English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips> 译通四海> Columnist 专栏作家> Zhang Xin

Clean slate

[ 2009-11-06 14:14]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009

Clean slate

Reader question:

Please explain “clean slate” in this sentence: After the divorce, you can start a new life with a clean slate.

My comments:

It means that leaving a troubled marriage behind, the person may turn a new leaf or indeed a brand new chapter (of his/her life) without being burdened or restrained by their matrimony.

Slate is a thin flat piece of rock used in olden times as a writing board. Naturally one prefers drawing on a clean slate. This is what Mao referred to as a “clean sheet”. “With a clean sheet,” he said, “and a clear mind (without being clouded by the past), one may draw the best picture yet.” He was talking about building a new, modern, democratic China after centuries of feudalism.

Well, he meant well.

In the example from the top, by having a clean slate after the divorce, the once-weds may put all their troubled relationship – all the quarrels, fights and guilty consciences etc – behind them, and start anew, with a new approach.

In other words, with one swoop from signing the divorce papers, the couple will be able to “wipe the slate clean”.

Easy for me to say, I know, because the past is very difficult, if not impossible, to erase from memory. But then again, that’s why clean slates are so keenly coveted in the first place.

Anyways, here are media examples:

1. clean slate:

Robbie Keane has urged Tottenham teammates to view Juande Ramos’ appointment as a clean slate for everyone at the club.

Sat in the directors box for Sunday’s 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat by Blackburn, Ramos was offered a fitting insight into the task ahead with the result keeping Spurs marooned in the relegation zone.

But Keane insists Spurs’ woeful start to the season will mean nothing to the 53-year-old, whose appointment he is convinced will galvanize the club.

“We have to draw a line under what’s gone on up to now - we have no choice. It’s a clean slate for everyone,” said the 27-year-old.

“The new manager has come in and everyone will want to impress him because they want to play.”

- Keane urges Spurs players to see Ramos as clean slate, TribalFootball.com, October 30, 2007.

2. wipe the slate clean:

A British bridge-building company was fined 3.5 million pounds ($5.6 million) on Friday for breaching United Nations sanctions in Iraq and for corruption offenses in Jamaica and Ghana. The Serious Fraud Office said the case against Mabey & Johnson Ltd. was the first prosecution brought against a company in Britain for overseas corruption.

Mabey & Johnson Ltd. was also ordered by Judge Geoffrey Rivlin at Southwark Crown Court to pay 2.2 million pounds ($3.5 million) in confiscation orders, about 1.4 million pounds ($2.23 million) in reparations and 350,000 pounds ($558,000) in costs.

The company had cooperated with the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation, and had pleaded guilty to two corruption charges and another relating to breach of the Iraq sanctions in 2001-2002.

The Serious Fraud Office said Mabey & Johnson’s holding company voluntarily disclosed the corruption offenses in February 2008, and an investigation was opened. After five of the company’s directors stepped down that year, a new management team was put in place.

“What our company did in the past is a matter of deep regret,” said Peter Lloyd, the company’s new managing director. “We have now made a fresh start, having wiped the slate clean of these offenses.

- British firm fined for breaching UN sanctions in Iraq, corruption in Jamaica, Ghana, AP, September 25, 2009.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Take it on the chin

Damascene conversion

No holds barred

Spartan life