Archive for Lost in translation

Loophole-ridden 'screenplay' concocted by anti-China forces

[This is a guest post by Jichang Lulu]

This statement, attributed to the new Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman of the PRC, reinforced my impression that Relevant Organs (including exoprop media like the Gobar Times (Huánqiú shǐbào 环球屎报 [Global Shit News], a pun for Huánqiú shíbào 环球时报 [Global Times], for which see "Dung Times" [3/14/18])) often start generating unusually quaint English when they go into full patriot mode.

> This is a totally absurd, loophole-ridden 'screenplay' concocted by anti-China forces…

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Eraser from Muji

From Anne Henochowicz:


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Sharing joys with birds

Vito Acosta sent in this photograph of a sign at Tianmu Lake ( Tiānmù hú 天目湖) in Jiangsu:

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No watching and no walking

Bryan Van Norden sent in this sign that he found here:

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Don't eat and don't drink

Wang Tong sent in this photograph of a sign which a friend of hers took during a visit to Japan.  The Chinese translation is quite amusing.

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Explosion Cheese Durian Pie

From Fuchsia Dunlop's Facebook page (taken in Xi'an):


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Japlish and linguistic singularity hypotheses

[This is a guest post by Nathan Hopson]

I wanted to share two photos with examples of Japlish. One appears to be the result of a quirky machine translation.

That's the "Training room area guidelines" from the municipal sports center near my home (the only gym I can afford on my salary). The offending passage is at the bottom:

"Please use a barbell and a dumbell with a chisel in this free weight area."

This novel use of a carving and gouging implement struck me as perhaps not so much a curious aspect of inscrutable Oriental culture as instead the hallmark of machine translation gone facepalmingly awry.

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One way to get rid of Chinglish

From Chenfeng Wang:

These were signs in a student cafeteria in Tsinghua University, three years ago. They were taken down after the first day the cafeteria opened, because students were very, very angry about the improper English, and even thought that it was a shame for the top university to have these signs. (Obviously they were made by the staff who didn't know much English.)

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Discarded box

Photograph taken by Yuanfei Wang at the Hangzhou Xiaoshan airport:

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One dyadic station shopping head elects

Somebody sent me this sign from a supermarket in China:

Yí zhàn shì gòuwù de shǒuxuǎn

一站式购物的首选

One dyadic station shopping head elects

This is one of the most bizarre specimens of Chinglish I've ever encountered.

If we omit "dyadic", the rest of it is easy to figure out (it should be "First choice for one-stop shopping" — no sweat).  Usually, even when a translation is incredibly peculiar, it doesn't take me long to figure out where the translator (whether human or machine) went wrong.  In this case, "dyadic" is so unusual, yet so specific, that I figured it must have had some basis, otherwise the translator would not have gone to the trouble of inserting it out of thin air (pingkong 凭空).

I was hooked.  I had to figure out where "dyadic" came from.

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Between pee and bad

Two delightful Chinglish specimens submitted by Karen Yang:

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Help through French puberty for sale

Shared by David Cowhig:

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