May 26, 2010

Lost in Translation

In the last twenty years or so, English has become an integral part of the Chinese education curriculum. Lessons typically begin in seventh grade and the requirement lasts well into graduate school. Before receiving his bachelor's degree, any non-English major must pass the standardized CET, Level 4 exam. If he chooses to get a master's, the Chinese student must also pass the CET, Level 6 exam. English majors have similar examinations that are probably more difficult.

Unfortunately, short of replacing Chinese with English as the first language in China, it is difficult to make every citizen universally proficient. Below are a few examples where English has been used to hilarious effect...

1. On a college campus..
Chinese: "让我们的校园充满爱"
English: "Let's make love everywhere in our school."
(Should really be: Let's fill our campus with love)

2. In a restaurant
English: Mixed seafood Iraq government office surface
(Should really be: E-fu noodles with vegetable and seafood)

3. Tianshen Street, Shanghai
English: The numerical code flushes India
(Should really be: Digital printing)

4. In a Nanchang Uprising museum in Jiangxi Province

English: Go go come.
(Should really be: [Sorry, I have no idea what the owner is trying to express...])

English: Mobilephone electrizing
(Should really be: [For charging cellphone])

7. At a bar
English: Unhappy Hour PM 11:00-AM 11:00
(Should really be: [...])

English: Postcard mono plize
(Should really be: Postcard store)

English: Slip and fall down carefully
(Should really be: Caution! Slippery!)

English: Do drunken driving
(Should really be: Drunk driving prohibited)
English: Please forgive to be incontinent for interior decoration
(Should really be: Interior decoration in progress. Please forgive the inconvenience)



  1. This is very funny. The examples on a college campus and the caution;Slippery are very funny. I think English should be the second language for China not the first.

  2. Carefully slip and fall down!


Veggie Discourse - Blogged