Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lost in Lanstration

Aaah, Chinglish! It's a bit unfair, poking fun at your host country's often poor command of English but when you see dodgy translations on public signs, products, in menus and so on, then I think it's fair game. Indeed, it becomes almost an art form. Exterminate Capitalism Lobster Package could be a track title by any number of interesting bands. One of my favourites is a sign pointing to the dining room which helpfully says: Translate server error. Sometimes they're nice and pithy (if not terribly appetising), like these two items on a menu: Saliva chicken and Strange juice.

Often they're just mumbo jumbo, like this one in a department store: To sell inside the commodity space all acceping money sipe supplys examineing the price service. Something about a price-comparing service?

Some are positively poetic. I love, for example: Your careful step keeps tiny grass invariably green and Show Mercy to the Slender Grass. So much better than 'Keep off'.

Others flout western euphemism and are positively in your face, like the 'deformed man' one (left)

But why don't people check?  Several reasons: they don't care; they want to do it themselves; it's too expensive; or they simply use dodgy translation software. And long may it continue.  

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