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Chinglish: Found in Translation Paperback


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Frequently Bought Together

Chinglish: Found in Translation + More Chinglish: Speaking in Tongues (English and Chinese Edition) + Lonely Planet Signspotting: Absurd & Amusing Signs from Around the World
Price for all three: $21.57

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 16 years
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith (August 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423603354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423603351
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 7.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“As China opens up to tourism, more and more signs have to be translated into English. But as these hilarious examples prove, something is usually lost in the translation.” (Daily Mail (London) 2007-12-03)

From the Publisher

--Join author Oliver Lutz Radtke in saving these delightful works from extinction. The result is an appreciation of the joys sparked by language and creativity.

--Chinese and English are the most common languages on earth.

--The Beijing Tourism Bureau set up a hotline for visitors and residents to tip off examples of bad English in order to correct the signs.

--With the 2008 Olympics approaching in Beijing the country is trying to correct all of its signage. The issue has been featured on the Today Show as well as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

--Some foreign teachers also refer to a school's inadequate language department as the "Chinglish Department."

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sinocephalus on December 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you have ever visited China, you may have come across a sign that says "Little grass has life" or similiar bewildering phrases on signboards.

Here's now a fine collection of many other such instances that have been documented by author Oliver Lutz Radtke.

"Chinglish" provides us with a solid insight into the everyday use of the Chinese language on bilingual signs and boards.

The book demonstrates a unique way of expressing ideas, intentions and interests.

Pictures of the Chinese originals in it's entirety are displayed and backed up by English elaborations of the intended meaning.

At first glance, the book probably strikes the reader as one that heightens the perceived idea that China's
"lingiustic misadventures" are a result of incompetence and a lack of knowledge.

This impression is quickly banished as it transforms into a new point of view:

A very creative method of expressing circumstances, requests and prohibitions emerge - completely different from the European way of phrasing caution or providing warning for instructions like "stay off the grass."

These bilingual signs and boards (even with all the "mistakes" in them) documents a Chinese attempt to reach an international audience.

So for me "Chinglish" isn't primarily a local linguistic phenomenon but a sociological one: It's a way of thinking about possible communication settings.

Respectfully, the author analyzes several models of sociological and physiological explanations and his deep insight into Chinese mentality and language is inherent.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Vasilius on September 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I do not speak or read Chinese; I am impressed by anyone Chinese who tries to communicate in English. That said, I chuckled at the unintentionally humorous and mystifying English signage to be found in China. This small book presents some excellent examples of Chinglish. The book manages to be gently funny and also provides examples that raise deep philosophical issues about English, China and life. This book will make you both chuckle and ponder.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James D. Crabtree VINE VOICE on April 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Some of the items in this book have to be seen to be believed! This is one of those ones you end up laughing out loud at while in line to pay for it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Chinglish: Found In Translation" is a fine little book from Oliver Lutz Radtke, a German sinologist who was partially trained in China. It all started when he saw a sign in a Chinese taxi reading "Don't forget to carry your thing," which began his quest to explore the translational and cultural difficulties of producing sensible English to express inherently Chinese concepts. The author is obviously a huge fan of Chinglish, as is Susan Stähle, Chinese lecturer at Heidelberg University, who wrote a beautiful introduction to the book placing both English and Chinese in perfect linguistic, cultural, and historical contexts. As great as the text is, the pictures are even better, and it goes without saying that all errors are in the original.

Who could forget signs reading "Meeting critical situation asks velocity to poke strikeing," "No firemaking in hardcore scenery area!," or "The thing tube office?" Who could forget the kind thoughts expressed in signs like "Forever memory: Even goldfish need love......especially on rainy days," or "People, flowers and help each other in breath. If you pluck the flowers and break off the branches, you will reduce your own life at the same time," or even "The splendid joy of success is waving to you in your wonderful bowling?"

Of all the offerings presented here, without doubt the greatest are for food. "Advantageous noodle" sounds good, but you would need to be pretty adventurous to order "Man and wife lung slice," "Plain abalone buttons up the duck," "Tube-shaped container of glutinous rice chicken," "Strange juice," "Deep-fried seasame children stick," "Lactopork," or "Choicely raw material taste-tempting." On the other hand "Passion Donuts" sound great right about now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By kkfgeo on December 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Reading the little gems on this book made me laugh so hard, tears started coming out of my eyes. It is even funnier if you can know Chinese, like the menu item "Black Pepper Cowboy Bones".... the item actually is Cross-cut Beef Spareribs in Black Pepper Sauce. Sorry, I just can't stop laughing!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Globalization is a wonderful thing. It brings together people, cultures, and products that would normally be separated by such vast differences that under normal circumstances would rarely come in touch. We have come a long way from Marco Polo and his exotic narratives of the peculiarities of China. Today, Chines-made products are everywhere, and even the smallest out of the way town has a Chines restaurant or two. If you've ever bought a cheap Chinese product or dined in a not-too-polished Chinese restaurant, chances are you've come across an inadvertently humorous translation or two. Funny translations from other languages are not uncommon either, but there is something about the Chinese ones that makes them particularly outlandish. This is perhaps due to the vast linguistic differences between English and Chinese, which makes proper translations from one language into the other practically a form of art.

This small, short book is a collection of 100+ images of various Chinese signs or posters that have been mistranslated into English in a particularly humorous manner. The translations range from mildly humorous ones that will elicit just a chuckle, to the real lough-out-loud gems. Some of the signs that are included are "Deformed man toilet," "Wash after relief," "Unripe food," "No romping in the hall," and many others. It's a fun little book that can be used as an inexpensive and amusing gift.
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