09 April, 2007

Chinglish on Beijing's signs shocks foreigners

What strikes foreign visitors the most in Beijing may not be the interesting customs, unique architecture and enticing dishes, but the Chinglish on signs.

China Centennial Altar is a landmark building completed in 1999 to greet the new millennium. However, a name plate near the front door reads "China Centennial Temple" and another sign about 50 meters away confidently offers "China Centennial Monument."

Some menus of Chinese dishes are also confusing. The "Italian spaghetti" is translated into "ideas' powder," which derives from the literal translation of the Chinese name.

A thick wheat-based noodle in Japanese cuisine is literally translated according to the Chinese name into "fry the dark winter in the sun's way," which makes no sense at all.

To Jill, an Australian student in Beijing, the Chinglish translations she has collected serve as a chronic laughing stock.

"It is not too difficult for the foreigners who know some Chinese to understand the Chinglish although the translations are very funny," said Jill, who has taken almost 100 pictures of the ridiculous translations.

In addition, some English translations seem horrible. In a restaurant menu, the name of a dish made of young chicken is translated into "young chicken without sex," which makes foreign customers flinch.

The signboard of a small noodle restaurant near the Beijing West Railway Station reads "face powder restaurant," because the two Chinese characters of "noodle" in a whole can be separately translated to "face" and "powder."

Seeing the translation on the sign, a foreigner named David said he would not eat there. He said, "I feel horrible!"

English language is catching on in China. About 250 million Chinese people are learning English as a second language, according to an estimation of the organizers of the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program, which is working hard to ensure all of Beijing's English signs are grammatically correct and free of "Chinglish" by the end of 2007.
(China Daily)

'No Noising' and 'Airline Pulp' named Top Chinglish Words of 2006

The Top Chinglish Words and Phrases of 2006 :

1. "No Noising". Translated as "quiet please!"

2. "Airline pulp." Food served aboard an airliner.

3. "Jumping umbrella". A hang-glider.

4. "Question Authority". Information Booth.

5. "Burnt meat biscuit." No it's not something to enjoy from the North of England but what is claimed to be bread dipped in a savory meat sauce.

Bonus: GLM's all-time favorite from previous surveys: "The Slippery are very crafty". Translation: Slippery when wet!

Visitors to the Beijing Olympics may need to pack a dictionary if they are not to be bamboozled by phrases such "no noising", "airline pulp" and "jumping umbrella".

The terms, meaning quiet please, airplane meals and a hang glider, are all examples of 'Chinglish' - Chinese attempts to translate phrases into English, not always successfully.

Some of the phrase have become so common that they actually entered the English language, according to the Global Language Monitor (GLM), a San Diego-based group.

More Chinglish

1. In a Beijing hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.”

2. In a Shanghai hotel elevator:
“Please leave your values at the front desk.”

3. In a Hangzhou hotel:
The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid;

4. In a Jilin hotel:
“You are very invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

5. In a Wuxi dry cleaner:
Please drop your trousers here for best results.”

6. Outside a Tianjin clothing shop:
Order your summer suits quick. Because of big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.”

7. In a Xian tailor shop:
“Ladies may have a fit upstairs.”

8. In a Guilin hotel:
“Because of impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.”

9. An ad by Kunming dentist:
“Teeth extracted by the latest methodists.”

10. In a Hangzhou zoo:
“Please do not feed animals. If you have suitable food give it to the guard on duty.”

11. In a Taiyuan bar:
“Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.”

12. In a Huashan temple:
“It is forbidden to enter a woman. Even a foreigner if dressed as a man.”

If you’ve learned to speak fluent English, you must be a genius!
Pursue at your leisure, English lovers. Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn



Blogger lovegoddess said...

hhmm...with all due respect.. those cinapeks just like to translate english anyway they want eh?? it annoys me most of the time

April 09, 2007 10:31 PM  
Blogger Linken Lim said...

I suspect their use Babel Fish or Google translate to translate word by word :)
Just like "big horse"(大马) for Malaysia?

April 09, 2007 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Chas said...

This whole article is just begging to be done as a comedy script...hmmmm

July 31, 2008 9:02 AM  

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