One of the simple pleasures I enjoyed during my time in China was coming across delightfully confusing or inappropriate English translations, or Chinglish. Written Chinese can be very poetic and the intricate characters often convey more meaning than a direct English translation will allow. The garbled results and cultural miscues are guaranteed to make you smile.
Here are some gems I came across while going about my daily activities. Believe it or not, much of this Chinglish was seen in cosmopolitan Shanghai, where many locals speak perfect English!
Some of the most humorous Chinglish was on signs I came across in the country’s many national parks. From the pandas in Chengdu to the grass in Shanghai, China seems keen to protect its natural resources.
Chinese menus are often ripe with mistranslations, though these are sadly disappearing as the nation becomes more accustomed to English. About half of these were found in Shanghai restaurants, while the rest come from Xi’an and Chengdu.
Which bit of Chinglish do you like best? What’s the funniest English translation you’ve ever seen?