Archive for Lost in translation

"Sexual harassment dried bamboo shoot"

Given the bevy of shamed politicians and celebrities who have been paraded before the public in recent weeks, it may be of interest that the word for "sexual harassment" in Chinese is quite a colorful one:


(Source)

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Bump of Chicken

Photo by Ross Bender, taken near Osaka Castle last month:

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Fixed point

From dako-xiaweiyi:

Some years ago I was hiking in a remote part of Inner Mongolia with some Chinese friends when we came into a larger than normal village with a larger than normal building with the sign in the attached picture:

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Civilized urinating

Is this Chinglish?

Source:  "Lost in translation: Chinese government aims to reduce awkward English signs" (CBS News [10/28/17]), with several other prime examples.

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"Good morning" considered dangerous

Yotam Berger, "Israel Arrests Palestinian Because Facebook Translated 'Good Morning' to 'Attack Them'", Haaretz 10/22/2017:

The Israel Police mistakenly arrested a Palestinian worker last week because they relied on automatic translation software to translate a post he wrote on his Facebook page. The Palestinian was arrested after writing “good morning,” which was misinterpreted; no Arabic-speaking police officer read the post before the man’s arrest. […]

The automatic translation service offered by Facebook uses its own proprietary algorithms. It translated “good morning” as “attack them” in Hebrew and “hurt them” in English.

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Bubble tea blooper

That's all, folks.

[h.t. Jichang Lulu]

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Big Grams Cauldron

One of the most famous Chinese bronze vessels of antiquity, preserved in the Shanghai Museum, is the Dà Kè dǐng 大克鼎 ("Larger Ke Cauldron"), dated to ca. 891-886 BC.  Discovered around 1890 AD, it is 75.6 cm in diameter and 93.1 cm in height and weighs 201.5 kg.

In terms of language and script, the Dà Kè dǐng 大克鼎 is distinguished by its lengthy inscriptions amounting to 290 characters in 28 lines.  The inscriptions tell how a noble named Ke cast the vessel during the reign period of King Xiao of the Zhou Dynasty and records the King's praise to Ke's grandfather and the award of a royal estate to Ke.  Ke is said to have cast this vessel in appreciation of the King's favors and as a tribute to his grandfather.  It is called the Dà Kè dǐng 大克鼎 ("Larger Ke Cauldron") inasmuch as it was discovered together with more than 1,200 other bronzes, including seven smaller Kè cauldrons.

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Utterly lost in translation

During a search for something else, I happened upon this page at the Bible Study Tools site. It provides a nice reminder (for the two or three people out there who might still need it) of the fact that it's dangerous to trust websites, in linguistic matters or in anything else. As the screenshot shows, it purports to show Psalm 86 in two parallel versions, the Latin Vulgate and the New International Version.

"Filiis Core psalmis cantici fundamenta eius in montibus sanctis" is translated as "Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy." The correct translation is debatable, but the first four words mean "A song psalm for the sons of Korah", and the rest means either "Its foundations are in the sacred hills" or (according to the Revised Standard Version) "On the holy mount stands the city he founded." Verse 2, "Diligit dominus portas Sion super omnia tabernacula Iacob" (roughly, "The Lord loves the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings of Jacob") is translated as "Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God." The third verse begins Gloriosa dicta sunt ("glorious things are spoken") but is translated as "have mercy on me". This is worse than the worst botch I ever saw from Google Translate. And I suspect human error is to blame.

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Patriarchal homestead

A tweet by Alex Gabuev:

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Chicken paws and King Kong

A friend of Rebecca Hamilton saw this at a local market in Dundee Scotland:

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Red intestines

Tweet from Igor Denisov:

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Learn from President Learn

By itself, the phrase "xuéxí lù shàng 学习路上" means "on the path / way / road" of learning.  However, when you see it in large characters at the top of a lavish website devoted to the life and works of President Xi Jinping, you cannot help but think that it also punningly conveys another meaning.

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M & W WC

Zeyao Wu took these two pictures in Guangzhou. She found these signs in a small market which sells vegetables and fruits.


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