Contraceptive printing room

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Gianni Wan sent in this bizarre translation:

The Chinese characters read:

jìshēngyàojù shì 计生葯具室 ("contraceptives room")

I think that perhaps the room doubles as a room for contraceptives and a room for printing. There's no way, so far as I can tell, to get from jìshēngyàojù shì 计生葯具室 ("contraceptives room") to "printing room". Another possibility is that the English translations for a number of rooms got mixed up when the signs were printed, in which case we could expect to find other totally incongruous "translations" in the same building.

[Thanks to Fangyi Cheng and Rebecca Fu]


  1. David Morris said,

    June 20, 2014 @ 8:36 am

    It's about reproduction, isn't it?

  2. Ellen K. said,

    June 20, 2014 @ 8:40 am

    What would a room for contraceptives be?

  3. NW said,

    June 20, 2014 @ 9:40 am

    A condorm.

  4. Nathan said,

    June 20, 2014 @ 9:48 am

    What sort of building requires a "room for contraceptives"? Is this a hotel, restaurant, school, church, hospital, gym, or government office?

    A condominium, perhaps?

  5. Keith said,

    June 20, 2014 @ 11:00 am

    Maybe the printing is done with a rubber stamp?

  6. Rubrick said,

    June 20, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

    I'm guessing inkjet printing….

  7. Victor Mair said,

    June 20, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

    @Dear All

    Thank you for your most clever comments. Once more you have reminded me why it is such a pleasure to write for Language Log. You guys are the best! Waking up here in Hong Kong to all of your great notes gave a rip-roaring, mirthful beginning to my day.

  8. rootlesscosmo said,

    June 20, 2014 @ 7:21 pm

    Old joke: "Have you ever seen what's printed on a condom?' "No, what?" "Well, you have to unroll it all the way."

  9. Dave Cragin said,

    June 21, 2014 @ 8:10 pm

    When I was in college, the Zoology department had a room wryly labeled "Non-Biological Reproduction" – It was the copy/xerox room.

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