Saturday, September 29, 2007

What is copyright anyway?

My dear Chinese teacher Gu Wen sent me this article today:

Turns out, all content of this picture-only entry was taken from

Dear Wenxue City 文学城 member, besides not asking, there isn't even a single reference to where the pictures are coming from.

How would Singapore respond to that: Why you so bad, hor?

No, seriously, bad move. You don't have to queue. But be a decent visitor. And state your sources.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

世界博览 - 2007年 第9期 - ”博客版“

<中国通> “chinglish”记录本



Tuesday, September 18, 2007


A fellow Chinglish connaisseur sent me this yesterday:
By the way, there's a great sign at the Martyr's Park in Guangzhou which reads something like:

"The folllng activtes srctly probittd: #11 Whooplah/Paint".

God only knows what they had in mind! If I ever go back there I promise to get a shot of it for the collection.
第一Martyr's Park在哪里?是黄花岗吗?




P.S. 别忘记继续参加上个帖子的翻译比赛... 谢谢!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Poetry contest.

A friend of mine sent me this sign from Yunan's 云南 famous 石林 Stone forest.

Before anyone starts to wonder what is wrong here:
The English translation is correct, but lifeless, especially compared to the rhyming and the spirit of the Chinese original.

Let us find a translation that captures the original poetry better!

I am looking forward to your creative postings.

Thanks for the "housekeeping", Shujun!

Update 24 hours later

Leading the poetry race insofar:

"We are tiny, we are shy.
Step on us and we will die."

Good job, Siak!

Update 72 hours later

The stuff is getting more and more elaborate... At the moment I prefer a slightly revised version of Siak's original poem, thanks go to an unfortunately anonymous English teacher from Shanghai Chris, who works as an English teacher in Zhejiang province!

"We are tiny, we are shy.
Without trampling you pass by."

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Dear fellow Chinglish readers,

just to let you know with what kind of level of communication I have to deal on a regular basis, I'm going to display a recent anonymous comment that I would normally reject for obvious reasons:
this is ain't funny, man!i just dont get it, what u tring 2 express?r u tring 2 say how stupid chinese are, or what?!i believe if you learn chinese, you could be much more stupid than this! and, if you really got plenty time to do this kind of shit, you should spend some time to take care of your "thing"!!!!teach you one first!you stupid pussy!

I don't know where to begin with this one, sigh...

1. If you don't agree with my interests, I'm sure there are million other websites that may interest you more. Bye bye.

2. If you don't "get it", why assuming something without having a clue in the first place? That is not only illogical, but really dumb, sorry.

3. About learning Chinese: 我是德国海德堡大学汉学系毕业。我真希望你先了解这个博客的目标,才敢批评。我给你看一些中国媒体和我自己写的稿子,希望你先读,才说。最后,拜托你,少一点用脏话,好吗?谢谢。

Deutsche Welle 德国之声
to the article >>

World Vision 世界博览
"Chinglish" 记录本
to the article (PDF)>>

4. Why the rude language? Nothing has been and will ever be gained from that.

5. I don't have plenty of time, but part of my rare free time just goes into what I deem a valuable hobby. If this does not amuse, cf. point 1.



Saturday, September 15, 2007

Book Review #01

I'm happy to quote from the first book review of "Chinglish - Found in Translation".

Thanks, Kam!

While it is undoubtedly embarrassing to the Asian community to see snapshots of so many inscrutable phrases posted alongside Chinese characters, this good-natured tome should be seen as doing a service if it causes China to correct the problem by the time the Olympic torch is lit.
source: Kam Williams, Sep 04 2007, News Blaze

Dustbin poetry.

One of the most recurring Chinglish themes is the world of recycling. An ecological awareness is definitely spreading in China, albeit slowly, but its terminology is all the more creative, though. This is a nationwide phenomenon if you look at the locations below.

1,2 Lingshan Buddhist Statue 灵山大佛 in Wuxi 无锡, Jiangsu 江苏 province. Many thanks, Leo!

3 Longmen Grottos 龙门石窟 in Luoyang 洛阳, Henan 河南 province.
Many thanks, Jörg!

4 Lama Temple 雍和宫 in Beijing 北京.
Many thanks, Cora!

5 Summer Palace in Chengde 承德, Hebei 河北 province.
Many thanks, Michael!

My simple, much less poetic suggestion: recyclable/non-recycable.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shenzhen does it, too.

Private eye Cristin reports:

The picture was taken in downtown Shenzhen a few days ago. The mistakes are quite obvious and can actually cause confusions.
I would put the translations as: Caution for deep water! No Swimming!

Thanks, Cristin!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's all about next year.

This is a very interesting website run by the official China Daily promoting the fight against everything Chinglish. The site offers many Chinglish examples as well as correct translations and expert opinions. It also diligently collects nationwide reports on the Chinglish phenomenon (or rather a selection of success stories of the fight against it).

What strikes me most - in its very Chinese approach - is the list of small personal features of the site's outstanding contributors (almost all are university students) - the so-called jiucuo (correction) "纠错 007" with the three digit number intentionally referring to Her Majesty's master spy, I guess.

This is, again, a very smart move in China's ever increasingly competitive society - especially in the education sector - to link love for the mother country with your university career and a continuous public call for help.

Or sweet and short in 8 characters: 以纠错为祖国争光。

(screenshots taken from

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A tough one. For Y55.

Suggestions, anyone?

My private eye Silvano reported from Xi'an 西安:

Too bad I can't remember the name of the restaurant to which the menu belonged, and actually, it carried some other curious items, such as Two Human Life Set Menu (i.e. 二人世界套餐) etc, but under the noses of the waitresses, we couldn't find a chance to take more pictures without embarrassing them. That made me really want to steal it!

The restaurant is a chain, with a big sign stating "台北牛排" and stairs leading up to the second floor where it actually is. The interior design is a mixture of many tacky styles, with swings instead of chairs for some tables. The one where I took the picture is at an intersection on 东大街.

Thanks, Silvano.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Time's tickin' ...

From the BBC website:
China dishes up menu translations

China is working hard to present a positive image during the Games
China is taking action on the English translations of its restaurant menus in its campaign to brush up the country's image for next year's Olympics.
The Beijing Tourism Bureau has released a list of 2,753 dishes and drinks it thinks could do with a wording rethink. to the article >> offers a selection:

1 夫妻肺片 Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce
2 红烧狮子头 Stewed Pork Ball in Brown Sauce
3 回锅肉片 Sautéed Sliced Pork with Pepper and Chili
4 酱猪手 Braised Pig Feet in Brown Sauce
5 京酱肉丝 Sautéed Shredded Pork in Sweet Bean Sauce
6 木须肉 Sautéed Sliced Pork,Eggs and Black Fungus
7 糖醋排骨 Sweet and Sour SpareRibs
8 四喜丸子 Four-Joy Meatballs (Meat Balls Braised with Brown Sauce)
9 当红炸子鸡 Deep-Fried Chicken
10 宫保鸡丁 Kung Pao Chicken

Does anyone know where to get the full list?

Here's the download:
北京市菜单英文译法(讨论稿) Regulations for the English Translations of Menus in Beijing City - Draft version (Word file)

To all my fellow Chinglish custodians out there: Please shoot as many menus as possible!