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A picture paints a thousand words

Posted by Joel on January 08, 2003

In Reply to: A picture paints a thousand words posted by joel on January 07, 2003

: : : : hi,
: : : : I am looking for the meaning and eplaination about the following quote:
: : : : A picture paints a thousand words
: : : : Bye

: : : Simply put, it means that a picture will be far more descriptive of something than words can ever be, or, to put it another way, no matter how hard you try, you can't beat a visual presentation.

: : : Having sat through far too many Powerpoint-rich presentations from Microsoft worker ants in my time, I have to entirely disagree. The acolytes of Saint Bill of Seattle manage effortlessly to be meaningless, no matter which medium they choose to present in.

: : And allegedly first made by Confucius, I believe.

: Yes, it is said to be a Chinese proverb (whether made up by Kung Fu Tze, Confucius, or just a folk saying). But I have read that the original is better translated from Chinese in this way: "One showing is better than one hundred sayings." And I suppose a "showing" could be either a picture or diagram, on the one hand, or perhaps in in-person showing or demonstration. In any case, if we consider that, in English, a "saying" may typically involve ten words, then we can see where the "thousand words" bit was substituted for the direct translation.

It would be great if a Chinese-language expert posted on this. But I believe from what I have read in the past that the direct translation, rather than being just what I said before, is more like this: "one showing same one-hundred sayings." From which it is easy to make the freer (more eloquent-sounding) English saying "a picture is worth a thousand words."