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Lost In Translation

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Today I was reminded of the FOB shirts that I used to buy when I visit what my FOB parents call the motherland: Taiwan.

When you are in Taiwan or any other Asian country, you can see multitudes of people walking around with shirts that have English phrases on them. You also have a bunch of stores, restaurants or fast food chains that have what appears to have proper English signs. Upon closer inspection, very few of them actually make any sense. In fact, many items you end up purchasing are what you would call a ‘knockoff’ brand. Here are a few good examples:

I use SQNY batteries to run my SQNY PRAYstation Controller…

Is that KLC or KLG?…or the sound a chicken makes.. clukkggg… nice try

I shop here all the time…for my high end fruits and vegetables

So there you have the first kind of English failure in Asia. The next just gets worse. It’s when non-English speaking Asians try to make sense of the English language on clothing and signs. Yes, I repeat non-English speaking Asians who would be better off writing fortune cookies but instead choose to grace the public with their English skills. This provides for huge entertainment value for us Americans when we go back and visit. There’s an entire website dedicated to this awesome topic at Yes, you read that correctly. Engrish. The way my mother pronounces it. Here are some good examples:

After posting this, I noticed that this kid is sitting in a McDonalds…probably enjoying his fries. Get this kid a stamp card. I have a feeling that he’s going to be coming back often.

There should be a sign under it that says “Asians Only”

Oops. I’m going to be honest. I probably would not have the self control to take this picture from laughing too hard if I saw this in real life…this chick is also wearing a SARS mask! I would also infer that her friends don’t like her very much if nobody is telling her to stop wearing this sweater in public.

Pretty good stuff, but now we move onto part B of the discussion. We all know Asians are the smartest people on the planet (yes, fact) and they are not stupid to the fact that everybody laughs at their horrible English skills. But I see so many times where Americans buy shirts that have Chinese characters and don’t even have a clue what it says. Some people even get tattoos without knowing what it says! I personally don’t have any clothes with Chinese characters for that very reason. After ten years of taking Chinese school, I am still completely illiterate…talk about a complete waste of time and money.

The picture below is a little demonstration of how the Asians strike back.

Aw that’s adorable. The parents bought their little daughter a pink shirt with Chinese characters and a cute bunny on it. Dad probably picked it up on a business trip as a souvenir for his daughter because he was thinking of her and how much he missed those cute little adorable pigtails. What daddy fails to realize is that the pink shirt actually reads “me pervert” in Chinese.

Good job dad.

Who’s laughing now?


Written by jonewantsm3

August 19, 2010 at 1:00 am

Posted in Rant

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