse, we end up drowning in embarrassment for our reckless word catch.Or no catch at all.


Just how do we say it in English?


We gladly take the challenge. As we see, being able to deliver good English makes a good impression that we want. But how do we achieve the skill?

Dictionaries and grammar books not sufficient

Dictionaries, lexicons, and grammar books are not the total solution. Rather, there have to be some other instructional materials to complement them, to which job, this book volunteers to fill up. I should explain my side why I said that dictionaries, etc., are not enough; and that there has to be some other form of reference, based on two concerns: one, the matter of syntax; and two, the fact that we are Filipinos who speak the Filipino language on our own syntax.

The problem lies in the syntax

Syntax is the arrangement of words in a sentence showing their constructional relationship. Every language maintains its unique syntax distinct from the rest. French has its recognized syntax. Chinese has its own so has Japanese, English, Spanish, Filipino, etc. If we are to translate one language into another, say from Japanese to Spanish, we are not supposed to model the Spanish translation from the Japanese syntax and vice versa. If we do, we would lose, ending up in a messy translation, as those given in examples for Filipino to English at the first paragraph of this introduction. And a verbatim translation would definitely come up, which is not good, because then the syntax gets ruined.


Sorry to say, while there are grammar and syntax rules for every language, there are no hard and fast rules whatsoever for translating one language into another. There is not even a comprehensive guidebook for it discussing the pattern, except such few bits of advice and guide as fortunately discussed here. It is rigid to make an attempt. Why? Because every language has its independent and
unique syntax, as has been clarified. So what do we need?

So what do we need?

The answer is: for us to make out standard translations, we would first need to have a well-grounded study of the whole context of grammar, meaning, and usage of the two languages taken up for translation so we could find out how one should be said in the other. That is if we have the opportunity to do so. But since we may not have anymore the chance to do the study, some of them have to be done for us. Yet, while there may have been plenty of sources of such study, we don’t find time to make the actual translating. And so I would announce that it may be highly desired if a prepared and finished material about it would be offered to us. Here’s my book!

It requires mastery over phrasal patterns or collocations

Take note once more that for us to speak English straightly, it requires mastery over translated terms in phrases or combinations of words. Hence, the dictionary is not necessarily the word machine to help us achieve the skill even if the entire content of a bulky one is memorized because it is only the source of mostly base-form or core-word meanings.



Except for idiomatic expressions, the dictionary tells only the equivalent to single terms or multi-worded single terms, such as balat ─ skin (single term) and balat-sibuyasonion-skinned (multi-worded single term). Quite the opposite, it does not offer the reciprocal for terms or words assuming their actual meaning or sense only when taken in phrases and non-base forms, as those previously given at the start of this discussion. In fact, in the dictionary, we could look up the equation of ganda and maganda, that is, beauty and beautiful, respectively. Nowhere, however, does it point to us the match for nagagandahan. And even if we chance upon some such examples, certainly we would find no deliberate examples with emphases on such models of word construction.



Again and again [please pardon my emphasis], we can comb in the dictionary the meaning of single terms or composite-single terms such as bawang, langit, pag-ibig, palo, punta, kibit-balikat, taong-bahay, etc.; but we fail to find the equal for phrasal or non-base expressions such as magkaproblema and nagpakahirap sa pag … (any action word). Try again, if you want to.


Mahirap di ba?

The problem really is we are not native English speakers

Unless we speak in a choppy manner, then maybe we wouldn’t have this much trouble translating. But we talk about construction and arrangement of words called syntax!


It’s tough because we were not born and raised in the United States or the United Kingdom where English is the everyday medium of blabbering from childhood to adulthood and, yes, to expiration.


Americans find no trouble with it because when they speak, the mental process that takes place is: the idea first playing up in their mind; next, the idea spoke out by them in English to which they have been inured.


The problem, really, is, we are adapted to our own syntax, the Filipino way. Now if we try knitting a translation tending to fashion it from the syntax of the language to be translated, as from Filipino to English, the resulting translation would be awkward, funny, or even bizarre. In fact, we have the tendency to commit such a wrong method when we speak English because the first idea playing in our mind is the Filipino term or phrase. It instantly snaps on, right there suspended in our mind ahead of the English, of course. Next, the thing we do is to figure out this time for the English equivalent while the Filipino form still flashes on. That being the case, the Filipino syntax overwhelms, influences, and cheats the translator’s mind to think that it should be obeyed by the English construction, which should not be the case. Naturally then, the end-product we get is an out-of-tune, direct, or verbatim translation.

What reference do we need more?

So, certainly, we are aware that even if we have memorized every single term in the dictionary or lexicon and mastered the grammar rules, it is not an assurance that we will gain the ability to speak in straight English.



Along with the dictionary and grammar materials, we need another reference work to clinch what we have been discussing. My book wouldn’t serve as a replacement for those resources. It is but the humble supplement, relatively speaking for the Filipino reader. You see, even though those dictionary and grammar stuff are plentiful in libraries and bookstores, we can hardly find one that guides us to convert Filipino into English, or vice versa, in molded (assembled or shaped together) words or in phrases, with any emphasized discussion. My book does the job.

What’s the irony in our study and use of the English language?

What’s the use of having English as our well-loved language aside from Filipino if we do not use it effectively and well? Furthermore, what’s the justification for requiring it as the medium for vital transactions if only a few can understand and ably apply it? How will important transactions flow smoothly and efficiently?



Personally, I would rather English be made a regular medium of communication aside from Filipino. Or else, reject it altogether except for optional or very special reasons. That way, we would not commit blunders and go in circles when dealing with one another on many important transactions, interactions, and most activities.



In fact, most people would not bear the irony of the following things as I would ask: What’s the justification in the courtrooms for the practice of interpreting or of those interpreters when everybody there could understand Filipino? What’s the logic in schools for having to fine the students for not speaking English, when, growing up they were not exposed to the language as a matter of household or everyday medium? When, in truth, the very few who finally have achieved fluency in it become so only after they have matured enough, having acquired relatively sufficient education. Also, our instructional sources of English are usually books that are too formal or fundamental, lacking the essential features as the excellent reference for articulating straight English. Another thing, there has been no declaration, not even an initiative to make English speaking as our everyday tongue. Executive Order 210 merely declares it to be the official medium of instruction.



Indeed, if we insist on the English language being that highly required, couldn’t we as well suggest it be made the universal language for communication from childhood onwards and for an everyday official transaction? If not, let’s throw it away [except in certain cases].

Why this book ‘How do you say it in English?’

This endeavor of mine grew out of my persistent effort to offer a modest contribution for filling up such language shortage I’ve been observing around, of which I was once both culprit and victim. Also, this is partly to make up for my failure on the same subject matter sometime in the past.


Moreover, I am held in concern for the academe who might find it tiresome to be “Englishing.” Students would tremble and shrink when asked to recite. They might know the answer to the question asked by the professor but the trouble is they cannot express their answer in valid English or even forgivable English, not to mention the downright faultless. Hence, they would just withdraw in their seats, fearing they might get into trouble for their Carabao English or English Barok, if further urged to recite.


With this unrelieved burden during college days, one classmate was heard to groan, “Mas mabuti pang pumutak ang kalabaw ‘wag lang mag-English.”

Continuation and more articles are coming up.


Phrasal patterns, not one-word to one-word; diyan nagkakatalo sa pag-translate




Away from the basics. Translating Filipino Expressions in Non-basic Forms.

Take note that in this book “basic way” is distinguished from “molding approach.” The former, as discussed, is a method of learning English relating to translation that is ordinary or typical. We observe it usually done by lay or amateur Filipino learners or users.





(The article below is an excerpt from the first (the prototype) book entitled “How do you say it in English?, 2010 Edition, Enhanced” being published by National Book Store.)



Base form (old style/school style) English learning

Take note that in this book “basic way” is distinguished from “molding approach.” The former, as discussed, is a method of learning English relating to translation that is ordinary or typical. We observe it usually done by lay or amateur Filipino learners or users. Now finding the reference for our translating attempt, we realize that the dictionary can offer equivalents only in basic forms or base forms, such as the following:


ganda                     beauty (basic form/base form)

maganda               beautiful (basic form)

but none for nagagandahan (non-basic)

hirap                       difficulty (basic)

mahirap                 difficult (basic)

but none for magpakahirap (non-basic)

lunok                       swallow (basic)

lumunok                 swallowed (basic)

but none for nakalunok (non-basic)


It is only at the above base forms that, sa totoo lang, most of us are very good. It is where we regularly focus our familiarizing and memorizing efforts. We would teach our little brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, children, and grandchildren many of these basics. As for ourselves, we are likewise used to learning and gathering word-meanings in this way. But do we ever teach them the non-basics? Do we ever study such? Again, sa totoo lang, never or hardly!


Unfortunately, the non-basic approach is not taught in school. This deficiency and those discussed in the previous chapters are the cause for our hesitation to articulate effectively in English.

Troublesome building blocks in translating

The following are the familiar troublesome building blocks in translating. They are Filipino syllables, mostly prefixes, modifying the base-words to cause the problem in translating:


ika/sa ika [ikahiya, ikainis, sa ikakagalit]

ina [inasawa, inalipin]

naka/nakapag [nakapanood, nakapag-almusal]

ikina [ikinaiba, ikinagalit]

-an [taasan, lakihan]

nakaka [nakakaputi, nakakalito]

magpaka [magpakahirap, magpakamartir]

naa/nai [naaarok, naiintindihan]

na … an [naubusan, naputukan]

pinapag [pinapag-alala]

pina [pinadala, pinakuha]

ipa [ipakuha, ipadala]

paa … in [aanurin]

ipag [ipag-alala, ipagkibit-balikat]

nagdu … na [nagdududa na, nagkakagusto na, sumasakit na]

makapagpa [makapagpasaya]

(anuhan) [pahingahan]

na, nasa, -an [nanganganib, nasa panganib, ginaganahan]


Again, the above modifying prefixes and suffixes are among the ones being called non-basics in this guide-book concerning translation. Actually, our way of studying English is very plain, being concentrated on the fundamentals. We do not complete the process that should be keyed to our local setting─we, not being used to English as a daily tongue.

Why not teach English in these patterns?

It is typical when we hear a child or an adult being asked during a learning period—


How do you say mataba in English?

What is suntok in English?

What is lulon in English?

What is kagat in English?


And these are very easy, of course. Would they not prove best if we vary our approach? I think they would even be more improved if we would also have them this way:


How do you say magpakataba in English?

What is nagkasuntukan in English?

What is nakalulon in English?

How do you say ipakagat in English?

Molders in translation introduced by our books

I believe you would agree that it is in the study of the above-introduced typecasts of words in syllabic modifiers (B) that we fail to focus, be skillful, if not unfailingly knowledgeable. Anyway, we always have the opportunity to reorient our system.


Now to make translations with the above castings (B) and some more, here are their counterpart English molders where other similar translations revolve:


to [ika, sa ika]

(take) to [ika, sa ika]

(prove) to [ika, sa ika]

(be) to [ika, sa ika]

took for [ina]

take against [ika]

get to (1st form)* [naka]

have had [nakapag]

set [ika/ikina]

set [-an]

make/made [ika/ikina]

-ing [nakaka]

go [magpaka]

get into [magpaka]

get to (3rd form)* [naa]

preposition-ending sentences [na … an]

have/had [papag/pinapag]

have [pa, pina, ipa]

get to (4th form)* [paa, paa … in]

let [ipag]

let … make [ipag]

begin to [nagdu, nagka]

bring [makapagpa]

give [anuhan]

in [na, nasa, -an]



(More explanations for these are coming up in this blog/forum. But for your full-length learning, order your copy of “How do you say it in English?” first edition.)

Continuation and more articles are coming up.


One Best Learning Strategy: Steeping in the Virtual Environment of the Native Speakers of a Certain Language


Steeping oneself in a virtual environment of the native English speakers thru this blogging forum (and the books associated with it) as an alternative. LEARNING A LANGUAGE IS BEST IF YOU ARE IN THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE NATIVE SPEAKERS OF THAT LANGUAGE.

“A, ‘yan lang pala ‘yan!” “Hmm, bakit mukhang high words!” You could exclaim thus when you find out that the much-needed translations are provided presently in much different pattern and way so far from what you thought. Sometimes you think certain words are “high words,” but actually they are not! It’s just that you were not used to them or you were not taught since you were a kid that they should be conveyed this book’s way. Now, do read a rich supply of typical native English renditions in this book series. You don’t need to go to the United States and the United Kingdom in order to steep yourself in the standard native English tongue.





We have no need for allocating a special page or title for this topic in this forum. This forum itself and the books — the entire contents herein and therein — will serve as our virtual environment.



This site is newly constructed. More articles are coming up.


Oppressors are illogical thinkers

Part 2

I Thought I am a Hero (Akala ko ako’y Bayani)

There are situations in which you in all conscience feel you have done good things, have made no wrong, have rendered other people’s lives to their advantage, and have carried other people’s loads so that they would not groan in pain; and so you feel you will be rewarded for having been a great fellow that you have been. Hence you rest yourself assured believing that all things will go well and fine with you and those around you. But all along, here comes a blow: some kreptoid-sounding individual comes around hitting you with allegations that you have been undesirably skulking your existence on the soil of this planet. And he would accuse you of this and that or would spread words that you are good for nothing, a non-sense, a these and those, a what and a what-not. You are astonished then! How come? Oh indeed, wherever we are, whatever we do, there really exist people around us who would bring nasty pieces. They give us headache no matter how much effort we put up to free up our spaces of troubles. Many people, some ignorant, some narrow minded, some shallow thinking, some insecure, some haphazard, some racist, and some freethinker would not want our deeds and in the extreme case even our existence because they think we are a detriment to them. They will give us problems. They will not come to appreciate heroism that we have done for them. All we can moan about when they start to strike at us is, “Oh I think I am a hero!” Be that as it may, we got no choice but to offset their rounds of assault; if not to neutralize things, at least to fortify our defence so we would not lose our footing. But, in an unavoidable or extreme case, maybe TO FRUSTRATE THEM!




May mga sitwasyon na ikaw sa anumang pakiwari ay nakakaramdam na ikaw ay nakagawa ng mabubuting bagay, di nakagawa ng masama, nailagay sa bentaha ang buhay ng iba, at pinasan ang pamatok ng ibang tao para sila’y huwag dumaing; kaya ramdam mo na ikaw ay gagantimpalaan sa pagiging isang mabuting kapwa. Kaya kampante ka na ang lahat ay mainam sa iyo at sa mga nakapaligid sa iyo. Subalit kamukat sandali’y hayan mayroong hambalos na dumating; isang tunog-kakatwang nilalang ang dumating, hinahampas ka ng paratang na sumusulpot ka raw dito sa lupa bilang hindi kanais-nais. Aakusahan ka niya ng kung anu-ano o magpapakalat ng mga balitang wala ka raw kwenta, walang katuturan, isang ganito-ganiyan, at isang kung ano lang o kung anong hindi naman. Mabibigla ka ngayon. Paanong nangyari at paanong nagkaganoon? Naman, kahit saan man tayo, anuman ang ating ginagawa, may mga taong nabubuhay talaga sa ating paligid para magdulot sa ating ng ikasasama. Pinasasakit nila ang ating ulo gaano man ang ating pagsisikap na alisin ang puwang ng ligalig. Maraming tao, ang ilan ay kulang sa nalalaman, ang iba’y makitid ang pag-iisisp, ang iba’y mabababaw, ang iba’y naiinggit dahil sa kakulangan ng tiwala sa sarili, ang iba’y padalu-dalos, ang iba’y rasista, ang iba’y ang gusto lang ay puro kalayaan na kung saan ayaw nila sa ating ginagawa o mismong sa ating pag-iral dito sa mundo dahil abala tayo sa kanila. Magdudulot sila sa ating ng suliranin. Hindi nila magawang magustuhan at hangaan ang kabayanihang ginawa natin sa kanila. Kaya ang maidadaing lang natin kapag sila’y humambalos na ay, “A, akala ko ako ay isang bayani!” Ganunpaman, wala tayong magagawa kundi tapatan ang kanilang hambalos; kung di man ma-nyutral, e, mapalakas man lamang ang ating depensa para di tayo mabagsak. Ngunit sa pinakamabigat na sitwasyon, e, siguro’y para MASANSALA NATIN SILA!














Continue reading “Oppressors are illogical thinkers”

If every other method else fails, do the translation by logic and context.

TRANSLATING BY CONTEXT WITH LOGIC: What will keep you toward the right and straight track of translation speaking is with achieving the appropriate pattern by a) considering context as a milestone and b) applying logic as an evaluator




Some readers of the first edition asked questions, justified by the author using logic and context



There are discussions sprinkled somewhere inside the contents of all my book series including this one that serve as points/pointers to justify the process I involved in coming up with my recommended translations as well as the formats for such, specifically referred as Paradigm. The pointers are important because since the nature of the book is that of a treatise, it is given that I should place myself in the stance as if I were defending my treatise to the panel of examiners who, in this case, are the readers and my publishers. (For the young readers, treatise is a written study of a particular subject, dealt with systematically and thoroughly, and usually where the author faces a panel of examiners to whom he should defend his work embodied in his study.) So, I should do my defending thru these pointers. In fact, I have already done my defense with my previous publishers, co-publishers, and the present publisher before they approved my proposal to get the book published. In light of this, there were some questions and reactions posed by the readers few years after the first edition was circulated, demanding my explanations and justifications which I felt necessary that I should address thru “pointers” section. Out of these questions and reactions by the readers, I picked out a few representing the most generic and important ones needed to be addressed by me, to wit below:

READER’S REACTION: Shouldn’t it be “door” instead of “gate”?



“Mangyaring huwag kang tumayo sa harap ng pintuan dahil kapag binuksan ko ito mahaharangan mo ito.

“Please don’t stand at the gate because if I open it you would block it.”

READER’S REACTION: Shouldn’t it be other translation for “nahirapan” than “had a hard time”?



Nahirapan akong magsaayos ng mga bulaklak.”

“I had a hard time arranging the flowers.”


READER’S REACTION: Should it really be “all the time”? Why not “most of the time” or “in some time” instead of “all the time” because “all the time” is impracticable or impossible?


Though we love the English language, studying it and being taught about it all the time.”


READER’S REACTION: Isn’t the word “corrupt” a legal and highly formal expression like those used in politics?



“Kapag hindi I-save ang file, maaari itong masira.”

“Leaving the file unsaved may corrupt it.”


READER’S REACTION: Should it actually be “make enemy”? Or “make trouble” instead?


  1. “Huwag kang makipag-away kaninuman.
  2. Don’t make enemy with anyone.”





To answer the above reactions, firstly, let the readers realize that the translations in the book series as well the process involved are guided by the following principles:


  1. Common understanding proves that there are words, phrases or sentences of any language that cannot be translated directly BUT CONTEXTUALLY. Direct translation is most of the time, but not all the time, discouraged being one that totally or almost equates or parallels words to words equivalence. Let’s take this English to Filipino example: “I had a hard time arranging the flowers. — Nagkaroon ako ng mahirap na oras na magsaayos ng mga bulaklak.” This direct translation in Filipino is wrong as to translation form only, but, or although, grammatically correct. It is wrong, only in the sense that we don’t typically construct such format in Filipino as the direct translation for that given English specimen. Rather, the typical format is Nahirapan ako na magsaayos ng mga bulaklak. Take note that in every language, there is that typical/customary/standard format. It means that if you will not follow the typical and you will rather just say your expression in any way or pattern you wish, of course, though you may still sound grammatically correct, nonetheless, the consequence would be that you would sound awkward because that is not the way most people say it. And, in some cases, you will not be understood immediately. So, it is always best to follow the typical pattern because that is the consensus long before you were born in your community! On the other hand, translating by context is one where those words that precede, follow, and affect the senses in which one another are used are taken into account in order to assume the real meaning for the purpose of translation. The circumstance that affects them is also taken into consideration. So, context simply means the setting, situation, circumstance, environment, and perspective under which a certain subject matter or issue is affected, concerned, or involved. Now let’s go back to the example: “I had a hard time arranging the flowers. — Nahirapan ako na magsaayos ng mga bulaklak.” Okay, this is the correct typical one in Filipino. But in this Filipino sentence, we cannot find any presence of the direct equivalent or corresponding item of “time” which would be “oras”. Conversely in English, the only typical equivalent is “had a hard time” for “nahirapan.” (Had a struggle is the second typical, though.) What could we do? We just have to obey the typical format. At any rate, in the context of these specimen and translation being treated, definitely, a time element is involved which make us understand that there certainly is an allusion of a situation—a circumstance or time frame when the speaker had a struggle doing something. Hence, a time element!
  2. We have this so-called “slanting.” In page 150 of the first edition, slanting is defined by Genevieve B. Birk and Newman O. Birk as the process of selecting knowledge (facts and ideas), words, and emphasis to achieve the intention of the communicator. [I suspend this discussion until the reader turns to the number 5 discussion herein.]
  3. My book is not a rule book but a guidebook. We cannot, so far, avail of any hard and fast rules when it comes to translating because many words have to be understood in their contexts in order to be translated fully well. We have no rule but an only guide. So my book does merely guide you to translating by context as well as by slanting.
  4. Also, using of words go through abstraction. Abstraction is the formation of an idea apart from concrete things, situations, etc. It is a plucking out, a taking away, a taking out, or a summary.In the sentence “Huwag kang makipag-away kaninuman,” makipag–away is abstracted into two slants or emphases which are the general thoughts where this word falls into:


The causing of a relationship (enemy)

The causing of an incident (trouble).

Relationship: enemy

Incident: trouble.


Both are the gist or senses into which the word makipag-away falls.


If you are the communicator and your slanting or emphasis is the relationship or the causing of the relationship, then the appropriate translation should be Don’t make an enemy with anyone. On the other hand, if your slanting or emphasis is the incident or the causing of the incident, then the appropriate translation should be Don’t make trouble with anyone. If makikipag-away ka with someone, naturally you will make him your enemy or that your intention is to make him an enemy. So that, the translation Don’t make enemy is appropriate as to the first slanting, sense, gist, or emphasis. Just like this another example of one with different slantings: Makipagkaibigan ka sa akin—popularly translated as Make friend with me. This is its first possible slanting or emphasis, being the relationship to be caused, that is, a slant that depicts the sentiment or emotion. But if the intended slant is the process, then the translation would be Make accord with me. Hence, users can vary with other sample translations depending on the slanting in the context. In like manner, we have these expressions, make peace, make war (wage war), etc. which we may figure out according to different slants for the purpose of translation.


Slanting, gist, sense, abstraction, or emphasis can be interchangeably used to refer to the thought assumed or intended by the communicator in an expression or word. My book series do not delve further on all the different slants or emphases of every specimens or sample terms treated therein because if I translated every example in their diverse slants, then the book would have become very thick and very heavy. So, I deemed it wise that it is enough that I discussed slanting and provided some relevant illustrations. The reader will then just apply the knowledge gained from the guide I have provided.


Now let’s answer the reactions as to the five specimens put in question. Read below:




1. Shouldn’t it be “door” instead of “gate”?


Pintuan (door) is generic, or in logic it falls under a “genus” (plural genera or genuses). Genus, in logic, means a class of objects divided into several subordinate species.


Gate (tarangkahan) is a “species”. Species in logic means a logical division of a genus; a kind or sort; ranking immediately below the genus (genus, being a more comprehensive class).


Being species, gate/tarangkahan can likewise be pintuan/door which is the generic term, precisely because gate/tarangkahan is a type or variety of the generic door. Gate (tarangkahan) is a wooden or metal barrier on hinges or pivots, capable of being opened and shut, and filling the opening in a wall or fence (Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary). In most common usage, it is referred to that structure built upon an entrance outside the main wall or building, such as a fence. However, it can also be used to that in the main wall/building especially if the wall/building is a larger one. Another Filipino term pinto is applied usually to that smaller variety located in or within the main structure. In all cases, all of them are pintuan, the generic term. 


Logically, it is all right to apply the genus to mean the species because genus covers the species anyway. On the other hand, it is not okay to use the species as the meaning of the genus because the species does not necessarily include or cover the genus or all those varieties of the genus.


But here, I am not in the process of defining rather of translating. Supposed I am in the process of defining and I define pintuan in English as gate, then I am wrong; wrong because not all pintuan(s) are gates. Supposed again I am in the process of defining and I define gate in Filipino as pintuan, then I am correct; correct because all gates are pintuan(s).


But, again, I am not in the process of defining; rather, I am in the process of translating. In translation, the communicator may have a slanting at the time he was speaking and translating. It could be that when he was saying “Mangyaring huwag kang tumayo sa harap ng pintuan dahil kapag binuksan ko ito mahaharangan mo ito”, he was referring to a gate which was a pintuan in its generic form.


Hence, if the communicator would use pintuan for gate, it is absolutely alright because the species gate is a pintuan or a type/variety of the generic pintuan.


Such a slight not-so-exact equation between pintuan and gate in that translation template of mine in my first edition is understandable. It is not awkward, after all. Perhaps, one wrong way of species-genus (vice versa) translating is if it would look so awkward like this:


(Supposed the communicator is referring to a bicycle) “Sumakay ka sa bagay na iyan.” — “Ride on that bicycle.”


(As you know all “bicycles” [species] are “bagay” [genus].) The translation template just above is very awkward because though it may be argued that anyway the species bicycle is a kind of the genus bagay, yet such subdividing reference by the communicator of his subject genus into his intended species is VERY REMOTE. Unlike in gate/pintuan, the subdividing reference is very near, hence not awkward. (Genus can be subdivided into different species or subspecies from the nearest to the farthest.)


Now the opposer of my explanation may argue to say, “Hey Mr. Author, the premise starts from your Filipino specimen that came first ahead of your English translation. In that part of your translation template, you started from the genus pintuan. So it should not be translated into English in its species form.”


Okay, perhaps my little negligence is the fact that I did not fully provide a hint that the imaginary communicator in that particular Filipino to English template is slanting or referring to a gate. Forgive me for too much editing with the intention to narrow down my book. You see, I hate bulky books of which I am the writer. But then again, my idea was that the imaginary communicator in that template is slanting on the gate. Let’s suppose he was thinking about a gate and then all the while he said, “Mangyaring huwag kang tumayo sa harap ng pintuan dahil kapag binuksan ko ito mahaharangan mo ito. — Please don’t stand at the gate because if I open it you would block it.”


That’s it. It’s just an issue of slanting of which I failed to provide plentiful introductory illustrations to indicate that the communicator has in mind the gate firstly. Sa slanting lang nagkatalo. Okay, PEACE!


After all, the focus of my translating paradigm is NOT on the noun-to-noun single-word-to-single-word patterns BUT on the phrasal collocation patterns. I am interested in the patterns, not on the genus/species thing.


I ask a consideration from the readers to understand this book for the slight variance on those species/genus concerns of the one-word noun forms as that one put in issue. And understand that, again, I am not inclined to the treatment of one-word noun to one-word noun translations, such for example as karahasan to violence, gusali to building, baboy to pig etc. They are dictionary formats. Bahala na ang dictionary sa kanila! Rather, my book is inclined to the phrasal patterns or those that involve combinations of words for the purpose of finding a translation.


Moreover, I was in the state of doing Couplets Translation of both Functional Equivalence Translation and Descriptive Self-explanatory Translation!


For your added knowledge, please purchase a copy of the second edition as soon as it comes out on the market. Therein you will learn the different methods of translation.


The method I employed in translating the template “Mangyaring huwag kang tumayo sa harap ng pintuan dahil kapag binuksan ko ito mahaharangan mo ito. — Please don’t stand at the gate because if I open it you would block it.” is Couplet. I joined Descriptive Method and Functional Equivalence Method. As explained, Descriptive Method uses a generic term to convey the message. Since I am following the functional equivalence, I was concerned with the thought (slanting) of the imaginary communicator of that template. Being tagged along the functional equivalence method which is a “thought translation,” it allowed me as the translator to determine what I thought the imaginary communicator of the source language should say. The only problem that my reader may consider is because, in that template, the Filipino is placed ahead followed by the English equivalent. I ask the reader to please not be strictly concerned on the sequential format of the Filipino first then English next; because after all, that is a translation template. Once a translation template, we can therefore anytime logically take it the other way around (ang baligtad). That would be this way, “Please don’t stand at the gate because if I open it you would block it. —Mangyaring huwag kang tumayo sa harap ng pintuan dahil kapag binuksan ko ito mahaharangan mo ito.” Being tagged along a context-oriented translation, my thought was not perfectly concerned on the word-for-word translation of pintuan/gate because my primary paradigm of concentration is not on the one-word noun to one-word- noun translation rather on the phrasal pattern. And that phrasal pattern I am concerned is, in the case of that template in question, none other than the phrase sa harap ng pintuan which I perfectly translated NOT at the gate BUT against the gate. So again, contextually speaking, my focus is the translation for sa harap ng which is against and not on the problem of the translation for the  gate which is pintuan, or vice versa.


 houldn’t it be “door” instead of “gate”?


A gate is precisely a door. Only, it has an extended definition or application, being emphatically referred to that of a fence. But gate can be used either to that in a fence or that not in a fence which is obviously a wall. Since not all walls are made of fences, hence, again, gate can be applied to that of a wall which is not a fence.


The user will decide to use gate instead of door if he would like the listener to have a clear reference to what he specifically means, that is, the structure of entrance in a fence or in a wall. Nevertheless, if he would not emphasize and simply use the regular word door, it is okay anyway.

2. Shouldn’t it be other translation for “nahirapan” than “had a hard time”?

There are terms especially phrasal ones that do not or hardly have direct, verbatim or ready language to language equivalents or conversions available in dictionaries. To be able to obtain equivalents, one just has to search out or make out logical translations taking into consideration the context of the language specimens in question.


But the readers may not have to trouble themselves. Already I did the job of making out or researching for them the, at least, nearest equivalents. The translations I furnished are so far the only ones available in the actual usage. And, generally, there are no other nearest ways the translations are to be expressed in any given setting as equivalents of particular specimens in question treated in this book series.


So, for I had a hard time, there is, so far, no any other nearest logical Filipino equivalent except nahirapan ako, and vice versa, in actual usage. (I found it hard and I had a struggle—other nearer specimens.)


3. Should it really be “all the time”? Why not “most of the time” or “in some time” instead of “all the time” because “all the time” is impracticable or impossible?



“All the time” doesn’t mean we study or teach English without or almost no rest (obviously, the one who reacted is self-misled because of the word “all”). “All the time” simply means that our opportunity to do a certain act is not limited or restricted by and large. Just unlike: a) celebrating New Year which is limitedly done on January 1 or in February by the Chinese b) having breakfast which is limitedly done during breakfast time in the morning c) attending church service which is limitedly done during Sundays or other congregational church service days. All the time is rhetorically used to emphasize opportunity to do a certain thing that is applicable to many and most applicable occasions (unless limited by some physical or ethical constraints). (Rhetoric is a use of language done with art in order to persuade.) By applicable opportunity, we mean that we study or teach English on breakfast time, on holidays, on all days of the week, before bedtime, in schools, in homes, at playtime, during conversations, etc., meaning, all the time (all kinds of opportunity and not generally limited). Unless doing so is unreasonable enough. Hence, all the time pertains to all the kinds of opportunity; time does not literally pertain to every tick of the seconds of the clock, but to the chance. Meaning, in all those chances, we are allowed or have the freedom to do such act, and in effect, we simply do make use or grab that freedom.



All the time, in unabridged dictionaries, means very often or frequently.


4. Isn’t the word “corrupt” a legal and highly formal expression like those used in politics?

Language changes and evolves with time. Back when computers are not yet prevalently used in the neighborhood, all that we know is that corrupt is used only as a legal or ethical term, denoting formality in usage. But in today’s computer era, computer users found that the word is suited to mean damage for a computer file.


The one who made the reaction and politely questioned me as to its propriety of use in my book was the chief editor of How do you say it in English? (first edition)—Mr. Rafael Banzuela. He was a sharp 70+ years old retired DepEd Supervisor despite his age. But he has never used and never been exposed to a computer his entire life. So there was no wonder why he reacted. Having finally learned about and been explained on such use of corrupt in computer jargon, he then conformed and stood corrected.


5. Should it actually be ‘make enemy’? Or ‘make trouble’ instead?

This reaction came from a member of the panel of my publishers.


To answer, let it always be stressed that words/terms are usually used in different senses or slanting. Slanting, according to Genevieve B. Birk and Newman P. Birk (page 150 of the first edition) means the process of selecting knowledge (facts and ideas), words and emphasis to achieve the intention of the communicator.


Now, before we go on to makipag-away, please take note first of this related specimen that can be translated according to different senses (slanting):

Palusugin mo ang kaniyang isip.


The sentence can be translated in line with two different renderings. One is in the sense of the process; and the other is in the sense of the effect. Firstly, in the sense or slanting of the process to be done by the actor or doer, it would be—


Nourish his mind. (nourish is the process)


But, secondly, in the sense of the effect, it would be—


Make his mind healthy. (healthy is the effect)


Now back to the sentence “Huwag kang makipag-away kaninuman”: makipag-away is abstracted into two slants or emphases being the general thoughts where the word falls into:

  1. the causing of a relationship (enemy)
  2. the causing of an incident (trouble) 


Both are the gist or senses into which the word makipag-away falls. We simply have to abstract or mentally detach every sense involved in this Filipino specimen in question.


If you are the communicator and your slanting or emphasis is the relationship or the causing of the relationship, then the appropriate translation should be don’t make an enemy with anyone.


But if your slanting or emphasis is the incident or the causing of the incident, then the appropriate translation should be don’t make trouble with anyone.


Both translations are correct, only, made out according to different senses or slants.


If makikipag-away ka with someone, naturally you will make him your enemy or that your intention is to make him an enemy. (Pero sa aktwal na buhay, ‘wag kang makikipag-away!) Therefore, the translation don’t make an enemy is definitely appropriate in reference to ONE PARTICULAR slanting, sense, gist or emphasis. And that slanting is in the sense of a relationship caused. Just like the sentence makipagkaibigan ka sa akin is popularly translated as make friend with me, in the same way, the term make him your enemy may be equated with gawin mo siyang kaaway or makipag-away ka sa kaniya. Conversely then, makipag-away means make an enemy (just one format of translation, among other variations).


Relatedly, we have these expressions make peace and make war (wage war).






In my book series, let me NOT provide all the possible translations according to different senses for every specimen treated therein. Masyadong matrabaho! I simply provided the guide. There is no need to provide the entire treatments, since anyway, I’m confident that it is sufficient that once the reader-learner understands the patterns, he can then make out his own other appropriate translations depending on the slanting, emphases, gist, and abstractions involved in his translating tasks.


So now I believe it is clear to every reader-learner of this book that some translations here that seem surprising at first for being seemingly inconsistent with their Filipino specimens are now finally justified.


Translation is only of two modes: direct and contextual. In case the direct method fails, the contextual way comes to the rescue. Strictly, however, translating this second way should be by the guidance provided in these discussions. To emphasize again, here are the classic examples of contextual translations in this book:


PAGE 42-43, USE OF “INTO”  — Intensely interested in or attached to (Wiktionary)


Kung pag-uusapan ay paboritong dramaserye, Aldub na Aldub ako. — Speaking of a favorite dramaserye, I’m into Aldub.


Kantang-kanta na ako. Patugtugin mo na ang videoke ngayon. — I’m into singing already. Play the videoke now.


Patay na patay ako sa iyo. —  I’m so into you.



Words are pieces of logic. We formulate logic by words surrounding others words, that is, by context.


Questions/reactions on my book or book series like these are expected. Such reactions would hang around only when the reader simply makes a browsing of the book and not go over it altogether. But as soon as he reads fully, he finds out the answer to such questions or reactions. So my request is for the reader to read my work entirely and he will realize the following gauge and standard in the appropriateness of the translation paradigm:


  1. Appropriateness of the translation is gauged by the way how the Americans or native English speakers say the expressions/words in question. It is the topmost measure of appropriateness.
  2. Appropriateness by direct translation is seldom likely, but sometimes tolerable only when sensible.
  3. Appropriateness can be availed of in most cases by a contextual approach where direct translation is awkward and wouldn’t hold up, and especially in some cases where there is no equivalent found in the native English speakers’ tongue. It is the safest method of appropriate translation where the first (letter a) is not available and the second (letter b) is not practical.

Translation, being the use of words and ideas, is a logical process. There is no one-way, stick-to-one, and hard and fast standard except that it has to be done logically.




This site is still under construction. More contents are coming up.


Justifying the translation paradigm that we came up with

Explanations common to all topics treated in this forum and our books: This discussion assumes what the readers might ask as this book’s justification for the paradigm of translations being applied.

Since there are no rules, specially hard and fast rules in translating, at least there have to be some guiding principles for it. (Rules are imposed by certain authorities while principles are adopted by common wisdom. No institution or authority ever exists to declare rules in translating.) Thus, our common wisdom and common sense would and should realize why certain patterns of translating dealt in this book series, which you would find surprising at first, go the way they go. You should understand these explanations so you would not be wondering why.




This page will allot many justifications for the translation paradigm treated in this forum and the book. It will be open for discussion with the readers for their comments and suggestions. This site is still under construction. More contents are coming up. We will fill up this portion with articles specially as soon as we receive reactions or suggestions and recommendations from you.