Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Me Talk Good English

I read an article today ["Bad English confounds Beijing teacher"] about how in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, there is a big push among the Chinese to improve their rather poorly translated English signs. I actuall recall many bizarrely worded signs when I was in China back in 2001 and doubt they can possibly fix them all in any reasonable amount of time. Some of them just have misspellings and typographical errors on them, which aren't such a big deal to me. The amusing ones are the complete mistranslations that occasionally could be read quite differently by a native English speaker. These signs are widely collected online, so I decided to post a few of the more entertaining ones I found here, with my own commentary added. Enjoy!

But speaking cellphone on a sunny day is perfectly fine... I wonder if cellphone sounds a bit like Swahili?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Who's Carefully? And why was he standing so close to the water?

... or it might chase after you.

Please confine your frolicking to the kiddie pool.

"You need a breath mint."

You is valued neighba.

I took a picture of this one (or one like it) in China too. "Please keep your graffiti neat."

Very important. I do this every time I walk out on the curling ice.

... and don't you forget it!

Yeah... and no free refills on your Diet Coke either!

Truer words have never been spoken...

Nor will it ask you for spare change...

I actually had to look this one up. A "balustrade" is a railing supported by a bunch of columns (balusters) that hold it up, like you usually have on the side of stairway or balcony. This begs the question... how is it that these people who can't make a correctly formed sentence have a better vocabulary than I do?

Yeah... do something with your life and get a real job!

As opposed to the alternative... ?

I'm just trying to figure out which of the Chinese symbols stand for "deformed man".

Sign outside a Xenophobics Anonymous meeting.

... and please, no smorking within 25 feet of any doorway.

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