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When I want to express my thankfulness to someone who takes time to help me, I would say:

您辛苦了

in Chinese, or

お疲れ様でした

in Japanese.

Imprecisely, this means:

You have taken a lot of time and might even have suffered some pain in fulfilling a certain thing (which is related to me, or even completely for me). So, you must be tired afterward. (Please accept my sincere thanks.)

Is there any short phrase in English expressing this meaning?

Google gave me a translation of "您辛苦了" to English, which is:

You have worked hard.

But I don't think this is proper, because to my understanding, this sentence is more a judgment than a way of showing gratitude.

I think there might be no similar expression in English, because of cultural differences. But please tell me if there is any.

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As you have guessed, that Chinese sentence doesn't mean "Thanks for taking the trouble" :) –  Alenanno Aug 4 '11 at 11:38
    
Thanks for comment. I am a Chinese, impressed by "我爱中文" in your page. I think "Thanks for taking the trouble" might in some extend express my feeling when I want to say "您辛苦了". Certainly, the Chinese sentence can be used in other circumstances than expressing thanks. –  ShinyaSakai Aug 4 '11 at 15:48
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Oh I didn't see you were Chinese! I guess you can say more on the matter than I could. :D Yeah, 我爱中文! :) –  Alenanno Aug 4 '11 at 18:05

4 Answers 4

I don't know Chinese, but a translation of お疲れ様でした (otsukaresama deshita) into casual English would be something like:

Thanks for taking the trouble.

Thanks for your trouble.

Sorry to trouble you.

Sorry to bother you.

Sorry to put you out.

Etc.

Or even something as simple as:

Many thanks.

Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

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Thank you very much. I think the orinigal sentence expresses concern (for the tiredness), sorry (for making others tired) and thankfulness (to the help). So, I also appreciate the tranlation "Thanks for taking the trouble". Thanks a lot. –  ShinyaSakai Aug 4 '11 at 10:52

One could say:

Thank you for your pains!
Do not trouble yourself too much

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Very good translation, for the concern and thankfulness in the original sentence. Thank you very much. –  ShinyaSakai Aug 4 '11 at 10:54

I don't want this to seem pedantic, but I took a tech writing course in college where the prof hated this expression if you used it before you asked for help... He found it incredibly presumptuous... He thought it rude to basically assume that the person you asked for help actually will help you... So to that:

My old prof would say: "I would appreciate your help"

But if you're not in a sensitive situation then "Thanks for your help" or "Thank you for taking the trouble" (@Robusto) would work great.

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From what I understand, this phrase is for use after someone has done something for you. –  Marthaª Aug 4 '11 at 13:40
    
Yeah, I couldn't tell 100% from the tense if it was pre or post thank you... –  Rikon Aug 4 '11 at 14:00
    
Thank you very much for your answer. I think there might be something wrong in my English expression that makes people misunderstand. But, as @Marthaª said, this is used after someone's kind help. –  ShinyaSakai Aug 4 '11 at 15:38
    
@Shinya "Thanks for taking the time to help me" is a slightly longer variation that also would work well if you prefer to put the emphasis more on the time taken rather than the trouble or effort the person expended in helping you. While, as Rikon mentions, it can sound rude to say this before someone helps you (because it sounds like you have no doubt that they will help you, so it can feel insincere, more like a command), there's nothing wrong with using it after someone has helped you :) –  aedia λ Aug 4 '11 at 16:38

Much appreciated

You could use these 2 words alone, or in a sentence:

Thanks for your help, it's much appreciated.

You've gone to a lot of trouble, that's much appreciated.

Or informally, with people you know - Cheers!

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