The latest collection of "lost in translation" signs from the Mail Online offers some doozies:
But wait a minute! Though the English may sound strange, neither of these signs is mistranslated. That's what the Chinese really says:
yóuyú mǒuxiē yuányīn yánwù 由于某些原因延误
"delayed due to some reasons"
The plane is going to Amoy.
wénmíng jīchǎng 文明机场
This type of sign is standard throughout China.
These two signs are examples of what might be called "un-Chinglish". Technically, their "lost" quality is due not to mistranslation but to unfamiliarity with the sociocultural expectations of the circumstances in which they are found.
But this new Mail Online collection does have plenty of prime Chinglish samples, of which I here offer a small selection of the best:
qǐng bùyào bǎ yānhuī tánrù cǐchù! 请不要把烟灰弹入此处!
"Please don't bomb into the ash here!" –> "Please don't flick ashes here!"
The translation error arises from the fact that 弹 can be read both as dàn ("bomb") and tán ("flick; pluck").
xǐngxīn lóu 省心楼
THERETRDSPECTIENTOWER –> "tower / pavilion for introspection"
The first Language Log reader to figure out what the sign maker intended by "THERETRDSPECTIENTOWER" will receive a big brick of Puer tea.
huángdì jìng fáng jīzhǐ 皇帝净房基址
"The former address of the emperor's toilet" –> "Site / ruins of the emperor's bathroom".
The translators seem to have trouble with the English word for huǒ 火 and expressions that include it: FLRE, FIRO, FIRE FYDRANT.
One expression that gives the translators fits is
bùkě huíshōu 不可回收
"organism", "unredeemable", "unrecycling" –> "non-recyclable"
I've seen this one done in many other different ways, e.g., " irrecoverable", "no may reclaim", etc.
At the end of the photographs is a video which has dozens more instances of outstanding Chinglishisms. Keep your finger ready on the pause button because they pass by too quickly for full appreciation. Also, since many of the good parts are under the control bar, move your cursor to the bottom left for better visibility of important portions of the signs being shown.
[Tip of the hat to M. Kaan]