July 21, 2011

N is for Notice

Today I share with you merely three of countless poorly translated notices and signs I've come across over the last decades of traveling throughout China. They are from my archives, from a time when digital photo quality did not match today's.

Hebei, 2004
Guangdong, 2005
Hunan, 2005

You get the gist, right?

My purpose is not to make fun, just have a little fun. Consider this: Being the third or fourth largest nation on earth in size (tied with the USA, depending on how areas are measured), with the largest population (over 20%), and not using the Roman alphabet, it's not really too surprising that China is a rich source for such bloopers. Yet I've seen them everywhere, even, and thus more reproachfully, in English-speaking countries.

There are entire websites devoted to these kind of funny notices. These three of mine join Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is N and Lesley's Signs, Signs.

A note to my blogger friends in Ontario: There are a slew of free or near-free fun ethnic events happening in the Toronto area this week. Check out what's on at the Toronto Multicultural Calendar Blog. And tell Ruth I sent you.

38 comments:

Halcyon said...

I have some funny ones from China too. At least they are trying! :)

EG Wow said...

Ha! Yes, funny. I'm sure English-speaking attempts at writing Chinese are just as funny.

ewok1993 said...

I have seen quite a few of these floating around the net. They are funny.

Ms. Becky said...

well, it happens. and it humors us, so I guess that's a good thing? thanks for your kind response to my question regarding street photography Francisca. It was very helpful. I hope you're having a most joyful week!

cieldequimper said...

:-)

Andy said...

Google does all of my translations. Do think Google is getting even for the Chinese trying to hack them?

VioletSky said...

I wonder, in the case of Chinese and Japanese signs especially, if there isn't a certain pride in these malapropisms. or simply a lack of interest. either way it is very amusing!

Leckeres für Mensch und Katze said...

Chinese signs looks always best :)

Dina said...

The first is so funny, my favorite. :)

RedPat said...

It's like reading some instruction manuals. They do much better than I would going the other way!

Jacob said...

I think I'll have to pass on the Toronto activities...it's too far to drive! :-)

But I do like the signs. Not at all unlike the work of the 8th-graders I used to teach (who should have known better!)...

Hope you're doing well!

Ann said...

I had to read many times that genital translation. So funny.

You travel a lot, so you have to stay inside an automatic gate?

In fact, I stayed with someone in a private island, I really felt like a prisoner.

I was fortunate not to live behind such bars, LOL. We had the option of living in a High Rise Condo with elevators, or a low rise 4 to 5 storeys where I had to climb the stairs. I didn’t want to be stuck in a elevator if it broke.

In deed, my 60 something friends were stuck in an elevator for 6 hours. In another case, when they were fixing the elevators, it was either a lock in or lock out.They gave the notification, on Sunday, we are fixing the elevator from10 am to 5 pm, at this time , you either stay out or stay in.

Lesley said...

I'm not sure I want to be under that 'heavy piece of balance'.
You must have an extremely well organized filing system for your photos!

Dianne said...

I love 'heavy place of balance'
I'm going to put that on my own peronal scale ;)

Kay L. Davies said...

What fun reading, Francisca. I included a couple of poorly-translated signs from the Three Gorges Dam in my blog some time ago, but I can sincerely say I'm glad I don't have to do any translating. What job, to get the idiom expressed correctly.
We have a Chinese restaurant called "Sizzling House" and people never know what it's supposed to mean. I guess if I had to suggest a better name for it, I might suggest "Sizzling Grill" but still, I'm glad it's not my job.

—Kay, Alberta, Canada

Kim, USA said...

This is funny and yes at least they really tried as long as you can read it and understand it, that's it, life has to continue hehehehe. In the Philippines there are so many misspelled words and funny signs too can't wait you to find them hehehe. Happy Thursday Francisca!!

Signs

Arti said...

Hi Francisca,
This was a fun read... You will find many such bloopers in my country India too!!! Loved this though!
Have a fabulous week ahead:)

Paula said...

These are really funny. I have the opportunity to deal with a Japanese company through work and get a kick from time to time out of the wording in the emails they send, as I'm sure they do mine as well.

Pat said...

These are funny!

H said...

Very funny. These made me smile. There is much logic in the 'heavy balance' notice though :)

joo said...

Wow, you made me laugh and than I started thinking about translations here - you would be surprised!!
By the way, Bucovina is a must! No picture can show the atmosphere and beauty of those monasteries. As for weather, it was a bit cold and rainy all the time!
Hugs:)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

These were fun!

jfb57 said...

These are brilliant! Well spotted!

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

They are very funny. I'm laugh whenever I see bloopers. Great captures.

I'm your newest follower.

lissa said...

it's a little fun to read them, I've seen many of these posted on the web. I'm just wondering with all the modern technology, ie, the web, they could have them easily correct - why they don't.

suppose, they kept it that way so people can have fun with them.

have a sweet day.

Genie said...

Love the signs...I have never to been to China, but 2 of my school teacher friends left the US 10 years ago and LOVE teaching over there. They have managed to travel that part of the world and have glorious stories to tell. Genie

Pondside said...

I'd love to be in Toronto for just one of their summer festivals - but perhaps not in the heat that is currently making life difficult there!
The signs make me smile too - but good for them for making such an effort!

T. Becque said...

Those are funny! But if I were there, I'd definitely appreciate those signs, at least I'd have some idea.
Your story on my photo made me laugh, and actually it was pretty accurate, I was like a child in a candy shop that couldn't have any!

JM said...

I should have done this in my travels too! Actually I can start taking shots at english menus in cheap restaurants around here and I guess we will all LOL! :-) The top shot is precious! :-)))

Luna Miranda said...

i wonder what is the "heavy place of balance".:p i've seen lots of funny signs around here, too, and in the provinces. just this afternoon, i saw one in Pasig but wasn't able to multitask.:p

Barbara Rosenzweig said...

Yes, I remember when we were in Hong Kong going to see the Chinese Opera. It was almost as much fun reading the translation of the stories and songs, as it was to listen to the music!

Thanks for sharing.

Andy said...

These are indeed funny, but I think we could find such bloopers all over the world if we look hard enough.

Thanks for sharing.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Those are pretty funny, but they get the point across -- even I would understand them. And I would hate to think about US citizens trying to translate our signs into Chinese. Not gonna happen! At least other countries try harder! (I don't know any Chinese bloggers, but I always feel guilty when I have to translate blogs from, say, Sweden or France or Japan of Germany (where I do have bloggers I look at occasionally).

Evelyn said...

Yeah, it is fun. When in China, I also love reading the text on Tshirts. Lots of bloopers...

Kaori said...

I see things like that all the time! So funny! It's really hard using a different language when you really don't know it that well, I know the feeling well ;D

Jenny said...

What a nifty link.

Thanks for the smile.

A+

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

It's always fun to see bloopers in signs...or misspellings...

Blessings & Aloha!
...having fun catching up on some blog reading! If you get a chance to stop by...please leave a comment so that I know you were there :o)

myorii said...

These are pretty funny :)