Lost in Chinese Translation

Translating from one language to another is definitely a difficult task. Some translations that were either done through direct translation or translated based on how they are pronounced result into a funny translation or simply leave the reader with a “whaaaat?” reaction.

The following photos were taken during my recent visit to the beautiful cities of Fuzhou, Quanzhou, and Xiamen, all in Fujian Province of China. I have taken over 500 shots of scenic spots from this trip but my unexpected encounter with one Chinese sign with an English translation below it gave me a sudden tendency to look for more “strange” signs. I have no intention of making fun of our Chinese friends but simply would like to share the fun that I had seeing these signs.

Let’s start with signs that were simply misspelled.

Can somebody please tell me what is an elevaton?

Where should you go in case of fire?

Quick, run to the nearest emergent exit!

There’s fire, so what do we need? A fire extinguisher.

Where did the letter "i" go? Oh, maybe it went out at the emergent exit.

I have extingushed the fire, where should I go now?

Wait! That must be the emergent exit, so No Entering.

The two signs above show running men, so why can’t I?

Whatever happens, just don't run into me.

If you think the fire extingusher can’t beat the fire, then look for this one.

This will Oefinitely Oeliver more water than the fire extingusher

What? The Fire Hyorant has no water? Then say your sentiments here.

My first complain, why is your complain box locked?

Now that we have finally extinguished the fire, let us sit and relax as the following photos entertain us. These are results of literal translations.

So what should you look out for while walking in the park?

It simply means do not step on the grass and the flowers.

And remember to take a bath before you go to the park.

Better bring a disinfectant with you.

Well, going to the park requires so much effort. Why not just go to the nearest department store? Good thing that every floor has this directory to show the shoppers where to find what they want to buy. But wait! Did it really help me?

Unfortunately I did not check what is on the 8th floor, was it Phoebe Cates or a special section for Cats?

The 4th floor is definitely not for the casual ladies. I had second thoughts of going to the 5th floor because I am not sure if I am really ready to see what do gentalments wear in China. I thought of buying my mom a dinner set so I checked the 7th floor because it sounds like gourmet, and I was right. However, I still have to find out what is in the Cates Center. Maybe it’s a Cat Center. I hate the smell of cat poo and I feel like spitting, but wait!

I remember taking a dose of expectorant before leaving the hotel but I can't expectorate anywhere 😦

After hours of going around the deparment store, I feel so low for not finding the things I wanted to buy for my family. I’m really feeling so low.

Yeah, me too! I'm also too confusion.

Good thing that something positive hit me. The problem is, where will I keep it?

Well, I can't promise that until I figure out where to keep it.

I continued walking around to buy some gifts for my family but I don’t know where to get them. Good thing this shop’s sign tells me where to get the best gifts in Xiamen. But I got more confused where I can buy them, is it here, or there?

Now tell me, is it here or there?

Still not successful in buying gifts from China, I decided to just roam around and take pictures of beautiful sites. I thought of using the video function of my Nikon D3100 but this sign made me shout whaaaat?!!!

Should I post this on Facebook? My friends might LIKE it, but it's forbidden.

Well, my friends, China is a very beautiful country and there are lots of beautiful things to see there and a beautiful culture that everyone will enjoy experiencing. I hope you had fun reading this as much as I had fun taking photos of them. There were some translations in the restaurant menu that I failed to shoot but I know you already had fun with what I have shown you. There are English translations, however awkward it is, that we can easily understand because of the context in which it was used. However, there are also translations that, no matter how hard I tried, I simply can’t get the meaning.

And the WINNER is…



Sorry, limited entertainment value. For those who did not get it, just go back to the picture above.

Xie xie!


About beautifulworldbeyondmylens

A great admirer of God's wonderful creations whose magnificence is amplified by capturing them in still photo.
This entry was posted in Photography, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lost in Chinese Translation

  1. xehia says:

    I just wanna say that i thought its only happening here in taiwan where deer is spelled as dear on textbook. a restroom is called a bathroom in school and an apple is called eipol. atleast now i know that taiwanese people are better than chinese 🙂 (when it comes to english)

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