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Reposted from TermCoord: Do you speak Chinglish?
Thread poster: Shirley Lao

Shirley Lao  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Mar 25, 2015

Dear All,

I don't know if anyone here is interested in the article reposted from the Terminology Coordination Unit (TermCoord) and leave a comment.


See:
http://termcoord.eu/2015/03/do-you-speak-chinglish/#comments

Best regards

Shirley


 

Pierret Adrien  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 14:02
Chinese to French
+ ...
Should I declare it as a pair? Mar 26, 2015

Thanks for sharing, it's an interesting phenomenon, here's my two cents on it (intended for non Chinese readers anyway, I'm so sorry I didn't see this was the Chinese forum)

There are several levels of Chinglish and many many reasons behind the misuse of English, but in many cases really these are merely unchanged machine translations. Especially where signs are involved.
For many years China has had the habit of keeping bilingual signs around everywhere, even in supermarkets, but this doesn't mean the employees in charge of translating them do actually know English.

A famous example that says it all: http://boingboing.net/2008/07/15/chinese-restaurant-c.html

In Chinese, nothing indicates whether words are verbs, noun, or adjectives. Nothing but their place in a sentence, which is very confusing for most automatic translators that can only figure out a context within the boundaries of their term banks.
The shorter the sentence the harder.

Let's take the example from the article:

请勿在本餐厅内食非麦多乐食品或饮料
请勿Please do not 在本餐厅内in this restaurant 食Eat 非Non- 麦多乐"Maiduole" (name) 食品或饮料Food or Drink.
"Please do not consume non-Maiduole food or drink within the premises.
Here the problem is simple: lack of context led the auto-translator to overlook Maiduole as a name.
Literally, we have 麦Wheat多More乐Music, which taken literally obviously induced a weird semantic mix-up at the end of the sentence.

I did figure out Maiduole was a name because it's the only solution that actually makes sense, and also because it loosely sounds like "麦当劳, Mai Dang Lao", which is Mac Donald's official Chinese name.

For "Human Chinglish", which means the broken English produced by intermediate Chinese learners, same struggle: the common mistakes are a mix-up of bad choices of vocabulary, and the uncertainty of where to place which word, supported by which grammar and cementing the whole with what articles - a notion completely unknown in Chinese.
With a knowledge of both language, one can figure out what was intended to be said without the source material, simply by figuring out which character was misinterpreted.

[Edited at 2015-03-26 02:17 GMT]


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:02
Chinese to English
English as a sales tool for Chinese-speaking consumers Mar 26, 2015

There's another part of the whole Chinglish phenomenon, which is that in many cases these 'translations' are aimed not at English speakers but at Chinese speakers. Foreign products are often associated with higher quality, and since English has become a sort of representative for all things foreign, adding an English label to a product may give it an advantage in the eyes of consumers, even if the translation is complete nonsense or amusing to a native English speaker (see the 'Chicken Ass' product shown in the article).

In many respects this has become a race to the bottom, and having an English 'translation‘, even if complete nonsense, is now a must in many industries (the best example of this being cheap clothing brands that basically make up new words).

So in many, many cases whoever is commissioning these translations (or having them translated by elementary school students) really doesn't care that they're receiving gibberish back.

[Edited at 2015-03-26 04:41 GMT]


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:02
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Chicken ass Mar 26, 2015

is not "wrong" per se. Culturally obtuse, perhaps, but correct in the literal sense.

 

Pierret Adrien  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 14:02
Chinese to French
+ ...
After all... Mar 26, 2015

Lincoln Hui wrote:

is not "wrong" per se. Culturally obtuse, perhaps, but correct in the literal sense.


Well then, technically I guess the 干水果区 in my store could be an area for... having a good time with fruits.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:02
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
What? Mar 26, 2015

Pierret Adrien wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:

is not "wrong" per se. Culturally obtuse, perhaps, but correct in the literal sense.


Well then, technically I guess the 干水果区 in my store could be an area for... having a good time with fruits.

What are you talking about?

"Chicken ass" means exactly what you think it does. It is the hindquarters of a chicken.

[Edited at 2015-03-26 15:05 GMT]


 

wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:02
Chinese to English
+ ...
Parson's nose :D Mar 26, 2015

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=parson's+nose

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygostyle


The phrase "parson's nose" comes from the notion that an English parson may 'have his nose up in the air', upturned like the chicken's rear end. The term must have been known as early as around 1400 AD, when a carpenter had been contracted to provide new choir stalls for St Mary's Church, Nantwich.[verification needed] The vicar was either slow to pay the artisan, or did not pay at all. In retaliation, on the last misericord in the stalls, the carpenter carved a bird with an image of that Vicar's face with protuberant nose as rump. The carving is still visible today.[5]

A similar derivation applies to the phrase "Pope's nose", which may have originated as a derogatory term meant to demean Catholics in England during the late 17th century.


 

Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:02
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
difference Mar 26, 2015

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Pierret Adrien wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:

is not "wrong" per se. Culturally obtuse, perhaps, but correct in the literal sense.


Well then, technically I guess the 干水果区 in my store could be an area for... having a good time with fruits.

What are you talking about?

"Chicken ass" means exactly what you think it does. It is the hindquarters of a chicken.

[Edited at 2015-03-26 15:05 GMT]


may I butt in - Lincoln is talking about a terrible case of translation (terrible choice of words but not wrong in its meaning), so Pierre, your case is more like "erroneous understanding and therefore entirely wrong translation" instead.

In my understanding Chinglish is perceived as both, though I prefer to side with the idea of "terrible choice of words" instead. For example, to this day I still marvel at signs in Chinese bathrooms like "warm tips" for 友情提示。ROFL indeed.


 

wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:02
Chinese to English
+ ...
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing Mar 26, 2015

... but not as dangerous as knowing bubkes yet being armed with a Chinese-to-English dictionary. icon_biggrin.gif

But back to the original article in question. My immediate comment is that it's not very well written for an essay in English, both from the standpoint of composition and use of language.

As for the issue raised in the article, I'm afraid the prevalent and sometimes blatant butchering of the English language is all too well-known to language professionals and otherwise. Thus my other comment: So what else is new?


[Edited at 2015-03-27 17:14 GMT]


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:02
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I think that f-fruit thing was a joke originally Mar 26, 2015

Pierret Adrien wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:

is not "wrong" per se. Culturally obtuse, perhaps, but correct in the literal sense.


Well then, technically I guess the 干水果区 in my store could be an area for... having a good time with fruits.


but many people took it seriously.


 

Pierret Adrien  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 14:02
Chinese to French
+ ...
It was a joke Mar 27, 2015

and not actually a serious answer to Lincoln, sorry for not making it explicit enough.

Explanations here : https://www.google.com/search?q=fuck%20the%20fruit%20area&biw=959&bih=913&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=18kUVbT7IvLLsAT5l4GoDA&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ


 

Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:02
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
i wish it was a joke too Mar 27, 2015

jyuan_us wrote:

Pierret Adrien wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:

is not "wrong" per se. Culturally obtuse, perhaps, but correct in the literal sense.


Well then, technically I guess the 干水果区 in my store could be an area for... having a good time with fruits.


but many people took it seriously.


truth of the matter is it was not. I've seen somewhere online the same type of translation for a chicken dish :/

so this is not about taking it seriously...but the sad fact that it exists.


 

pkchan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:02
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
改圖風氣盛 Mar 27, 2015





看這兩照片,明顯有改圖痕跡,不排除是惡作。


 

ysun  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
问题不在于 Chinglish Mar 28, 2015


此链接上显示的大部分错误,并非因 Chinglish 而造成,而是因为那些所谓的“翻译”根本就不具备翻译人员的基本素质。当然,也不排除其中某些人是故意恶搞。那些人的恶搞不禁使我想起苏东坡与佛印禅师的故事。其中,苏东坡的小妹说得不错:“你心中有什么,眼中就有什么”。


 

Pierret Adrien  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 14:02
Chinese to French
+ ...
Agreed Mar 28, 2015

像我上面说过,所谓Chinglish的大部分不是人造的,而是机器翻译来的。我怀疑大部分的都是员工根本没学过英文,被上面的人催要提供英文标记,无奈的只能依赖网络工具。特别是在哪些超市,购物长,或者是工厂,他们虽然有国际客户,则没有专门的译员沟通,或者是有的话应该专业要求比较低,"能懂就行"。其实Chinglish这个现象也能分好几种,包含哪些专门中国人常用的词语,如"PK", "long time no see","no why"等。还能分为哪些常见的语法错误。
值不值得研究更多我也不敢说。


 
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Reposted from TermCoord: Do you speak Chinglish?

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