Sino-Japanese faux ami

« previous post | next post »

Nathan Hopson saw this sign on the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau.

Jisuberi 地滑り means "landslide" in Japanese. Nathan, a Japanese specialist, had a moment of confusion before he noticed the English.  Fortunately, the English on the sign translates the Chinese, xiǎoxīn dì huá 小心地滑, correctly.

This four character warning is actually (in)famous for causing a flood of Chinglish renderings (see also here), e.g.:  "carefully slide", "carefully slipping", "slip carefully!", "beware of slippery", "beware slippery", "caution, slip", "be careful of floor slide", "cautio! wet floor!", "Gaution Wet Floor", "care fully slide",  "watch your steps", "wet flool!", "be careful of landslide", "careful landslip", etc. For more, see: "Slip carefully" (May 6, 2014).


  1. Chas Belov said,

    April 25, 2017 @ 2:16 am

    Literally "small heart ground wet" (small heart=caution, which I knew, and, apparently ground wet=slippery, which I didn't).

  2. John Swindle said,

    April 25, 2017 @ 3:52 am

    Literally "ground slippery" rather than "ground wet."

  3. Lizzy Fang said,

    May 1, 2017 @ 7:49 pm

    Actually it is quite common to see those translation errors in China. I can give you some other examples, like "The garbage throws in here. The cigarette butt throws in absolutely not to", which means" Gabage only, not for cigarette butt". Another example is "Tourists Stop", which means"Staff Only". You can see a lot of signs being wrongly translated like this. people who do those translation work are not professionals,they usually use a variety of translation tools or electronic dictionaries on the market to translate those signs. Most of the signs are translated word-to-word, so foreign guests will always feel confused seeing them. English is one of the major international languages in the world and it is also the most widely used language in the world. As more and more foreigne people travel to China, the appearance of Chinese-English signs are for better communication between Chinese and foreign people.The relevant departments in Beijing have put in place the "Guidelines for the Implementation of English Translation of Bilingual Signs in Public Places" at the end of 2006 which overing five aspects including business, culture, scenic spots, traffic and health care. We are working on it although there is still a long way to correct all the translation errors oin the whole country.

RSS feed for comments on this post