An Act respecting Chinese Immigration

by setohj

The Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 is actually the short title of the act passed in Canada’s Parliament, namely “An Act respecting Chinese Immigration.” A couple of years ago, the BC Liberal government translated this long title of the act in a Chinese version of one of their publications “Legislation Affecting British Columbians of Chinese Descent” (“影响卑诗省华人后裔的法例”) on page 2. The Chinese version of this government publication translates the official long title“An Act respecting Chinese Immigration” as “尊重华人移民法案”. There, the word “respecting” is translated as “尊重” (in Mandarin Chinese: zun zhong). The Chinese phrase 尊重 means to respect a person as in having esteem for someone by another. In contrast, the English word “respecting” used in the naming of this piece of legislation means “with regard to” or “with reference to.” It is used in a somewhat archaic sense we seldom see in modern life. A more accurate Chinese translation would have been 对于 (dui yu) instead of尊重. Another possible translation is 关于 (guan yu) to give the sense of “with regard to,” or “regarding.”

Note that the BC government choose to have the Chinese version of this pamphlet printed in simplified Chinese characters which are in use in mainland China. The history covered in this publication is that of a people who use traditional characters which are still in use in Taiwan and Hong Kong. I wonder whether this oversight is deliberate or as a result of ignorance on the part of the BC government.

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