Carley De Rosa spotted this sign in the Kunming airport on her way to Laos. Dumbfounded by the Chinglish, not least because what it called an "elevator" was actually an "escalator", on her way back from Laos she made sure to get a photograph of the sign and send it to me for analysis:
The sign actually says:
shǒutuīchē 手推车 ("cart; trolley [Brit.]; pushcart")
qǐng zǒu duìmiàn diàntī, chéngzuò diàntī, qǐng gùkè lā hǎo fú hǎo, értóng zuò diàntī xū jiāzhǎng péihù, bùdé zài diàntī shàng dǎnào.
"Please walk over to the escalator on the opposite side. Upon getting on the escalator, passengers should hold [their cart] tightly and support [themselves] securely. Children who take the escalator must be accompanied by a parent and are not permitted to roughhouse on the escalator."
The substitution of "beard" for "must" is easy to explain, since the simplified character 须 is used both for its original meaning of "must" (which was what the Chinese sign intended to say) and for the traditional character 鬚 ("beard"), which the translation software mistakenly invoked here.
As for the mixup of "elevator" and "escalator", that is a much longer story and is the result of the fact that diàntī 电梯 (lit., "electric ladder / stairs / steps") can mean either and is habitually used for both. When individuals wish to make a distinction between "elevator" and "escalator", there is great variety in the terms that may be used.
N.B.: The following lists are not exhaustive for either "elevator" or "escalator".
diàntī 电梯 (lit., "electric ladder / stairs / steps") — used as the default term for "elevator" in contrast to some other term for "escalator"
shēngjiàngjī 升降机 ("elevator; dumbwaiter; lift") — usually reserved for construction sites (especially when attached outside a building that is under construction), factories, etc., not for regular passenger elevators
zìdòng fútī 自动扶梯 (lit., "automatic [i.e., 'self-moving'] support-ladder / stairs / steps") — this is the "correct" term for "escalator", but people tend to avoid it in speech because it seems concocted and insufficiently vernacular
fútī 扶梯 ("support-ladder / stairs / steps")
shǒufútī 手扶梯 ("hand-support-ladder / stairs / steps")
diànfútī 电扶梯 ("electric-support-ladder / stairs / steps") — this and the previous term seem to be favored by speakers of Taiwan Mandarin
gǔntī 滚梯 (lit., "rolling ladder / stairs / steps")
diàndòng lóutī 电动楼梯 ("electric-driven stairs")
zìdòng diàntī 自动电梯 ("automatic electric ladder / stairs / steps")
Zǒu lóutī shàngqù tài lèile, háishì zuò nà biān de diàntī shàngqù ba. 走楼梯上去太累了，还是坐那边的电梯上去吧。("It's too tiring to walk up the steps, so let's take the escalator over there instead.")
Děng diàntī de rén tài duōle, wǒmen zǒu nà biān de zìdòng fútī ba. 等电梯的人太多了，我们走那边的自动扶梯吧。("There are too many people waiting for the elevator; let's take the escalator over there instead.")
To recapitulate, in Mandarin, most people strongly prefer to use diàntī 电梯 (lit., "electric ladder / stairs / steps") for both "escalator" and "elevator", but will only use some other term for "escalator" when forced to make a distinction between the two modes of going up and down in a building.
There are still additional options in Cantonese. In speech the most common word for 'elevator' is lip1 車+立 which is a borrowing of British English "lift". This special Cantonese character (車+立) is sometimes used in writing and is a Hong Kong creation, but the English word "lift" is also written directly or the romanized Cantonese "lip" may also be used. In Cantonese, there is a bewildering variety of terms for "escalator". The Hong Kong Civil Service Bureau's bilingual website lists seven different lexical items with this meaning. Cantonesesheik lists six lexical items.
Based on preliminary Google searches by Bob Bauer, it appears that the most commonly-used items for "escalator'"in HK are haang4 jan4 din6 tai1 行人電梯 ("pedestrian electric ladder / stairs / steps") and fu4 sau2 din6 tai1 扶手電梯 ("hand-support electric ladder / stairs / steps")
Abrahman Chan explains the historical reasons for the plethora of terms for "escalator" in Cantonese:
The use of the three terms "車+立 (lip1)," "電梯 (din6tai1)," and "升降機 (sing1gong3gei1)" in Hong Kong have a rather complicated history.
Between the elevator and the escalator, the former has a much longer use in Hong Kong. The company Otis claims to have erected the first Hong Kong elevator in 1888, but the first escalator only in 1957.
As you know, an elevator is known as a "lift" in Britain, and in Hong Kong we have coined the character "車+立" to represent the loanword "lip1." But a Chinese term "電梯 (electric ladder)" was also used to represent the elevator. I haven't looked into the primary sources, and have no idea whether "電梯" was a local term or borrowed elsewhere (say, from Shanghai). There is no doubt, however, that both "車+立" and "電梯" date from before the Second World War and both were used to represent an elevator.
The introduction of the escalator brought considerable confusion to the use of the term "電梯," however. For one thing, the staircase is known as "樓梯 (lau4tai1)" in Chinese, and the escalator definitely looks a lot more like a staircase than an elevator does; so for a long time (since the late 1950s) the newer escalators have been competing with the older elevators for use of the term "電梯". It is not unusual for one person to use "電梯" to refer to both devices.
The "升降機" is a latecomer to the game, in direct response to the "電梯" confusion. The "升降機" is a translation of the "elevator," and the escalator is often renamed "扶手電梯 (fu4sau2din6tai1)" to avoid confusing with "電梯," which even today can still mean either an elevator or an escalator.
I personally almost never say "升降機," but generally use "車+立" to refer to an elevator. I usually use "電梯" for escalator, although sometime adding "扶手" to ensure there is no confusion with an elevator.
But the use of "車+立" is of course a no-no to Chinese purists, who insist on using either "電梯" or "升降機" for elevators.
In Japanese there is no confusion between "elevator" and "escalator" because they are directly transliterated from the English words, hence erebētā エレベーター and esukarētā エスカレーター. In written Japanese, one may use the technical term hōkō-ki 昇降機 ("rise-descend-device").
Incidentally, there is a special Japanese graph for "elevator girl" (erebētā gāru エレベーターガール), a type of service person that is still common in Japan, namely, the radical 女 ("woman / female") on the left and 上 ("up") written above 下 ("down") on the right, which is pronounced as erebētā gāru. The short form of erebētā gāru is erega エレガ, and the Sinitic-style term is sōjō or shōjō 箱嬢 ("case / box / chest / trunk girl"). The male counterpart is erebētā bōi エレベーターボーイ ("elevator boy"), but one doesn't often encounter such individuals. The sole task of the "elevator girl" is to welcome customers into the elevator and to push the buttons for the desired floors of the depāto ("department store"). Such spiffily dressed girls are often hired to do this work as an extra job (arubaito アルバイト [< German "Arbeit"]). In other industrialized countries the elevator operators were abolished after push button operation was invented to replace the earlier and more complicated switches. The Japanese are so attached to the elevator girls ("lift operators") that it is not uncommon to see in elevators without such personnel a sign politely requesting customers to press the buttons themselves.
And then there was "Erebētā akushon" エレベーターアクション ("Elevator Action"), a popular arcade game that debuted in 1983.
[Thanks are due to Robert S. Bauer, Hiroko Sherry, Zhou Yunong, Zhou Ying, Nathan Hopson, Cecilia Segawa Seigle, Grace Wu, Melvin Lee, Gianni Wan, Jing Wen, Wicky Tse, Jiajia Wang, Zhao Lu, Miki Morita, Rebecca Fu, Sophie Wei, and Mandy Chan]