The following feature from the Nandu website includes many strange and droll language games:
Before analyzing and explaining all of the playful language on this page, I should note that the article is about China's longest-serving delegate ("reelected" 12 times for a total of 59 years) to the National People's Congress, a woman named Shēn Jìlán 申纪兰. People are making a big fuss about her and saying that she was "reelected" so many times because she rubber-stamped whatever the CCP wanted. I personally don't think it's such a big deal for two reasons:
1. I doubt that in the history of the PRC there have ever been more than a token handful of dissenting votes against whatever the CCP leadership wanted, so she's probably no worse than all the other delegates in that respect.
2. We have our longevous senators Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond.
I should also mention that the Nandu ("Southern Metropolis") website is intimately related to the Southern Weekly, the feisty, rebellious newspaper that was in the limelight so much during the month of January when it stood up to Communist Party censorship of its New Year's editorial. Both the Nandu website and the Southern Weekly belong to the Nánfāng bàoyè chuánméi jítuán 南方报业传媒集团 ("Southern Media Group"). See "Once Bookstore".
Now, let's take a look at some of the fun things on this page.
Duànzi shì xì, xì wài shì zhēn
("The jokes are [just] for fun, [but] besides the fun there is [still some] truth.")
Note: duànzi 段子 ("joke, banter"), e.g., huáng duànzi 黄段子 ("sexually suggestive joke")
Google Translate inexplicably renders xì wài shì zhēn 戏 外是真 as "The Wall Street Journal is true." If you put 戏外是真。(with a period) in Google Translate, it yields "Outside the movies is true", which is only slightly better.
If you try to translate xì wài shì zhēn 戏 外是真 into Spanish, Google Translate gives "The Wall Street Journal es cierto", in German "The Wall Street Journal ist wahr", in Japanese " Uōrusutorīto Jānaru wa hontō desu ウォールストリートジャーナルは本当です" ("The Wall Street Journal is true"). It would seem that this is some sort of hoax being played by an employee of Google Translate.
Ironically, if you want to translate xì wài shì jiǎ 戏外是假 ([but] besides the fun there is [still some] falsity") into English, Google Translate gives you "The Wall Street Journal is a fake" and something similar in all other languages. However, if you just translate 戏外是 ("beside the fun it is"), Google Translate yields "Off screen is".
There have been several such incidents at Google Translate. One I can remember right now occurred in 2007 when Kimi Räikkönen, a Finnish racing driver won the F1 world championship. If you entered "Räikkönen is champion" on Google Translate, the Chinese translation would be Ālóngsuǒ shì guànjūn 阿隆索是冠军 ("Alonso is champion"), referring to Fernando Alonso, a Spanish driver, 3rd overall in that season.
Nándū pínglùn 南都评论 ("Nandu reviews") is a column on the Nandu website. This feature on Shen Jilan is the first in a series called Nándū wǎng 南都网 ("Nandu website") jin[g]句, which the column cleverly announces as consisting of:
jīnjù 金句 ("[memorable] verses")
jīnjù 今句 ("current sentences")
jīngjù 惊句 ("surprising sentences")
jǐngjù 警句 ("epigrams")
Then we come to the weirdest and funniest part of the page. "How are you?" is rendered into Englishy Mandarin as "Zěnme shì nǐ" 怎么是你? and "How old are you?" is translated into the same type of bizarre Englishy Mandarin as "Zěnme lǎo shì nǐ" 怎么老是你? The real meaning of the first Mandarin question is "How could it be you?" and the meaning of the second Mandarin question is "Why are you always around?" Of course, these mistranslation are intentional and diabolically clever.
Finally, here are some pronouncements widely attributed to Shēn Jìlán (taken from interviews she has given during the last couple of years):
1. Wǒ cónglái bu tóu fǎnduì piào. 2.“Zhōngchéng” èr zì kě xíngróng wǒ yīshēng. 3. Wǒmen yào gǎnxiè dǎng, gēn dǎng zǒu. 4. Dǎng zuò de shì dōu shì duì de. 5. Wǒ shì dàibiǎo qúnzhòng, bùshì dàibiǎo gèrén. 6. Wǒmen zhè shì mínzhǔ xuǎnjǔ, nǐ jiāoliú jiù bù héshì, bù xuǎn nǐ, nǐ jiù bù yào "gè" rén.
1. "I never cast a dissenting vote." 2. "'Loyalty and sincerity' can describe my whole life." 3. "We should be thankful to the Party and follow the Party." 4. "Everything that the Party does is correct." 5. "I represent the masses, not myself." 6. "These elections of ours are democratic. It's not fitting to go out and campaign. If [somebody doesn't want] to elect you, then you shouldn't go out and trouble [VHM: she uses a Shanxi colloquial expression] them." With principles such as these, no wonder she has gotten "reelected" 12 times!
[Many thanks to Gianni Wan, Fangyi Cheng, and Sanping Chen]