Archive for Lost in translation

Google Translate Sabotage, part 2

This is all over the Chinese internet:


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Chinglish cornucopia

Photos taken and curated (also here) by Ruan Qi:

1. "Chī duōshǎo ná duōshǎo 吃多少拿多少" – "Take as much AS YOU CAN" –> "Take as much as you eat".

This is from a hotel in Shaoxing, Zhejiang, serving buffet.

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Lucky eating you

Sign at a shop in Changzhou, Jiangsu, specifically at the Computer City mall:

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"Please wait outside a noodle"

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Birthday patty

Liwei Jiao sent in this screenshot:

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Translation loops

From Jeff DeMarco:

I’m sure you’ve seen the Facebook translation artifact where it repeats “and I’m going to go to the middle of the day.” This post does that and something similar with “of the 912th.” I keep advising Facebook that these are unintelligible, but they seem to be a low priority.

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It is cool to f*** the empress

Superb piece of Chinglish that popped up in Alex Baumans' Facebook feed:

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Pibe → urchin?

David Lobina writes:

In the context of Diego Maradona's recent passing, I have been struck by how often he's been referred to as a 'street urchin' in the British press in the last 24 hours or so, and not only because the term sounds rather old-fashioned to me. One (nice) article from The Guardian is rather representative, as the author quotes a 1928 article from an Argentinian periodical on the footballing skills of Buenos Aires street children that uses the word 'pibe' to refer to these children, a word that usually refers to young people in general (at least according to the DRAE). In fact, I would say the reader understands that the author is talking about street children because of the context rather than from any particular word.

Anyway, what I find most curious about this is that the Guardian article glosses the word 'pibe' as 'urchin', which is not entirely correct, and many other newspapers in the UK seem to have run with this epithet for Maradona.

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Clipper Chinglish

From the person who bought the hair clipper described in this post:

"Card hair, and be careful to get an electric shock" (10/22/20)

They now tell us:

The hair clipper had to be returned. The report we are submitting (which was slightly more fun to write than it will be for them to read) says this:

Flimsy parts, very hard to fit together; utterly unintelligible instruction sheet with gibberish mistranslations from Chinese ("Above the thumb away can be unloaded segment"; "Close the interference"; "Trendy must hear clicking sound can be determined completely"). On the box it says "Trend of the choice" and "Comfortable enjoy". We did not comfortable enjoy: when we finally got a comb fitted to the cutting head, the clipper did not work — it did not cut hair.

A little plastic blade guard was stuck in a wrong position once we managed to get the cutting head fitted back on (it came out unexpectedly when we took a comb attachment off), so the device never cut a single hair. Back into the box.

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Card hair, and be careful to get an electric shock

From a correspondent in the Washington DC area who doesn't go out much and wanted to enjoy a haircut at home without wearing a mask:
On the factory packaging for a new electric hair clipper that was just delivered by Amazon to an address in Virginia:
and perhaps most mysterious of all, on the front of the box:
Not card hair?  I cannot help suspecting that someone has been translating from Chinese by selecting "English" on Google Translate and hitting the button.

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Thanks wasabi

Jonathan Silk wonders how this mistranslation from Latin to Dutch in Google Translate occurred the same way in English:

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World's worst superhero

From John pitchford's Twitter feed (@Johnnypapa64):

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Deformed blocks

From Graeme Orr:

I found this children’s toy at a local newsagency.  The manufacturer has the class to ape Lego and Minions, but not to hire an English translator.

I wonder what went awry.  ‘Deformed’ might connote blocks that can take any form?

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