Bryan Van Norden is a Visiting Professor at Wuhan University this semester, and he ran across an interesting bit of language play. Below is a still (taken with his cell phone) of a television commercial currently running in the PRC. It is for a watermelon juice drink. As you can see, the tag line is a bilingual pun, substituting guā 瓜 ("melon") for "God."
Archive for Found in translation
In "Applenese", we examined the Chinese translations from the Mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong of this Apple advertising slogan for Mother's Day last spring: "A gift Mom will love opening. Again and again."
Now let's see what is done with the new Apple campaign for the iPhone 6, "Bigger than bigger", in Chinese and other languages.
Rich Scottoline sent in the following photograph of a box of crackers that he happened across in a Nonghyup food store in South Korea:
Bruce Balden sent in this photograph of a sign on a restaurant in the Vancouver area:
Stephan Stiller says that my post on "Good good study; day day up" reminds him of "people mountain, people sea" (rénshānrénhǎi 人山人海), i.e., "crowded; packed; a sea of people". This is another fairly complex Chinglishism that has entered the vocabulary of many English speakers who know no Chinese. It was popularized by a Hong Kong music production company that took this expression as its name, and there was also a Hong Kong film that used this expression as its title.
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Sreekar Saha sent in this sign and expressed puzzlement over the English translation:
Arnold Zwicky kindly called the following choice Chinglish label to my attention:
Together with his "greetings from small-town Japan", Chris Pickel sent in this photograph of a sign, which was put up in his neighborhood for the aki-matsuri 秋祭り ("autumn festival").
Here is a closeup of a remarkable work of installation art that is being shown at this year's Venice Biennale:
Remember when using English words to create French counterparts was considered (I believe this is the technical term) a shonda?
Me neither. Still the case in Quebec, apparently, where the STOP signs say ARRET, but in the Hexagon apparently not so much.
In support of his case, he sends along this ad from Le Monde:
To celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Snake (shénián 蛇年), the following sign
is presently on display in a Chinese hotel lobby was on display in a Chinese hotel lobby in July 2009 or before and is being circulated among friends:
Thomas Lumley sent in this nice multilingual pun from Sydney, Australia:
The following feature from the Nandu website includes many strange and droll language games:
Michael Robinson was looking through this Flickr group dedicated to photos of Chinese restaurants outside China, "Chinese Restaurant Worldwide Documentation Project", which includes around 17,000 photographs, when he came upon this photo that was taken on December 23, 2012 in The Lanes, Brighton, England, GB:
Jonathan Smith spotted this photograph of a sign in Hong Kong that is part of a blog post decrying impenetrable official language: