Tuesday, April 01, 2008

No joke, fools, rather a mystery.

Question of this year's April Fools' Day:

How did an online encyclopedia get into those Yunnan 云南 fungi dishes?

Shot in Beijing, many thanks to Doryun!


At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

I think what you are doing is a great help to our public services. However could you please stay off the ludicrous cultural suggestions in your articles, which's getting a tad annoying? How much do you really know about the Chinese culture and reasons behind lots of behaviors. I'm a Chinese living in Germany. Not to counterattact you or anything, just trying to make a point, have you ever heard how the Germans interpret your own language into English? Du musst, you must, eventhough loads of times it means "you have to". It sounds quite offensive sometimes. But when I know more about the German language and the logic behind it, accepting it is much easier. Still many thanks to you for helping us to improve our public English, just pl.......s don't be another CNN!

At 7:10 AM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. To be honest, I am not sure what you are referring to. This site deals with Chinglish in an amusing way, amusing for both non-Chinese and Chinese, since many netizens from the PRC have told me so. This site's aim is to preserve a linguistic phenomenon which I think is uniquely Chinese and offers a lot of insight into the Chinese mind.

How much do I know about the Chinese culture? Not much, really, but enough to have written two books about it. Both are available on amazon. http://www.amazon.de/Welcome-presence-Abenteuer-Alltag-China/dp/398113270X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207039046&sr=8-1

It is always interesting when someone points out the linguistic failures of Germans as if I wasn't aware of them. I am much more critical of my nation's linguistic inabilities than of China's (especially with all the education available over there), this is just not the topic here.

Don't forget: This site is about passion, not mockery.



P.S. Maybe you can help with the Wikipedia dishes?

At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Hello,olr. I'm working for my final paper and the topic is about Chinglish. While writing, I quoted what you said in your book.Could you do me a favour and tell me in which page can this sentence"The might of online translation tools" be found? I really needs you help.
My heartfelt thanks.
Best wishes.

At 7:22 AM, Blogger bratrice wrote ...

I do like this menu and want to try all these different types of wikipedia.

Would that be a gimmick for the restaurant to promot?

At 7:26 PM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

This post has been removed by the author.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

Hi Allen,

not really sure what you mean. If you have the book yourself, please take a look at the page number, the online post is here.



P.S. Do you mind sending a copy of your paper to me - chinglish at olliradtke.de?

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

hi olr
i have a pic about chinglish

how do i send to you?

At 11:08 AM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

Have you taken it yourself?

Please send it to chinglish at olliradtke.de.



At 2:53 AM, Blogger codeman38 wrote ...

This BoingBoing post has a comment (near the end) that suggests a pretty likely origin: that at one point, "Wikipedia" was the first English word which showed up in a Google search result for 鸡枞, and the menu writer naturally assumed it was a translation!

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Hi olr,

I'd like to recommend one. Here is the url of one translation.

I shot it in Diqing Yunnan last Oct.


At 6:17 AM, Blogger Going2China wrote ...

Funny signs still all over China despite the Olympic efforts. Good collection.

@Anonymous: Nobody sys that Germans speak better English. Au contraire. Why not start blogging about Deutlish!?

Wanna see some more Chinglish? Check my Blog at

Cheers from Chongqing, Michael

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Fat Roland wrote ...

I think anonymous' criticisms at the top are haresh and unfounded. Keep going, olr, you've got the balance just right.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger Fat Roland wrote ...

I think I may have spelled 'harsh' wrong in that last comment.

Ironic, considering this blog's subject matter...

At 9:39 AM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

Thanks, Fatboy :).

No worries about mistakes, that's a sign of passion...



At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...


At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Jerry wrote ...

lol what????
most chinglish come from bad dictionaries but this one has got to be intentional. They must have hired a wikipedia fan for a translator.

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

너무 재미있어요.ㅎㅎ.화이팅.chinglish은 언어학중의 소중한 재산입니다.

At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Some people in China like to use an annoying and CPU-power-hunger PC program called "golden mountain dictionary" (something like this). It gives "ok" translations but they only pick the 1st translation from the list without looking/thinking.

It drove me crazy when I was teaching design class for Chinese oversea students in Canada.

At 5:34 AM, Blogger Meandering in the trend...... wrote ...

In fact, there is a national standard for menu translation, though that is not enough for the abundant varieties of dishes and materials, especially for those with special cooking method and local style. As for Kingsoft Dictionary, literally Jinshan Ciba, I have some gratitude to it during my early studies. However, we still have to distinguish those definitions on our own, for the shades of meanings of words are quite different.


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