Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Once is not enough. (countdown - 9!)

欢迎 huan1ying2 - literally "joyfully receive" - welcome
您 nin2 - you (as opposed to thou)
再次 zai4 ci4 - again
光临 guang1lin2 - literally "(your) valued arrival" - your presence

Western supermarkets write: "Please come again soon".

Taken at the Hengji Mall 恒基商城 in Beijing 北京. Thanks, Werner!

P.S. For all English natives: test your knowledge of German on the subtle difference between Sie and Du (you and thou).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

History repeating, indeed. (countdown - 10!)

And to proof that Chinese sign-makers can still do it:
this is taken on a Yangtze (Changjiang) 长江 cruiser between Chongqing 重庆 and Yichang 宜昌.

"间手洗" is toilet/toilets 洗 xi3 手 shou3 间 jian1 (literally the "wash hand(s) room") layouted from right to left.

Many thanks to David!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

History repeating.

Hairdresser shops in Shanghai do it, so toilet signs can do it, too.
For me this is a highly creative approach to langugage. "We wrote from right to left for thousands of years, so why can't we do the same with those simple Latin letters".

By the way, this is the oldest Chinglish photograph in my collection.

Taken on the southern island of Hainan 海南 in 1981 (!). Thanks very much, Bernd.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Readers' Response.


I received 147 new Chinglish beauties in two days...

Don't know what to say, except:

This means an awful lot of work.


Thanks to everyone who is feeding this project!



Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You got mail.

This morning, I wondered why my mail program was so slow. Then I realized that it just took longer than usual to download the 200+ mails to my Chinglish account, clearly indicating: Spiegel Online published my article.
Die Sache mit dem Ding

Die Schilder, die Chinas Beamte per Wörterbuch und Internet-Übersetzungsdienst kreieren, haben es Oliver Lutz Radtke angetan. Der Deutsche sammelt diese Nebenwirkungen der Globalisierung. In SPIEGEL ONLINE schildert er, welche Poesie durch die bizarren Übersetzungen entsteht. read more...

Dear fellow China travellers and students, please continue your search!

As Beijing's frantic sweeping of everything Chinglish enters its final year before the Olypmics, I need your continuous support to conserve a linguistic treasure that is worth every letter.

I am thankful for every Chinglish beauty you can send me to chinglish at olliradtke.de.



Monday, June 11, 2007

"Welcome to presence" nun auch als eBook.

Für meine deutschsprachigen Leser freue ich mich, meinen Erstling als eBook bekannt geben zu können.

Oliver Lutz Radtke
"Welcome to presence" -
Abenteuer Alltag in China
Dryas Verlag, 300 Seiten
ISBN: 978-3-9811327-0-0

Als eBook erhältlich bei mobipocket.com.

Wer doch lieber Bücher in Papierform liest: das Paperback bei amazon.de.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Letter to the editor

Reader Yongcheng Li from St. Augustine, Florida sent me his thoughts on the translation of an Anthony Hopkins classic

"The silence of the lambs" is a 1988 novel by Thomas Harris and also a 1991 academy award-winning film directed by Jonathan Demme. The Chinese translation of the title has always been 沉默的羔羊 (meaning the silent lambs).

I have never seen any "silent lamb" either in the movie or in the novel. What I saw were only bleating lambs. The movie was about overcoming of Starling's phychological trouble she had since her childhood of the poor lambs, and herself. At the end of the movie, Starling was startled when she received a phone call from Lecter. He asked her if the lambs had stopped screaming, and promised her that he will not come after her, and that he expected the same courtesy.

The actual meaning of "the silence of the lambs" is "making the screaming lambs silent". It is definitely not "the silent lambs". The title could better, in fact, be translated to 哀叫的羔羊 (the bleating lambs).

What do you say?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fireworks, please.

Today I celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Chinglish.de.

What started as a one man-project in 2005 is now ... still a one-man project, but the support of you fellow bloggers and China travellers has grown tremendously.

Thank you very much.

After being mentioned in the Wall Street Journal this little blog received and is still receiving media attention from the US, China and Germany. Even Spanish and Czech newspapers have taken an interest.

At the moment I get about five to ten Chinglish beauties a week, making it an ever growing backlog for the next few months. But that doesn't mean you should stop sending them in!

As Beijing's frantic search for everything Chinglish enters its final year before the Olypmics, I need your continuous support to find and conserve a linguistic phenomenon that is worth every letter.

Just remember:

(taken at the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum 陕西历史博物馆, Xi'an 西安)

All the best,


Saturday, June 02, 2007

I try my best.

This is a wonderful example for the many literal translations from Chinese into English.

小心 xiao3xin1 pay attention to, beware of (but can also be used as an imperative "Be careful")

滑 hua2 slip

倒 dao3 fall, slide

Since 滑倒 is used here to explain basically the same, that is slipping and/or sliding (in any case, some movement that will eventually hurt a lot), it really is suffice to say "Caution: slippery floor".

Thanks, Aron!