英译“元宵节”时首先该用Lantern Festival还是Yuanxiao Festival？考虑到原文第一段只解释了元宵作为节日美食的来历，后面第二段才提到灯笼（“张灯”“观灯”“燃灯”），所以有的参赛译文把“称正月十五为元宵节”处理成“Thus, the 15th of the first lunar month is called the Lantern Festival”就显得没有来由。这里，Yuanxiao Festival才是更好的译法，因为前文已经对xiao的字面义（第一段开头“称夜为‘宵’”）作了铺垫。但除了给出正确的英文（the new year begins）本身，译文还须明确指出，这是对yuan（“一元复始”）的解释。这样，英美读者才能在心目中拼凑出Yuanxiao Festival的完整来历。换言之，应设定汉译英的读者主要是英语国家的人；不论什么信息，都要让他们一眼就看明白。
同样，原文第四段开头的“‘汤圆’取‘团圆’之意”，英译时也应留意解释链的完整性：“汤圆”的发音与“团圆”近似，而“团圆”则是“家人团聚，方得圆满”的意思。若径直译成“‘Tangyuan’ takes the meaning of ‘reunion’”，则信息的呈现有所缺失。
例如，不能只把“浮圆子”和“元宝”音译成fuyuanzi和yuanbao；译者还应呈现“浮”和上文“汤圆”之间（即“元宵在沸水里漂浮”）的语义关联（floating dumplings），并提示“元”为什么是一种“宝”（silver ingots）。
又如，第三段里的“实心”，有的参赛译文用solid来对应。其实，只要意识到solid的反义词是fluid或empty，而原文紧接着提到“或带馅”，就能看出，“实心”在这里的意思是“不带馅”。所以可改成unfilled或without being stuffed。
例如，原文第二段“至晦而罢”中的“晦”指农历每月的最后一天，或朔日的前一天；“至晦而罢”的意思是“到正月最后一天才停止”。而will not go back to their homes till delighted等译法与这一意思相差甚远。笔者甚至怀疑，译者可能把“晦”误读成“玩嗨了”中的“嗨”，因为“not... till delighted”明显是“尽兴方归”之意。
又如，如果只看第二段“隋、唐、宋以来”，读者会误以为，元宵节至今还是一连庆祝几夜，但实际上到清朝就差不多只剩一夜了。所以，笔者建议译成“during... and for a long period thereafter”。这里的long可大致覆盖元、明两代，这就避免了为翻译而翻译，有助于实现准确复现原文信息及历史事实这一初衷。
例如，第四段里“（离别的）亲人”若译成relatives，似乎收窄了“亲人”的所指范围，因为这里的“亲人”不仅指“有血缘关系的人”，更是指“情感上至为亲近的人”。鉴于此，“亲人”可改译成their dear loved ones。
又，有的参赛译文把“未来生活”处理成a better future life，其中future life或有“来生”的歧义，故改成a better/brighter future更稳妥。
例如原文第三段中的“由糯米制成，或实心，或带馅，馅有豆沙、白糖、芝麻、枣泥等，可荤可素”一句。如果不仔细看，还以为“可荤可素”可按字面译成filled either with meat or vegetables。但根据常识，元宵不同于饺子，不可能包入vegetables之类的稀软素馅，不然一煮就散架了。其实，这里的“素”指上文的“馅有豆沙、白糖、芝麻、枣泥等”。很明显，这里的“可素”是重复表述。既然是重复，原文为什么还要保留？因为汉语偏好四字结构，而英语没有这一习惯。所以，这里只须译出“可荤”：Sweet dumplings can also be stuffed with meat。
还有一点值得留意：即使是时态这样的“语法”问题，藏在其背后的仍是逻辑。例如，原文“隋、唐、宋以来，从昏达旦，至晦而罢，盛极一时”。根据逻辑推理，不能一看到“以来”就用“since+现在完成式”的格式去套。“自从……以来”意味着某情形从过去延续至今，而“一时”则意味着该情形停留在过去，since和“一时”的意思无法兼顾。为了确保用过去式（而非完成式）来译谓语动词，译文应变通为“during the Sui, Tang and Song dynasties and for a long period thereafter”。
例如，原文第二段里的“人们观灯赏月，燃灯放焰”，按常理该是先燃灯、后观灯。但汉语喜用对称的四字结构；为了对称的美感，有意无意就把“观”和“赏”、“燃”和“放”连在一起用，于是顾不得该是什么发生在先、什么在后了。英译时可按自然顺序处理成“lit lanterns for display, set off fireworks and watched the big, bright moon”。
例如，把“或带馅，馅有……等”译成filled with fillings观感就差，因为英语行文通常不喜欢同源词连用。
参赛译文中还有其他问题，包括措辞的画面形象不对。例如，把“张灯结彩”误译成strewn with lanterns and streamers，仿佛“灯”和“彩”被扔了一地，不是供人观赏似的。类似的小问题，也反映出匠心的不足。这里就不一一例举了。
【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.