It's time for lunch. You are famished.
You go to the nearest restaurant and look at the menu. It's all in mandarin.
You are in trouble coz you can't read mandarin.
So you search around, looking for a restaurant that has an English menu.
After a while.....you found one!!
You quickly grab the menu and look for something to order.
Then you see this :
Corrugated Iron Beef
Cow Bowels in Sauce
Worm Pig Stomach
Suddenly you don't feel hungry anymore.
No kidding, this article was featured in The Star newpapers in December 06 (together with that Fried Rice with Crap).
Direct translations can be funny to us, but I can imagine how painful is it for the Chinese Government. The problem with China is that they take word-for-word translations instead of looking at the big picture. Their intentions may be good, but the results are somewhat the laughing stock of the country.
China is now busy clamping down on bad English translations for the upcoming Beijing Olympics 2008. One can probably see why.
Photo source : OneManBandwidth
Speaking of bad translations, even software that provides translation services needs to improvise.
Below is a real life example translation of Chern's email using Babelfish (from simplified Mandarin to English).
Doesn't make any sense?
Chern's actually asking "Copy Feng Shui Master Richard, please recommend a good date for me. I suggest November 28 based on the Lunar calendar (co-incidentally is 26 al-Hijjah 1,427 Masihi, or 16 Jan 2006). Is it auspicious or not?"
If all gets too confusing, do what Malaysians do - Just take every english word and modify it to Bahasa Malaysia!!
Transformation - Transformasi
Budget - Bajet
Sexy - Seksi
Academy - Akedami
Click - Klik
BUT then again, Malaysian subtitles can also be a joke, as witnessed in one of my earlier postings (click here)....Oh well, better have some humour than none......