"Please wait outside a noodle"

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From Engrish.com:

This is a variant translation of the same Chinese sentence that we studied in considerable depth in this post:

"Drawing a line in the noodles" (8/14/11)

The Chinese reads:

Qǐng zài yī mǐ xiàn wài děnghòu
"Please wait behind the one meter line"

In 2011, Google Translate messed that up as "Waiting outside in a noodle".  Now GT renders it nicely as "Please wait outside the one-meter line".  Baidu Fanyi has the same, and Microsoft Bing has "Please wait one meter away".  But Babel Fish gives "Please wait outside rice-flour noodle." Bingo!!

The sign at the China Eastern airlines check-in counter pictured in the 2011 post had:  "Please wait outside rice-flour noodle."  The post explains in detail how they (Babel Fish) arrived at "rice flour noodle" for "one meter line".

See also the 14th item here:  "Chinglish bumper crop" (9/21/15)

[h.t. John Rohsenow]


  1. John Swindle said,

    December 30, 2020 @ 12:24 am

    Despite the unavoidable setbacks you describe, by the end of this century the English-language expression "one-meter line" will have been completely replaced by "rice-flour noodle."

  2. Twill said,

    December 30, 2020 @ 3:41 am

    "Noodle" stands in pretty well for a short period of time, which is how I first read "please wait outside a noodle". You might expect mixian to stand untranslated, as the endless loanwords for pasta and its variants do, but then you also might also expect machine translators to able to parse 一米线 as [一米]线 and not 一[米线].

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