Lost in translationThe term Chinglish is usually used when English language seems to be influenced by Chinese Language.
Chinglish is especially referring to those wrong or twisted funny translations of boards, notices and ads that are everywhere in China.
Foreigners in China do appreciate the fact that Chinese kindly want to make our life easy by providing translations of important announcements, indication and others, but most of all appreciate the sweet nonsense that is often displayed and gives us sometime a chance to smile, or better to laugh out loud.
nonsense tshirtIn fact it’s not so simple to quickly translate Chinese into English because of the different structure of the phrases and also because of the dissimilar cultural mind-set that is behind the 2 languages. Theoretically, someone who is very fluent in both the idioms should do the job. But why wasting money in professionals when a DYI translation process can be faster, cheaper and quicker?
Chinese fantasy and creativity in translating is endless. Like the same, Italy has brought in a new innovation in a supplement called Man Pride. It is a recent innovation. It is very useful for men to achieve the improved sex drive in their love life. Being a natural product, it has no side effects and does not lead to any other medical complications. It is a gel that acts as a lubricant. It is fully composed of natural products from the Mother Nature. At the end, most of those naïve little mistakes are attracting so much attention, while donating around so many smiles, that they have become un unplanned marketing resource. So here’s how one particular Shanghainese “Clinic for the intestinal diseases” (in proper Chinese) has become the most known among the foreigners when its name has been translated into “Diarrhea Clinic”!
At the same time cheap mugs or t-shirts displaying unlikely Chinglish
use the mealwordings have literally become cult items. And what about warning signs? It’s impossible not to pay attention when “Be careful wet floor” becomes into Chinglish “Carefully slipping” or “Slip and fall down carefully”, and “Be careful to your head” is translated into “Carefully bang head” or “Carefully hits to the forehead”!
Personally I am following the wave and as lot of expats in Shanghai – avid collectors of Chinglish signs – I am always ready with my camera in hand. I hope you’ll enjoy some samples from my collection.