English Translation of Chinese Adages/中国谚语英译

一桶水摇不响,半桶水响叮当

A little knowledge (or learning) can be (or is) dangerous.(一知半解很危险。)
Still water runs deep.(静水深不可测。)
He who knows the most says the least.(懂得越多的人,反而说得越少。)

水落石出

All secrets may eventually come to light. (所有秘密最后总会曝光。)
Eventually, every secret will be disclosed.

这山望到那山高

The grass always looks greener on the other side.(另一边的草,看来总是绿些。)

烈火炼真金,患难见真情

Liquor brings out a person’s true color.(烈酒能显示一个人真正的特色)
Wine reveals a person’s true heart.
By a long road, we know a horse’s strength;at times of difficulty, we discover a friend’s true character. (相当于中文说的“路遥知马力”。)

雷声大,雨点小

Actions speak louder than words. (行动胜于言谈。)
All we hear is words, but there is no action. (只动嘴不动手。)
Actions and words should go hand in hand. (言行必须一致。)
An empty barrel makes biggest sound.(空洞的话说得太多了。)

人不可貌相,海水不可斗量

We can not judge a person by appearance only.
You can not judge a book by its cover. (一本书的好坏取决于它的内容,而不是它的封面装帧的漂亮与否。)

口蜜腹剑,笑里藏刀

With honey on one’s lip and murder in one’s heart.
honey-mouthed but dagger-hearted.
He is an evil man who has a mouth that praises and a hand that kills.

少壮不努力,老大徒伤悲

Studying / working hard can lead you to a brighter / more promising future. (努力用功会带给你光明的前程。)
Study hard when you are young. It will pay off when you get older. (年轻时好好努力,到老的时就会觉得学有所值。)

学如行舟,不进则退

Learning seems like rowing upstream(逆流); if one does not advance, one will fall back.
Learning is like rowing against the current(激流), if one does not advance, one will retreat.
If you don’t make progress, you will fall behind.

忠言逆耳,良药苦口

Truth is a hard pill to swallow. (良药苦口。)
Truth hurts.

近墨者黑,近朱者赤

One takes the behavior of one’s company. (一个人的行为,往往受到朋友的影响。)
One takes on the attributes of one’s associates. (attributes 复数時是指品质、特性;associates 指朋友、同事。)
Watch the company you keep!(小心交朋友!)
As he who lies with dogs will ride with fleas, how could you learn anything good by mixing with those people? (你跟那些人混在一起,能学出个好来?)