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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nbsnyder

Why to learn Chinese

If you're reading this, you're probably saying "Why should I learn Chinese? Insert untrue statement here". Well, here's why:


To everyone learning Chinese, I salute you. Together, we can stop these horrible translations. And yes, these are all real.

February 1, 2015

41 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KateM303

When on the Great Wall when I was in China I took a picture of a sign that said "Speaking cellphone is strictly prohibited when thunderstorm." Which we took to mean, "when there's a thunderstorm, dont say the word cellphone." As I toured with a music group, we were amused when we saw the picture of a musical instrument that looked like a trumpet and it was crossed out. We knew it meant no loud noises, but we usually just told the trumpet players it meant they weren't allowed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaiirapetjan

Too funny, have a lingot. Leave those trumpet players on the bus.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ManOfGer

I like the way that "cat ear" is the thing worthy of being noted in the headline for that particular image, when right next to it is "rotten child". If I was forced at gunpoint to eat one or the other, I'd choose the ear because I know for a fact the other dish is off.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/simpsongeorge

I like how it says /the plate. yes i would rather eat the plate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mwyaren

do not disturb, tiny grass is dreaming is actually really cute. <3


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Skoldpaddor

I saw that and remarked how elegant and imaginative it was. Accidental poetry, probably created by machine translation. Beauty rising from chaos.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mwyaren

I think this might be no accident, perhaps that's exactly what they wanted to say, and we notice this only because of cultural differences, i.e. the fact that Western signs tend to be more formal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Skoldpaddor

I agree. Based on the other sign, the "I don't like that you put your shoes on my face", Chinese keep-off-the-grass signs anthropomorphize grass. I think "I don't like it when you put your shoes on my face" is a little more clever than "don't step on the grass." It might even be more effective. I suspect that is the case.

As for "civilization go to the toilet thanks to everyone", which was going for "please use the restroom, thanks" or somesuch, I think the sentiment is actually more meaningful. It is true. The modern restroom and sanitary practices as a whole, which save countless lives, are a result of the world as a whole. Each time we use a toilet, we're using a product of globalization and collective innovation.

Furthermore, the "beware of safety" sign also expresses an interesting idea. Safety is a boon, of course, but sometimes we take things to far. A totally safe life would be stagnant. We should appreciate safety but also appreciate our ability to take meaningful risks. The "slip and fall carefully" sign ties into this well. Falling is an accident, and we can't prevent it, but if we increase our awareness we can minimize the damage. I think of Amos Rendao and Parkour Ukemi.

Some of these signs might be perfectly valid, but we have no context. Maybe the park is frequented by some sort of hate group, or maybe the sign-maker was trying to make people recognize their own prejudices by calling them out. Perhaps "whatever" is an accurate description of the dish. It might be potpourri or what I like to call Huck-Finn-style stew (where you stick everything in and let the juices mix together). The "beware of missing foot" might not be referring to a missing step. Who are we to get in the way of their search for the poor person's missing foot? Maybe they can still sew it back on. And perhaps poisonous garbage requires a specific container. Who are we to criticize based solely on an image?

I overthink things.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mwyaren

^pat pat pat^ it's ok.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

My favourite by far!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kunstkritik

Oh man. I would really try Sixi roasted husband out :9


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShongZuo

It proves that they should start the course quicker :D

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6457031


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/0FFF

How do translations like these even happen?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chilvence

People having too much faith in Google translate, that's how.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tmarvin

To be fair it's pretty incredible that technology can get people who presumably speak no English to "basically close enough" translations, even if they're ridiculous.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/simpsongeorge

The stupidity is many of them are translated from english and then back into nonsense english instead of using the original.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Princess559078

FACEPALM! XD I don't think I can eat "Fries pulls out the rotten child" or whatever that is. (@.@). This reminded me of this! http://www.allkpop.com/buzz/2014/12/20-korean-engrish-signs-that-will-make-you-laugh-or-facepalm It's Korean Engrish tho. I could not stop myself from laughing when I first read this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linguafiqari

I have a fair amount of photos on my phone of bad translations from when I went to China. For example, "Fried Noddles", "Do not butting randomly", and "Baconic".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rafforza

Baconic is a great word, It deserves to do be added I think .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/het_aapje

That was so funny, have a lingot :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hellerm

This post was really funny! First laugh of the day! Happy learning! :P

Have some lingots!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yeetspanishclass

When you get to the "Civilization" one, things start to get rather deep and profound, haha. And of course, even the grass dreams. :)

Thanks for the laugh!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mare_sargasso

If you'd like some from Turkey...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

I wonder what poor Alexander did to end up on the menu... :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mare_sargasso

:D İskender that's Turkish for Alexander, is a popular restaurant dish made of döner, a Turkish beef delicacy that literally means "he/she/it (re)turns", yogurt, tomato sauce and melted butter poured over it. Very Alexander was intended to mean iskender with more meat (i.e. döner) than usual, Alexander Confused to mean mixed iskender having various meatballs over it, and Alexander Returns to mean iskender with döner that's a weird expression since the dish is already made of it. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

I did not know that that was what döner meant! That is very cool, thank you :|


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marc.libra

I love going to whatever :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALoUSyUseRnaME

Haha, this made my day! :D Failed translations are the best!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/D_O_M_O

Hm i wonder what this give lingot button does... *click click click click


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GrandApple

Oh no! You just wasted 300 of your lingots there. Here, let me reimburse you for those lingots you just wasted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Artilex

Wait... What does the "give lingot" button do. Let's click it 100 times! click...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WasDatWorthIt

Fadafingling IS HEWE


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

Literally crying with laughter. I mean, sadly, these are all way better than what would happen if I was trying to translate into Chinese, but still: TEARS.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jayway223

Some of this kinda scared me, while most made me lol. :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kevinwu00

I'm Chinese, so.......


[deactivated user]

    That's why you don't go around translating random things. These translations are stupid, but personally, I don't like people translating like that.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeanneordarc

    I'm crying these are hilarious


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_alionushka_

    Haha! Thanks, i've lived in China for 3 years, now i start to miss this unique country! :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Waixkawaii

    Lmaooo make sure your feet stay on


    [deactivated user]

      hahaha. Translation fails.

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