Translation problem of the English word "context".

Recently, when doing translations, I encountered the word "context" again. The meaning of this word is very simple and intuitive, but when translating, it requires some consideration as to which corresponding Chinese word to choose.

According to the definition in the Cambridge Dictionary, "context" means:

the situation within which something exists or happens, and that can help explain it

In other words, it refers to the circumstances or environment in which something exists or happens, and can provide an explanation for it.

If we are discussing text, we usually translate it as "上下文" (shàngxiàwén) or "语境" (yǔjìng).

For other situations, using "上下文" or "语境" feels awkward, such as when discussing speech or image analysis, where we refer to the context around a specific audio clip or image block.


The part outside the blue box in the image can be considered as the context of the blue box.

We could also use "背景" (bèijǐng), "情境" (qíngjìng), or "环境" (huánjìng), but this may easily cause confusion with other English words such as "background," "situation," or "environment." Additionally, the implied association of context does not seem to be reflected.

Previously, when translating an article related to image processing, I coined the term "形境" (xíngjìng) because the context here refers to the other parts surrounding a specific region in an image.

Similarly, in the field of speech, "声境" (shēngjìng) could be used to translate context. Furthermore, we could create words such as "画境" (huàjìng) for the context of painting, "事境" (shìjìng) for the context of events, and "人境" (rénjìng) for the context of characters.

In summary, if we need a word to represent the context in various situations, such as in "in-context learning," considering that context is an environment that contains surrounding information, we could consider using the word "信息境" (xìnxījìng), meaning "informational context." Additionally, "境况" (jìngkuàng), meaning the condition of the environment, also seems to be a good choice.

Ownership of this post data is guaranteed by blockchain and smart contracts to the creator alone.