Archive for Lost in translation

China rules

For the last few weeks, the New York Times has been running a hyped-up, gushing series of lengthy articles under the rubric "China rules". On a special section in the paper edition for Sunday, November 25, they printed this gigantic headline in Chinese characters — and made a colossal mistake:

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Spring mud

Sign in a restroom at the Taipei Public Library:

biàn hòu suíshǒu chōng
chūnní liǎo wú hén

便後隨手沖
春泥了無痕

After relieving yourself, don't forget to flush,
So there will be nary a trace of "spring mud".

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Hanoi menu

Tweet by Dan Okrent:

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Speaking of Lou Dobbs…

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Feel free to play this piano

While passing through Hartsfield Atlanta airport a few weeks back, Neil Dolinger passed a piano located in a place where passersby could freely play it.  A sign nearby (see photograph below) encourages this in 12 different languages:

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Dangerous entrance

Photo taken by Ori Tavor in Beijing at the Bank of China next to Hepingmen subway station:

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Go Believe

Zeyao Wu sent in this sign on a restaurant:

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Hungarian trenching

From Adrian Bailey:

Although Google Translate isn't too bad now for the big 8 languages, the results for other languages can still be quite bizarre and/or disappointing. I used to do some Hungarian-English translation 15-20 years ago, and the machine translation available then hardly seems much worse…

Engedjetek meg nekem a tegezést. Angolként bajom van a magázással.

Google's translation: Let me do the trenching. I'm an English guy with shit.

Actual meaning: Let me tegez you (ie. use the informal forms for "you"). As an Englishman, I have trouble with the formal forms.

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Khmerlish

I found this by chance while surfing on Pinterest:

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Thailish

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Arablish

Adrian Bailey sent in this Yemeni restaurant menu from @wokeeth's Twitter account:

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"Boiled Blood Curd" and "Semi-rotted Vegetables Cake"

Menu items at the Asia Bistro, Marriott Hotel, Suzhou, China, courtesy of Thomas Malphus:

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"Do civilized BJ men"

Zeyao Wu found this photograph on Weibo (a Twitter-like microblogging website in China):

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