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Chinglish: Found in Translation Paperback – August 8, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; Later Printing edition (August 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423603354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423603351
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.4 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a gift for a family member after seeing it in a store on vacation. He was thrilled to received it as a gift later. So many laughs as the book was passed around during a family gathering and also makes a great conversation starter sitting on a coffee table.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is full of some very funny translations into English on signage around China. There are pictures of the actual signs with the Chinese characters on top and the English translation on the bottom and so they appear to be legitimate and not made up just for the humor of it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a lot of good examples of Chinglish, but I've seen many excellent examples that I wish would have made it into the book. I would give the book a 3.5/5. I felt it could have been better, especially considering that we could simply google "Chinglish" to find hundreds of funny examples.
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