China Normal Travels

Stanito vs China Signs – Part 2


Dear reader,
As we were saying, China has a lot to offer. Apart from its obvious beauty, dramatic history, culture and landscapes, China is a trick that will intrigue even the best translators on earth. Walking down the streets or simply paying attention inside train stations you’ll find hilarious signs that will make you wonder “Is this on purpose?!” Definitely not. It might be due to excessive reliance on dictionaries, and here is the result:

China sign ventilation Stanito© Stanito, 2013

I was walking by with my buddies Riccio and Ames, when we spotted this funny sign. It literally means “attentive/warning ventilation” 注意通风, pinyin Zhùyì tōngfēng. It’s weird but still makes sense, right? Honest typo. But overtime things got more interesting. Check on this sign I found at Beijing South Train Station

moneyrecyclestanito© Stanito, 2013

An ATM that offers recycled bills to green-minded travelers, or… they’re either very open minded about money laundry. What’s your guess?

IF© Stanito, 2013

But look at this one, the sign is translated correctly, every word says its correct meaning in English, BUT, reading them all together… they make no sense. Another one I thought it was hilarious found it near Xuzhou

lookoutknowckheadstanito© Stanito, 2013

小心 = Xiǎoxīn, careful 磕 = Kè, knock/strike 头 = Tóu, head The translation seems accurate but all together sounds like an order to do exactly what the sign instructs to save your head from unnecessary pain. I was intrigued, I found so many of these signs that I started wondering if they actually realize how foreigners read them! As if the issue wasn’t really to translate a sentence but rather the core idea, for which I would understand the look out knock head sign. I kept wondering about it until my friends and I arrived to Tianjin:

Stanito China pyrate brands© Stanito, 2013

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