I had heard rumors that many signs existed that showed funny attempts to translate Chinese into English. As I was in Beijing, I looked for examples of this. I was disappointed to not find any. Mind you, I’m sure they exist in the Beijing area.
My reasoning for this lack of evidence was the need for the Chinese to improve signage for the Beijing Olympics that happened back in 2008. All the English translations that I saw in Beijing were quite readable and easily understood. As ching-lish lines can be quite humorous, I was disappointed to not see any.
To my delight, I actually saw one during my tour of the Ming tombs, north of Beijing. I’m sure that the term “forward slope” had something to do with going uphill, and “throw caution” had something to do with exercising caution. While it is possible to discern part of the meaning, it can be quite entertaining while you’re actually doing that.
I very much look forward to finding additional examples of ching-lish on my next Beijing tour.
If you have any examples of ching-lish that you’d like to share with us, feel free to submit a comment below.
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