Lost in translation 2

Upon closer examination, Christchurch turned out to be

Following my previous post on the importance of getting translations done right, I have included some photos to further illustrate my point. I was in Shanghai last year, and at a glance saw someone wearing a t-shirt that said “Christchurch” on the back. Perhaps an ex-international student, I thought.

Upon closer examination, I cracked up in laughter.

Chinese police car

Chinese police car

And then there was this police car I saw outside a McDonald's restaurant. For a moment there, I wasn't sure if they are for real, but I can assure you they are driven by real cops. My mum could have done a better job with the spray paint. Why can't they get something so basic checked? All they needed to do was to open up a word doc and see if there's a red unde

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police warning

police warning

It's endless. I came across another sign at a restaurant (with English menus, not a roadside stall).

In verbatim, the text reads:

The police warned Please use the “Auti-Theft Hook” under the table. Take care of your belongings. Shanghai railway station rigilance police station.

My wife (fiancee at the time) asked what sort of system this

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is. I was also wondering what kind of sophisticated anti-theft system they installed under the table. My curiosity paid off. I didn't have to look long to discover this most effective albeit primitive theft-prevention device.

Chinese anti theft system

Chinese anti theft system

OK in the same way that we laugh at the Chinese who make all these “stupid mistakes”, they do the same with Westerners with silly tattoos and t-shirts. The difference is that the Chinese are just simply too polite to tell you 🙂


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About The Author

Kenneth is Director of Euroasia. He is passionate about languages and cultures.