English Diversity in the PRC
March 21, 2008, 05:49 AM
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The highly motivated folks at Red China, Inc. are working overtime to get their signage and menus comprehensible for English speakers for the upcoming summer Olympics. Hilarity ensues...
For years, badly translated signs have had the Englishman abroad in stitches. But for tourism officials in Beijing, a city preparing for the arrival of millions of visitors for the Olympic Games in August, the problem is far from funny. [...]

Restaurateurs have been given a list of the proper English names for the most commonly mistranslated items, including "virgin chicken" for a young chicken dish, "steamed crap" instead of crab, and "burnt lion's head" describing Chinese pork meatballs.

"These translations either scare or embarrass foreign customers and may cause misunderstanding on China's diet habits," the state news agency said.

Some of the signs have been celebrated on websites and books, including one sign that greets Western visitors to a caf?© with the words: "Welcome big nose friends" and another for the Tibetan "Reception Centre for the Unorganised Tourists".

English speakers in Beijing have been invited to visit "Racist Park" - more accurately translated as the Park of Ethnic Minorities - and warned to take care on wet roads as "the slippery are very crafty". [Signs of panic over 'Chinglish' in Beijing, Telegraph UK, March 19, 2008]

In the same vein, check out a whole website dedicated to mostly Japanese wreckage of the English language: Engrish.com.