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A question about the number 14
Thread poster: Parrot

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:08
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 26, 2006

Hello everybody,

I was translating a document from Spanish into English to be sent to China (the Chinese version is being translated by a Chinese colleague) when suddenly, after point number 13, I came across an instruction written in red: "Cecilia, please skip number 14 because it's bad luck".

Now I'm curious: what does number 14 mean to the Chinese?


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Fan Gao
Australia
Local time: 12:08
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English to Chinese
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Death! Jun 26, 2006

Maybe it's been taken a bit too seriously as most Chinese people aren't that superstitious in this instance.

It's all to do with the pronunciation of 14 in Chinese. 14 can be spoken as "yao si" which means imminent death!

It's not taken that seriously though although some people do try to avoid the use of this number when choosing a cellphone number for example.

Hope that helps:)

Mark


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
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Oops! Jun 26, 2006

Okay. I guess it's like avoiding 4 in Japanese or the fact that some western buildings don't have a 13th floor...

Thanks!


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
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Yes, it is a superstitious thing. Jun 26, 2006

Parrot wrote:

Okay. I guess it's like avoiding 4 in Japanese or the fact that some western buildings don't have a 13th floor...

Thanks!



Hello, Cecilia, the Happy Parrot,

Yes, it is a superstitious thing. "4" carries the same pronunciation of "death" in Mandarin. But, in your case, it got into the translation job, it seems to be outrageous.

By reading the news from China nowadays, it seems to me that the improved modern living made the Chinese people more superstitious. I guess the well-to-do life made it easier for those Chinese people who are superstitious to fulfill their wishes and imaginations. There is one news story I read a couple of months ago, saying a family was burning the offerings (burning is often used to “send” the living necessities or luxuery items to the other world) in a farewell ceremony held for the grandpa who just passed away. The offering items that were put into the fire includes a photo of his mistress and, of course, the magic pill, Viagra.

Kevin


[Edited at 2006-06-27 06:47]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
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I shouldn't laugh, but Jun 26, 2006

Kevin Yang wrote:

a family was burning the offerings (burning is often used to “send” the living necessities or luxueries items to the other world) in a farewell ceremony held for the grandpa who just passed away. The offering items that were put into the fire includes a photo of his mistress and, of course, the magic Viagra pills.

Kevin




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Terry Thatcher Waltz, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:08
Chinese to English
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That's where the good deals are -- around the number "4" Jun 26, 2006

There is some outcry among certain people in Taiwan these days about how polluting the burning of "spirit money" is, to which others have replied, why not burn spirit credit cards instead -- same financial value in ghost money terms, but less paper!

Seriously, I wouldn't avoid the number 14 particularly, although renting apartments on the 4th floor or which overlook graveyards (or preferably both) is usually a great deal in Taiwan, not to mention bringing great physical benefits from stair-climbing.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
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Well if the client says so Jun 26, 2006

Terry Thatcher Waltz, Ph.D. wrote:

Seriously, I wouldn't avoid the number 14 particularly


I'll let him take the rap. What can I say? It's a large urban development project and apparently the investors can't risk getting away from Feng Shui.

I still remember some stories floating around from my teaching days at a fine arts-architecture faculty. It used to drive traditional western architects crazy. Apparently, places like Schönbrunn Palace were a no-no, since end-to-end corridors couldn't trap any cash flow and the economy just leaked away like a hemorrhage. And grand stairwells leading to living quarters in front entrances shouldn't have been there either because illness could just knock and make itself welcome.

In another variant, when I was still living in south-east Asia, a Feng Shui practitioner analysed the currencies and concluded whoever put dead people on their bills would have problems in raising the economy.


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:08
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I have a business idea. Jun 26, 2006

Terry Thatcher Waltz, Ph.D. wrote:

There is some outcry among certain people in Taiwan these days about how polluting the burning of "spirit money" is, to which others have replied, why not burn spirit credit cards instead -- same financial value in ghost money terms, but less paper!


Hi, Terry

I have a business idea. "Burn" the paper money online. This will be definately pollution free. Just need a website. The users will have to pay the service charge first by credit card. I hope the Cyber world certainly embodies the other world, too. The users also have options to select the dollar amount they wish to "burn" or "send". Sort of like West Union. Well, not exactly, because there will be no one coming to pick up the "money". Would you consider it?

Kevin

[Edited at 2006-06-26 19:44]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
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Oh no... Jun 26, 2006

Second note in red says, "the custom includes point 24. Please skip that number as well".



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ysun  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:08
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It is because ... Jun 26, 2006

Parrot wrote:

Second note in red says, "the custom includes point 24. Please skip that number as well".



2 sounds like "son" in Chinese.

By the same token, your client may want to skip 54, 74, 84 and 94 because
5 sounds like "I",
7 sounds like "wife",
8 sounds like "father", and
9 sounds like "mother's brothers".
Again, 4 sounds like "die".

[Edited at 2006-06-26 22:18]


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ysun  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:08
English to Chinese
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What about a credit card? Jun 26, 2006

Kevin Yang wrote:
Hi, Terry

I have a business idea. "Burn" the paper money online. This will be definately pollution free. Just need a website. The users will have to pay the service charge first by credit card. I hope the Cyber world certainly embodies the other world, too. The users also have options to select the dollar amount they wish to "burn" or "send". Sort of like West Union. Well, not exactly, because there will be no one coming to pick up the "money". Would you consider it?

Kevin

[Edited at 2006-06-26 19:44]


Hi Kevin,

I can't believe those people are still doing this in the 21st century!

Probably, the best way might be to apply for a credit card for the deceased. It should be feasible since some people could get credit cards even for their dogs and cats.


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
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I'd better to make sure to make my wish list known in advance Jun 26, 2006

Yueyin Sun wrote:

Hi Kevin,

I can't believe those people are still doing this in the 21st century!

Probably, the best way might be to apply for a credit card for the deceased. It should be feasible since some people could get credit cards even for their dogs and cats.



Yueyin,

I'd better to make sure that my wish list is known in advance among my family and friends, so they do not have to "read my mind" and guess what I would like to have. It would be a waste of "money" to "send" those things that I do not need. Guess what would be on top of my wish list? A computer. It would be a drag if there is no Internet connection there.

Kevin

[Edited at 2006-06-27 06:51]


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ysun  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:08
English to Chinese
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What you said reminds me of a joke Jun 26, 2006

Kevin Yang wrote:

Yueyin,

I'd better to make sure that my wish list is known in advance among my family an friends, so they do not have to "read my mind" and guess what I would like to have. It would be a waste of "money" to "send" the things that I do not need. Guess what would be on top of my list? A computer. It would be a drag if there is no Internet connection there.

Kevin


Kevin,

This is a joke I saw from a local Chinese newspaper. A Chinese businessman went to a tourist resort to attend a conference. Before he left home, he told his wife, "I'd like you to come and join me for a vacation in that resort when my conference is over." After he arrived and checked into a luxurious hotel, he sent an email to his wife. However, he mistyped the email address that the email went to a widow who just came back from her husband's funeral. The lady wanted to send some "thank you" emails to her friends. When she turned on her computer, the email from that businessman came up, which said, "Honey, I arrived safely. This is a beautiful and wonderful place to stay. The weather down here is a little cooler than what we had up there, but it makes me feel very comfortable. The place I am staying provides fast and free Internet service, so I want to send you a surprise email. Come to join me as soon as possible. I can't wait to see you again!” The lady couldn't finish reading the email and lost her consciousness immediately!


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:08
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English to Chinese
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This is way too funny. Jun 26, 2006

Yueyin Sun wrote:

Kevin,

This is a joke I saw from a local Chinese newspaper. A Chinese businessman went to a tourist resort to attend a conference. Before he left home, he told his wife, "I'd like you to come and join me for a vacation in that resort when my conference is over." After he arrived and checked into a luxurious hotel, he sent an email to his wife. However, he mistyped the email address that the email went to a widow who just came back from her husband's funeral. The lady wanted to send some "thank you" emails to her friends. When she turned on her computer, the email from that businessman came up, which said, "Honey, I arrived safely. This is a beautiful and wonderful place to stay. The weather down here is a little cooler than what we had up there, but it makes me feel very comfortable. The place I am staying provides fast and free Internet service, so I want to send you a surprise email. Come to join me as soon as possible. I can't wait to see you again!” The lady couldn't finish reading the email and lost her consciousness immediately!



Yueyin,

Haaaaa, haaaa, haaaa, you made me laugh out so loud! This is way too funny. Thank you for sharing it!

Kevin


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:08
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Well, here's something not funny at all... Jun 26, 2006

I just thought, let's grant that a Chinese client can convince a Spanish bank manager to issue a credit card to a deceased person because it's going to be a token offering.

Some crooks (and we have them here) crack the codes and actually use the card numbers to get a computer from e-bay. And when the Chinese client gets the statement, he wouldn't (or would he) think, "grandpa appreciated the gift".

Or could he somehow send a message to ask for the deceased's e-mail address? I just wonder.


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