Translating numbers

Chinese has several ways to express inaccurate numbers. Those are extremely annoying to translate, and here is a list of them (plus some useful expressions) in case someone is interested.

We are using 十目 = 10 points as a point of reference. The unit 目 measures both the value of (endgame) moves and the size of territories.

Note that the ranges of values I give in the rightmost column are my own most intelligent guesses. We are throwing accuracy out the window, so don’t take them too seriously. They are meant to help orienting them in comparison to other fuzzy numbers.

Also, ε [epsilon] is the smallest relevant number that exceeds zero (ε>0) because Go math can get infinite(simal)ly frustrating, although these expressions are also used when something is perfectly calculatable, but the occasion (or laziness) doesn’t call for nitpicking.

漢字/汉- pinyin English (range of) value
十目 shí mù ten points 10
shí mù zhěng
/zhěng shí mù
ten points exactly
/exactly ten points
十目半 shí mù bàn ten and a half points 10.5
十又三分之一目 shí yòu sān fēn zhī yī mù ten points and one third 10 1/3
十目左右 shí mù zuǒ yòu ten-ish points
/around ten points
9+ε to 11-ε
小十目 xiǎo shí mù inferior to ten points 9+ε to 10-ε
十目弱 shí mù ruò slightly less than ten points 9.5ish to 10-ε
shí mù qiáng slightly more than ten points 10+ε to 10.5ish
十目多 shí mù duō exceeding ten points 10+ε to 11-ε
shí jǐ mù “a dozen or more” points/ten and several points 12ish to 18ish
十多目 shí duō mù ten and several points 12ish to 18ish
(好)幾十目/(-)几- (hǎo) jǐ shí mù several (/so many) tens of points 20 to 80ish
[(好)幾目/(-)几- (hǎo) jǐ mù several (/so many) points
/how many points?
2ish to 8ish

The values in the rightmost column are based on a recent survey I conducted, so far answered by one people and two thirds.

I had them compare three pairs of expressions. (I didn’t bother asking their estimates because nobody knows anyway.) The consensus among them seems to be:

小十目 < 十目弱
十目強 < 十目多
十幾目 = 十多目

So lining these up looks like this:

9 points < 小十目 < 十目弱 < 10 points < 十目強 < 十目多 < 11 points < 十幾目 = 十多目 < 20 points ≤ 幾十目 < 100 points

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