英譯“元宵節”時首先該用Lantern Festival還是Yuanxiao Festival？考慮到原文第一段只解釋了元宵作為節日美食的來歷，后面第二段才提到燈籠（“張燈”“觀燈”“燃燈”），所以有的參賽譯文把“稱正月十五為元宵節”處理成“Thus, the 15th of the first lunar month is called the Lantern Festival”就顯得沒有來由。這里，Yuanxiao Festival才是更好的譯法，因為前文已經對xiao的字面義（第一段開頭“稱夜為‘宵’”）作了鋪墊。但除了給出正確的英文（the new year begins）本身，譯文還須明確指出，這是對yuan（“一元復始”）的解釋。這樣，英美讀者才能在心目中拼湊出Yuanxiao Festival的完整來歷。換言之，應設定漢譯英的讀者主要是英語國家的人；不論什么信息，都要讓他們一眼就看明白。
同樣，原文第四段開頭的“‘湯圓’取‘團圓’之意”，英譯時也應留意解釋鏈的完整性：“湯圓”的發音與“團圓”近似，而“團圓”則是“家人團聚，方得圓滿”的意思。若徑直譯成“‘Tangyuan’ takes the meaning of ‘reunion’”，則信息的呈現有所缺失。
例如，不能只把“浮圓子”和“元寶”音譯成fuyuanzi和yuanbao；譯者還應呈現“浮”和上文“湯圓”之間（即“元宵在沸水里漂浮”）的語義關聯（floating dumplings），并提示“元”為什么是一種“寶”（silver ingots）。
又如，第三段里的“實心”，有的參賽譯文用solid來對應。其實，只要意識到solid的反義詞是fluid或empty，而原文緊接著提到“或帶餡”，就能看出，“實心”在這里的意思是“不帶餡”。所以可改成unfilled或without being stuffed。
例如，原文第二段“至晦而罷”中的“晦”指農歷每月的最后一天，或朔日的前一天；“至晦而罷”的意思是“到正月最后一天才停止”。而will not go back to their homes till delighted等譯法與這一意思相差甚遠。筆者甚至懷疑，譯者可能把“晦”誤讀成“玩嗨了”中的“嗨”，因為“not... till delighted”明顯是“盡興方歸”之意。
又如，如果只看第二段“隋、唐、宋以來”，讀者會誤以為，元宵節至今還是一連慶祝幾夜，但實際上到清朝就差不多只剩一夜了。所以，筆者建議譯成“during... and for a long period thereafter”。這里的long可大致覆蓋元、明兩代，這就避免了為翻譯而翻譯，有助于實現準確復現原文信息及歷史事實這一初衷。
例如，第四段里“（離別的）親人”若譯成relatives，似乎收窄了“親人”的所指范圍，因為這里的“親人”不僅指“有血緣關系的人”，更是指“情感上至為親近的人”。鑒于此，“親人”可改譯成their dear loved ones。
又，有的參賽譯文把“未來生活”處理成a better future life，其中future life或有“來生”的歧義，故改成a better/brighter future更穩妥。
例如原文第三段中的“由糯米制成，或實心，或帶餡，餡有豆沙、白糖、芝麻、棗泥等，可葷可素”一句。如果不仔細看，還以為“可葷可素”可按字面譯成filled either with meat or vegetables。但根據常識，元宵不同于餃子，不可能包入vegetables之類的稀軟素餡，不然一煮就散架了。其實，這里的“素”指上文的“餡有豆沙、白糖、芝麻、棗泥等”。很明顯，這里的“可素”是重復表述。既然是重復，原文為什么還要保留？因為漢語偏好四字結構，而英語沒有這一習慣。所以，這里只須譯出“可葷”：Sweet dumplings can also be stuffed with meat。
還有一點值得留意：即使是時態這樣的“語法”問題，藏在其背后的仍是邏輯。例如，原文“隋、唐、宋以來，從昏達旦，至晦而罷，盛極一時”。根據邏輯推理，不能一看到“以來”就用“since+現在完成式”的格式去套?！白詮摹詠怼币馕吨城樾螐倪^去延續至今，而“一時”則意味著該情形停留在過去，since和“一時”的意思無法兼顧。為了確保用過去式（而非完成式）來譯謂語動詞，譯文應變通為“during the Sui, Tang and Song dynasties and for a long period thereafter”。
例如，原文第二段里的“人們觀燈賞月，燃燈放焰”，按常理該是先燃燈、后觀燈。但漢語喜用對稱的四字結構；為了對稱的美感，有意無意就把“觀”和“賞”、“燃”和“放”連在一起用，于是顧不得該是什么發生在先、什么在后了。英譯時可按自然順序處理成“lit lanterns for display, set off fireworks and watched the big, bright moon”。
例如，把“或帶餡，餡有……等”譯成filled with fillings觀感就差，因為英語行文通常不喜歡同源詞連用。
參賽譯文中還有其他問題，包括措辭的畫面形象不對。例如，把“張燈結彩”誤譯成strewn with lanterns and streamers，仿佛“燈”和“彩”被扔了一地，不是供人觀賞似的。類似的小問題，也反映出匠心的不足。這里就不一一例舉了。
【1】The ancient Chinese called night “xiao.” As the fifteenth night of the first lunar month coincides with the first full moon of the year, marking the yuan (meaning “the beginning of a new year”) and the return of spring, it is celebrated as a way to continue the Spring Festival revelry. Hence the name “Yuanxiao Festival.”
【2】On the evenings of the Yuanxiao Festival, also known as the Lantern Festival, streets and alleys are decorated with lanterns and festoons. People pour out to light up their lanterns for display, admire the big, bright moon, set off fireworks, guess lantern riddles, and eat yuanxiao (meaning “sweet dumplings”) together. In the Sui, Tang and Song dynasties and for a long period thereafter, the celebrations would last from dusk to dawn every day, until the moon waned toward the end of the lunar month. That was most impressive, indeed.
【3】Yuanxiao, also called tangyuan (meaning “boiled spheres”), are made entirely from glutinous rice flour or stuffed with contents such as bean paste, sugar, sesame paste or jujube paste. Sometimes they have minced meat fillings. In either case, they can be boiled, stir-fried or steamed. Common folk once called them “floating balls” because they would float up after being boiled. Merchants, on the other hand, jokingly referred to them as “yuanbao” because they looked like gold or silver ingots.
【4】Tangyuan sounds somewhat similar to tuanyuan, which means a “festival reunion.” It is a symbol of kinship or familial affinity. People recall their dear lost ones while eating tangyuan and express their hope for a brighter future.
In ancient times, people called night "Xiao (宵)". The 15th of the first lunar month is the first full-moon night of a year, and it is also the night when the new year begins and the earth returns to spring. Thus, the 15th of the first lunar month is called the Lantern Festival.
On the Lantern Festival night, the streets and alleys are decorated with lanterns and colored banners, people watch lanterns and the moon, light lanterns, guess lantern riddles and eat Yuanxiao (glutinous rice ball). During the Sui, Tang and Song dynasties, it had its heyday, and people celebrate it from dusk until dawn to the last day of the first lunar month.
Yuanxiao, also known as "Tangyuan", is made from glutinous rice flour, either solid or stuffed. The stuffing includes bean paste, sugar, sesame, jujube paste, meat or vegetables. It can be boiled, fried or steamed. At first, it is called "Fuyuanzi", and businessmen also call it "Yuanbao".
"Tangyuan" takes the meaning of "reunion", which symbolizes the reunion, harmony and happiness for the whole family, and people eat it to remember the dead relatives and represent their wishes for a better life in the future.
Night was named “Xiao” by ancient people. On the 15th day of the first lunar month, the first full moon of a year rises at night, from which a new year truly begins and spring comes back. Celebration on this night is also an extension of the Spring Festival, so this day is called the Lantern Festival.
On this night, streets and alleys are all decorated with lanterns and streamers. People enjoy lanterns and the moon, light lamps and fireworks, play the game of guessing lantern riddles, and have sweet dumplings together. Since the Sui, Tang and Song dynasties, there has been celebration throughout the night until the end of the month, becoming a prevailing event.
Sweet dumplings, also known as “glue pudding”, are made of glutinous rice flour solely or with stuffing such as bean paste, sugar, sesame and jujube paste, and suitable for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. They can be boiled in soup, fried in oil or steamed. At the very beginning, they were named “floating balls”, and even honored by businessmen as “ingots”.
“Glue pudding”, which in Chinese sounds like “reunion”, symbolizes reunion of families in harmony and happiness, and is used in memory of family members who have passed away and to wish for a wonderful future.
The ancients called night "Xiao". The first night with a full moon that marks the beginning of a New Year as well as the return of the spring falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month of the year during which people celebrate the continuation of the New Year. Therefore the 15th day of the first lunar month is called Yuanxiao Festival (the Lantern Festival).
On the night of the Lantern Festival, the streets are all decorated with lanterns and festoons, and people enjoy beautiful lanterns, admire the full moon, light up lanterns, set off fireworks, guess lantern riddles, and eat sweet dumplings together. The Lantern Festival had its heyday since Sui, Tang and Song Dynasties and was celebrated day and night until the last day of the first lunar month.
Yuanxiao is called ""Tangyuan"", which is also named “Fuyuanzi” by people at first as well as “Yuanbao” by businessmen. It is made of glutinous rice, solid or with fillings such as bean paste, sugar, sesame and jujube paste. In addition, it can be filled with either meat or vegetables, boiled in soup, fried or steamed
"Tangyuan" means "reunion", symbolizing the family reunion, harmony and happiness, and arousing people’s longing for the parted relatives and good wishes for the future life.
In the days of yore, the Chinese character xiao (or "eventide") was used in place of the modern ye to denote "night" or "eve." Astronomically speaking, the fifteenth day of the first lunar month marks the very first "eventide" in a year when the full moon can be observed, thus harbingering the return of vital energy on Earth idiomatically known as yi yuan fu shi ("the beginning of a new year"). Given that in Chinese, yuan stands for "original" as in yuan qi ("original energy," or "vital energy") as in traditional Chinese medicine, the fifteenth day since Chinese New Year's Eve is also known as yuan xiao (vital eve), celebrated across China as an extension to Spring Festival.
This is the night on which everyone must get out on the streets and alleyways festooned with colourful lampshades, to see the lanterns, watch fireworks, solve "lantern riddles" (that is, riddles displayed on lanterns, as the name suggests), and have a bowl rice dumplings named after the festival—all under the beaming moonlight. Since the Sui, T'ang, and Song Dynasties at least a millennium back, such celebrations would go on from sundown to sunrise, each year from the fifteenth all the way to the very last day of the first lunar month.
Rice dumplings, or yuan xiao, are also known in south China as tang yuan (literally, "soup rounds"). They are prepared with glutinous rice, and can come either with or without sweet and savoury fillings such as red bean paste, sugar, sesame, jujube paste, etc., and even savoury meat. They can be served boiled, deep fried, or steamed, as one desires. They were at their inception dubbed fu yuan zi ("floating roundlets"), and have earned the moniker of yuan bao ("sycees") from the merchants for their resemblance to a type of ancient Chinese ingot currency once in wide circulation.
Tang yuan is nearly homonymous with tuan yuan ("reunion"). The traditional dish thus carries with it a rich cultural symbolism of every Chinese family's desire to live under the same roof in happiness and harmony. In addition, they are served to bring back memories of departed loved ones, and also represent best wishes for a good future.