“撒娇”(sājiāo)，动词，以幼稚的方式行事 ,像个被宠坏的孩子, 撅嘴(来自词库)。这个词的直接定义对非中国人来说并不难理解，但这个词难以捉摸的本质源于非英语国家的人无法理解为什么中国男人喜欢他们的女朋友这样做。
CC Huang, HSK 6 Certified
Answered Jul 22, 2013
撒娇 (sājiāo) verb act in a childish way, act like a spoiled child, pout (from nciku).
The direct definition of this word is not too difficult for non-Chinese to understand, but the elusive nature of the term stems from non-native speakers being unable to understand why Chinese guys enjoy it when their girlfriends do it.
I think the cultural difference is partly rooted in the fact that, in the West, the typical desirable female is often depicated to be mature, sexy, and refined. In China, many straight men are attracted to women who are more innocent and childlike.
In some respects, I totally agree with Brendan O'Kane's answer here about how human experience can be similar despite dissimilarities in language, but I think 撒娇 is quite indicative of how significant differences in cultural preferences or trends can shape important parts of human experience (such as romance) or lead to cultural misunderstandings (have been with many a Western friend who is appalled at public displays of 撒娇 and subsequent comments like "Why is she acting like a 5-year old?").
Edit: A friend requested additional explanation of my point and I don't think I intended for this to be such an analytical post, but I thought of some additional points during my run.
When I say that 撒娇 is indicative of cultural differences, I more precisely mean that something that is considered positive or attractive in one culture might be completely off-putting in another. My favorite Chinese teacher once told me a story of Confucius and his students having a discussion. Confucius poses a difficult, incisive question. The first student to raise his hand and answer the question is considered over-eager and a bit of an idiot, and of course his answer is also mediocre and not to the point. The second student to volunteer his thoughts is also branded intellectually insufficient. This continues until only one student has not spoken. This student speaks softly, slowly, but deliberately and provides a completely illuminating response to Confucius' question.
What I think this story shows is similar to why 撒娇 is such an interesting phenomenon - Chinese culture has always placed an emphasis on patience and humility, whereas this is not always the case in Western culture - in many stories I've read from the West, the first to respond to a challenge is risk-loving and a bit crude, but her boldness to act is usually painted with admiration.
My friend asked if my point is that "language is shaped by culture" - and I think my point is more descriptive than normative or prescriptive: Language often symbolizes important cultural values and it is worthwhile to understand why actions/characteristics one culture sees as appealing could be seen as the opposite in another culture. Being both Chinese and American, I think this is also the reason I am quite relativist in my preferences and beliefs. I often witness misunderstandings in conversations where both Chinese and Americans are involved due to this lack of awareness about values that are somewhat in opposition.
“撒娇”(sājiāo)，动词，以幼稚的方式行事 ,像个被宠坏的孩子, 撅嘴(来自词库)。
Brendan O'Kane, non-native but reasonably good speaker of Mandarin.
Answered Jun 15, 2012
So there's no word for 缘分 in English. So what? It's not as if English lacks the concept that some people were "meant to be together;" we just express it differently. English-speaking countries may not have a single lexical item that maps exactly to 孝顺, but when we talk about someone being "a loving child" (or "a dutiful child" or a "caring child," all of which I would argue are slightly different in meaning) we're covering some of the same territory. 辛苦 -- said as a term of gratitude/admiration/encouragement -- really doesn't have any direct equivalent in English that I'm aware of, but then again, I am not aware of any word in Mandarin that maps neatly to English "nice," and 我 doesn't behave quite like English "I/me," and don't even get me started on Chinese translations for "logic," "nostalgia," and "humor," so let's call it even.
The thing is that words are mostly not particularly interesting or revealing when it comes to the differences between languages. One might just as easily say that "Standard English" doesn't have a word for "to haver" (a dialect word meaning "to babble drunkenly"), but it's not as if Scots have got a fundamentally different worldview, or as if we can't talk about the concept in standard, non-dialect English. The fact that a term in Language A may not map 100% to a term in Language B is not particularly interesting or surprising -- it happens all the time, even with different regionalects of a single language.
Language is a tool created by people to describe and discuss their own experiences, and the human experience is by and large the same for Chinese people as it is for non-Chinese people, even if the ways they conceptualize certain aspects of it (天 vs. 'God,' 单位 vs. 'office,' 道德 vs. 'virtue,' 囧 vs. 'WTF,' etc.) differ.
在英语中没有【缘分】这个词。 那又怎样?并不是说英语中缺少一些人“注定要在一起”的概念，我们只是用不同的方式来表达。英语国家可能没有一个词条完全对应到【孝顺】,但是当我们谈论某人是“一个有爱心的孩子”（或“孝顺的孩子”或“有爱心的孩子”）时，我认为所有这些都有点不同的意思。 【辛苦】作为一种感激/钦佩/鼓励的术语-我并不知道在英语中有任何直接的对等词，但话说回来，我不知道汉语中的任何词都能很好地对应到英语“nice”，而【我】的表现也不像英语“I/Me”，不要让我开始对“逻辑”、“怀旧”和“幽默”的中文翻译，所以让我们扯平吧。
语言是人们为描述和讨论自己的经历而创造的一种工具，对于中国人和非中国人来说，人类的经验大体上是一样的，即使他们对某些方面的概念(天vs god，单位vs office，道德vs virtue，囧vs wtf，等等)不同。
Benjamin Ross, Lived in China 3.5 years
Answered Feb 4, 2011
素质 - my best stab has been that it is a combination of education, social class, and manners. It's a common barometer people use to quantify another's worth. It's often translated as "quality," but this misses the point.
Mark Painter, Speak Chinese, read Chinese history, visit China when I can
Answered Jun 5, 2016
I think in general the most difficult words to translate are references to social or cultural things that don’t have a direct equivalent in American culture. For example, 官二代，could be translated as, children of government officials, but that doesn’t capture all of the nuances of what that would imply to a Chinese person. To fully explain it, I’d need to go into how traditionally working in government was a secure way to make a living, opened up possibilities for corruption, and when China opened up, there were government officials that used this to make themselves rich. That their status as government officials opens up doors， not open to everyone， to their children. In the last few decades these phenomena have lead to a special crop of spoiled brats turned into young adults called, 富二代。Or maybe, if the topic under discussion were potential marriage partners, I’d have to explain why this might make a person an especially good prospect. By the time I have explained all of that, my audience would have lost track of the context where this term originally came up. So, I think there is no adequate direct translation of this kind of term. It works better to restate the sentence it occurs in terms that an English speaker would be familiar with, even if it loses some of the literal meaning. E.g. 他爱上的姑娘嫁给一个富二代。 => The girl he loved chose to marry a rich brat for his money and power.
Answered Jan 24, 2011
You could probably spend hours on explaining what 关系 [guānxì] means, explaining it as "relationship" doesn't quite cut it. In fact, there are a lot of notions that Chinese people can translate fairly easily as one word in a Chinese cultural context; which can be quite different from the way westerners use the same word.
Another example is 面子 [miànzi], which means "face": a lot of Westerners have a grasp of what "losing face" in a Chinese or Japanese culture means, but who could accurately explain its nuances?
Answered Jul 24, 2014
Trust me,it must be"气"
it can be translated as spirit or power or strength or something.
But none of them is totally correct.
Just native chinese know.