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364 comments

Cookie (5, Funny)

spiffyinferno (832679) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453427)

I can't wait to read the fortune cookies.

Re:Cookie (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453607)

Fortune cookies are an American invention. They're as unknown in China as Chop Suey.

Re:Cookie (5, Informative)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453889)

Not completely. They're actually of Japanese origin, though sort of a re-adaptation by 19th-century Japanese immigrants of a somewhat different fortune cookie.

Like the burrito, it's actually kind of wrong to treat the fortune cookie as strictly an American misconception. (Burritos are of Californian origin, it is true: but from the era when California was part of Mexico.)

Re:Cookie (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453931)

The story I heard is that fortune cookies were invented in New York City.

New York City?! (5, Funny)

nhaines (622289) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454039)

Get the rope.

Re:Cookie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453687)

...in bed!

Re:Cookie (0)

mixmatch (957776) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453747)

Except in bed [xkcd.com]

Re:Cookie (0, Redundant)

rhfixer (920651) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453903)

Oh, you know... That's what she said. [xkcd.com]

Re:Cookie (5, Funny)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453799)

How do we know its a resturant?

I thought it would be more likely a computer repair shop.

In the words of the immortal Jimmy James (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453457)

The original title of this book was 'Jimmy James, Capitalist Lion Tamer' but I see now that it's... 'Jimmy James, Macho Business Donkey Wrestler'... you know what it is... I had the book translated in to Japanese then back in again into English. Macho Business Donkey Wrestler... well there you go... it's got kind of a ring to it don't it? Anyway, I wanted to read from chapter three... which is the story of my first rise to financial prominence... I had a small house of brokerage on Wall Street... many days no business come to my hut... my hut... but Jimmy has fear? A thousand times no. I never doubted myself for a minute for I knew that my monkey strong bowels were girded with strength like the loins of a dragon ribboned with fat and the opulence of buffalo... dung. ...Glorious sunset of my heart was fading. Soon the super karate monkey death car would park in my space. But Jimmy has fancy plans... and pants to match. The monkey clown horrible karate round and yummy like cute small baby chick would beat the donkey.

Re:In the words of the immortal Jimmy James (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453515)

A News Radio reference on Slashdot...awesome. One of the most underrated shows in recent memory.

Anyone who has ever used Babelfish to translate any random phrase from their own language to any other language and back again should know better than to trust a web-based translator to give anything other than a very rough idea of what any given piece of text actually says. To use them in place of an actual human translator for tasks like the one in the article (or rather, the picture) is madness.

Re:In the words of the immortal Jimmy James (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453609)

Crazy? Does not have EC is their Sparta.

Re:In the words of the immortal Jimmy James (1)

bjmoneyxxx (1227784) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453705)

In The Great Pot Healer by Philip K. Dick, the protagonist plays a game like this with government wage slaves around the world, by feeding a title of a famous novel/movie/etc. and then feeding it back out, and they take turns guessing

Bet it'll work for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453459)

All your lunches are belong to us

My Personal Favorite (5, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453481)

The grandmother of an extremely attractive young lady in Toronto used Chinese characters in a design she embroidered on one of the girl's shirts. Somebody in Chinatown eventually pointed out to her that the characters said, "This dish is inexpensive but delicious."

Re:My Personal Favorite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453951)

Dear Sir/ Madam We are retail dealer, located in Abidjan, the commercial city of Ivory Coast, West Africa. We are contacting you with the translate server error of establishing a good business relationship with your company by making some purchase from you...

Re:My Personal Favorite (4, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453991)

Good thing it wasn't a tattoo.

Great, but it is not... (5, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453483)

It is not a gaff like, Chevy Nova in South America, No va meaning No go, but that could be truth in advertising. Or, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken" being translated into, "It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused."

Some others:

"It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." translating into "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."

Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.

The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Bite the Wax Tadpole"

Re:Great, but it is not... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453533)

Chevy Nova in South America, No va meaning No go, but that could be truth in advertising.

Although that one is a well-traveled urban legend, I can say from experience that referring to the Chevy Nova as "no go" would indeed be truth in advertising.

Re:Great, but it is not... (4, Funny)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453567)

You remind me of KFC's "We do chicken right" being translated (by others, not official, I think) to "We are prostitutes and that's right!" ("chicken" being the slang for prostitutes).

Re:Great, but it is not... (0)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453619)

Slurm - Ride the Walrus!

Re:Great, but it is not... (4, Informative)

Palpitations (1092597) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453891)

Mod parent down!

"Ride the Walrus!" is the slogan for Fishy Joe's Extreme Walrus Juice.

"Whimmy wham wham wozzle!" - Slurm MacKenzie's catchphrase, is probably the closest you can get to a Slurm slogan.

And don't even get me started on Bachelor Chow...

Re:Great, but it is not... (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453923)

*ahem* Sorry. I think my Lightspeed Underwear were on too tight.

Re:Great, but it is not... (1)

Palpitations (1092597) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453977)

Quite alright. While you're here, what are you using to bait your owl traps? I haven't been having much luck with mine.

Re:Great, but it is not... (5, Informative)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453621)

The Chevy Nova one is an urban legend. Straight from snopes.com
Assuming that Spanish speakers would naturally see the word "nova" as equivalent to the phrase "no va" and think "Hey, this car doesn't go!" is akin to assuming that English speakers woud spurn a dinette set sold under the name Notable because nobody wants a dinette set that doesn't include a table

Also from Snope on the "Bite the Wax Tadpole"
This representation literally translated as "to allow the mouth to be able to rejoice," but it acceptably represented the concept of "something palatable from which one receives pleasure."

The other ones are unconfirmed and seem to exist mainly on sites the quote urban legends as facts.

Re:Great, but it is not... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453785)

That's a very bad analogy by Snopes. Although "nova" doesn't necessarily equal "no va" which means "it doesn't go", "nova" actually isn't a word in Spanish (although novate/novase is a reflexive verb that is probably never used) and upon hearing it, a Spanish speaker would assume (and they did) that it means "no va". The English "notable" is already a word with a different meaning and different pronunciation.

As far as "bite the wax tadpole" is concerned, well, I just like that better anyway. They should make that the American version.

Re:Great, but it is not... (5, Informative)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453887)

Nova means the exact same thing in Spanish as it does in English. It very much is a word.

Re:Great, but it is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453987)

Did you read further down, where Snopes claims that "Nova" not only is a word in Spanish, it is a brand of Mexican gasoline? Unless you're going to deny that too, I'd say your argument is destroyed.

Re:Great, but it is not... (1)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454017)

Read the snopes article, I merely quoted a VERY small part of it to accentuate the silliness of thinking Nova means "No go".

Re:Great, but it is not... (1)

ctetc007 (875050) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453629)

I love the phrase they taught me in high school computer science: "The spirit is strong, but the flesh is weak" translates in Russian to "The vodka is great, but the meat is rotten"

Re:Great, but it is not... (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453691)

Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.
The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Bite the Wax Tadpole"

Bullshit urban legends. Citations?

No, those are myths (5, Informative)

amake (673443) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453733)

Snopes.com debunks the Chevy Nova myth [snopes.com] and the Coke-tadpole story [snopes.com] . I've never heard of the other two, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were bunk as well.

Re:Great, but it is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453791)

I remember hearing about "Finger lickin' good" translating into "It's so good, you'll bite your fingers off!" in some African language.

Probably also an urban legend.

Re:Great, but it is not... (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453939)

What's funny is that, Spanish grammar being different from English grammar, "no va" doesn't just mean "no go", but literally translates as "it DOES NOT go", which is a very clear statement, lol.

Developer failure (5, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453491)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should also internationalise your error messages.

Re:Developer failure (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453513)

This would be a great name for an internet cafe.

In Korea I saw a street sign saying (something like) "exit roap this way". In Malaysia a place where you can pick your own strawberries advertises "Self Plucking".

Re:Developer failure (5, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453677)

Mine are all in Spanish, the official and future language of the United States, and therefore, all of the world. It's the Spanish exposition.

Re:Developer failure (5, Funny)

AJWM (19027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453715)

Nobody expects the Spanish exposition!

(But admit it, you were all expecting that line, weren't you.)

Re:Developer failure (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453743)

Its funny how Spanish keeps expanding and French keeps shrinking, despite official support from Governments. Maybe it is just a better language.

Re:Developer failure (3, Funny)

Geek of Tech (678002) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453801)

Nah. The real factor is that the soaps are better in Spanish.

Re:Developer failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453929)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should also internationalise your error messages.

No. This is why you should make your error messages hilarious.

"Fuck goods" (5, Funny)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453493)

Another classic that you may or may not have heard of is "fuck goods [google.com] ".

Due to simplification of Chinese characters, the words "dry" and a "do" merged into one single simplified Chinese character. In slang, "do" can mean copulation. The correct translation is "dried goods". You can see the rest yourself.

Re:"Fuck goods" (1)

traveller.ct (958378) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453909)

Yes, in Simplified Chinese, "dry" and "do" are written the same; but they are pronounced differently. There can be no confusion when spoken. Just one of the downfalls of an online translator I suppose.

let's have some fun (5, Funny)

j01123 (1147715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453497)

+1 Funny to the first one who can use DNS cache poisoning [slashdot.org] to trick a Beijing restaurant into calling itself the "Free Tibet Cafe".

Re:let's have some fun (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453555)

A moderation that doesn't add anything to my karma in exchange for causing a major international incident? Sold!

Kinda old. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453501)

I saw this several weeks ago. And, as usual, no one follows the blog trail to the source [fun.drno.de] .

Also, fuck blogs. I've hated them since I first heard the word in like 1999 or whenever the fuck it was.

Re:Kinda old. (0, Flamebait)

kirbysuperstar (1198939) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453719)

Oh, you're so cool. You must be the Fonzie of anonymous cowards. Quick, let me hear you say "sit on it"!

Tattoos (1)

BinBoy (164798) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453535)

Makes me wonder what the trendy tattoos of Asian writing actually translate to.

Re:Tattoos (2, Funny)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453643)

Hint: It begins with sucking and ends with cock :-)

Your one-stop shop for bad Hanzi/Kanji tattoos... (2, Informative)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453723)

http://www.hanzismatter.com/ [hanzismatter.com] .

Re:Tattoos (1)

j01123 (1147715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453871)

Makes me wonder what the trendy tattoos of Asian writing actually translate to.

Probably "gullible gaijin [wikipedia.org] ".

From a printer in Mexico... (5, Funny)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453543)

I get tons of jobs with broken English, and when trying to fix them, I get berated, because "cousin Pancho lives in the US since 1980, and that's how he says it's written". I just let it be, and casually mention it's wrong, but what do I know? After all, I'm just an amateur grammar nazi with access to countless online dictionaries! Let them keep selling "blanckets" instead of blankets, "abandon" the hotel instead of checking out, and "get your kitchen stoned" instead of buying marble furniture. I guess bad translations are meant to be part of the tourist experience.

Oh, and if you live in San Diego and you come to a car dealership where they give you a "Leash Agreement" instead of a Lease one, tell them I said hi!

Re:From a printer in Mexico... (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453579)

Oh, and if you live in San Diego and you come to a car dealership where they give you a "Leash Agreement" instead of a Lease one, tell them I said hi!

Maybe they do more than sell cars?

Re:From a printer in Mexico... (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453651)

I wouldn't doubt it! It was some guy from Mexico who started a dealership in San Diego and was too cheap to buy commercial-grade American lease agreements. I was tempted to twist the small print a bit, but I was afraid I'd end up paying for double material.

Another of my English product highlights was a label for play money. I was given creative freedom, so I did it as if I was writing Engrish. I came up with "Little Millionaire's Play Money: Financial Fun!" The client LOVED it with fanatical glee!

Alternate labels from the client included "Six Pack of Cash", "Tree of Money" and "Money for Small Rich People".

Cheap-ass Chinese (5, Interesting)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453551)

I have this impression of China that everything there is done as cheaply as possible without regard to safety or double checking, etc. It reminds me of one of my favorite blog posts showing the difference between the way the Japanese and the Chinese refuel a plane [theatlantic.com] . Notice that the Chinese guy is starting the siphoning of the fuel with his mouth. The owners of this restaurant were too cheap to pay some English-speaking Chinese kid a hundred yuan to translate it for them. At least we get some laughs out of it.

Re:Cheap-ass Chinese (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453713)

I have this impression of China that everything there is done as cheaply as possible without regard to safety or double checking, etc. It reminds me of one of my favorite blog posts showing the difference between the way the Japanese and the Chinese refuel a plane [theatlantic.com] . Notice that the Chinese guy is starting the siphoning of the fuel with his mouth. The owners of this restaurant were too cheap to pay some English-speaking Chinese kid a hundred yuan to translate it for them. At least we get some laughs out of it.

There is probably more English done right than wrong in China, and the truth is that these people are using english not to inform, but to add some level of flair to their "marketing".

Most importantly, it isn't targeted at english speaking people.

Re:Cheap-ass Chinese (4, Interesting)

antic (29198) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453805)

The same is true of business everywhere. Ugly business cards, self-made web sites, dodgy signage, refusing to post out a brochure because they were "quite expensive to print" - all because a lot of business people are watching their wallet.

If Chinese restaurants would pay for the service, someone would make an absolute killing going through correcting even just the menus. Was in China a couple of weeks ago and wouldn't have seen an error-free menu anywhere in the country.

Re:Cheap-ass Chinese (4, Insightful)

bornwaysouth (1138751) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453817)

No. The Chinese are having to do things cheaply because they have low wages. A babelfish translator is probably better than an English-speaking Chinese kid. This is because you should translate from your second language into the culture you are competent in. A Chinese-American who knows what people are looking for in a restaurant is optimal. After all, translating the Chinese for 'inexpensive' to 'dirt cheap' is correct, but even a multilingual kid might not pick up on the nuances. Beijing have supposedly removed dog off the menus for the duration of the Games. So how would they interpret someone asking for a 'Hot dog'. Call over the English speaking kid who would explain that the government had banned them.

There are possibly, a horde of examples of Americans badly translating into Chinese. You know, 'Server Translation Error' becoming 'Waiter moving sideways badly'. You have to say to yourself, I do not know about them. Possibly because I am incompetent in the languages of China, but it also could be because the Chinese may regard stuff ups like these worth relating over a drink, but not to be published to the world. It is impolite.

What I do recognize from the "Server Translation Error" is my own experience on a Help Desk when the regular guy was absent and I as junior programmer took over. I had to explain to clients what the error messages meant. Often, they meant we had not caught the error early enough, and the real explanation for say "Your registration is out of date" was that one of the networked databases had failed to update. At times the error messages totally flummoxed us. They had been there so long, without being reported, that we no longer knew they existed.

The humor I take from this is a rueful, 'Been there; Done that.'

Re:Cheap-ass Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453873)

I have this impression of China that everything there is done as cheaply as possible without regard to safety or double checking, etc. It reminds me of one of my favorite blog posts showing the difference between the way the Japanese and the Chinese refuel a plane. Notice that the Chinese guy is starting the siphoning of the fuel with his mouth.

Here's an alternate theory: China is very poor when compared to Japan.

Beyond Engrish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453879)

This is too funny. It's way past plain bad Engrish which may still gives one a clue. Like you said, the owner was too cheap to ask a translator and was too lazy to double check the translation. I mean, he could at least re-translate the English words to Chinese to see if they were remotely close to what the original words mean.

Re:Cheap-ass Chinese (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453979)

I have this impression of China that everything there is done as cheaply as possible without regard to safety or double checking, etc.

Don't I wish. I'm a consultant to the architects working on a large new building in Shanghai. I can't go into much depth, but there are definitely details over which city officials have strong concerns.

Try to tell city officials, for example, that a subterranean parking garage doesn't need fire doors throughout, with *surprisingly* strong doors at the bottom level. . .

Re:Cheap-ass Chinese (4, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454035)

are you kidding me? Japanese have some of the horriblest English translation ever.

All your base are belong to us, white man!

Free International Advertising (4, Insightful)

Shade of Pyrrhus (992978) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453559)

This also probably worked to their advantage - now how many people outside of China know about this restaurant? I figure people would at least want to go there to take a picture in front of the sign or whatnot.

If like you like this sort of thing.. (5, Informative)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453569)

(and I do), I'm sure you'll appreciate

http:://www.engrish.com [http]

Re:If like you like this sort of thing.. (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453707)

I've always loved that site. My favorite sign of all time there is "Bus Porking"

Interesting nomenclature... (4, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453637)

I have a street map of Kyoto with a legend translating the Japanese for "WC" into English - "Cornhole Palace".

Something tells me that wasn't entirely accidental.

Even when it works... (2, Interesting)

Roskolnikov (68772) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453655)

Its funny; things just don't translate cleanly.

take:
Buck a scoop Chinese food.
babel it and you get:
é'æS--ç"äåoeäé£Yç©
babel it again and you get:
Resists stubbornly wooden scoop Chinese food

yummy.

Re:Even when it works... (4, Insightful)

AaxelB (1034884) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453831)

To be fair, though, I (a native, English-speaking American) couldn't parse "Buck a scoop Chinese food" the first two times I read it. Without a number ahead of it, "buck" reads like a verb. I think you'd need near human-level intelligence when given that string out of context to deduce that you're not talking about bucking a scoop of Chinese food, whatever that means.

Also, Babelfish kinda sucks at producing natural-sounding translations. Google gives me "Blame the spoon will be Chinese food." See how much clearer that is?

Re:Even when it works... (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453875)

How about (buck-a-scoop) (Chinese food), as in, inexpensive.

Wtf is "Buck a scoop Chinese food." (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453863)

It's not like I understand it, how can we expect the software to understand what it means?

Google is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453657)

At least you can translate "American Idol" to Croatian and not get an error! Who knew it came out to be "Home Loan Lender".

!News (1)

Hackerlish (1308763) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453659)

Funny, but not news.

What kind of site does Slashdot want to be? (0, Offtopic)

EjectButton (618561) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453663)

I'm sorry but I need to rant for a second here.

I have been reading Slashdot for a fairly long time, not as long as some but regularly since around 2000 or so. There are two main reasons I have kept coming back to Slashdot all these years when other sites have come and gone from my list of regular bookmarks:
1. Selection and tone of articles, centering primarily on tech news.
2. Quality of comments on said articles.

I don't have any hard data here (it would be a difficult thing to quantify objectively) but it _seems_ to me that both of these items have been in sharp decline over the last year or two.

I don't know if it's Slashdot trying to chase Digg, if it's some change in direction pushed by the owners, or maybe it's just my imagination. There seem to be two major content models with most tech news sites falling on a continuum between the two extremes. On the one end you have the strong editor model where stories are researched, editors decide what matches the tone and focus of the site and the majority of the material submitted is discarded. On the other end you have a user generated content free-for-all. There are advantages and disadvantages to each model, primarily in the trade off between speed and accuracy.

Right now Slashdot seems to be sliding towards a worst of all worlds, approaching the content quality of a Digg or Reddit but with the speed of sites with a strong editorial model like Wired or ArsTechnica. Lots of silly, irrelevant, or already debunked articles, and tired jokes that stopped being funny a week ago on other sites. There is no long term model for such a site.

The biggest thing Slashdot has going for it right now is a well known name and what's left of the commenters, which are still better than average and on a good day you can find at least one or two experts on almost any topic. The Slashdot editors (a couple in particular, you know who they are) seem to be throwing a great deal of these high-noise / low-signal stories on the front page. These stories may generate more comments, controversy, and page views per entry but they are changing the level of discourse and the image of the site in the long term.

Perhaps it's deliberate and the site owners have a game plan that is way over my head, I just want to point out that you are making a very real tradeoff in the long run.

Re:What kind of site does Slashdot want to be? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453759)

Google Trends agrees with you [google.com] .

Re:What kind of site does Slashdot want to be? (-1, Offtopic)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453797)

I've only been reading Slashdot for about two years now, and I've noticed a decline too. Maybe it's just the novelty of actually reading news I care about finally wearing off, but I don't think so. When I wake up in the morning, there's usually about seven or eight stories posted on the front page while I sleep; I used to read all of them in full, now I find myself skipping about five of them because they just aren't interesting. And when Slashdot does get something interesting, chances are I've read it already on OS News or Ars Technica. About the only things I come to Slashdot for now are the legal and medical articles.

Re:What kind of site does Slashdot want to be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453833)

You should know by now that all posts by kdawson and timothy are shit. That's why you go to your preferences and hide their posts.

That is funny, but (3, Interesting)

greyhueofdoubt (1159527) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453665)

That is pretty funny, but without the server error I've found chinese translators (traditional and simplified han) to work better than most languages. I was going to find a funny mistranslation, but my systran translator worked flawlessly. The worst I could find with my original subject line, "that was pretty funny," was, "that was quite funny."

The situation is worse with longer or more complex sentences and turns of phrase, but I was surprised at the level of sophistication of modern machine translation. This story should really be making fun of whatever server the translator was running on rather than the cafe owner or the translator itself.

What I find interesting about printed chinese english is that it is often printed in the same typeface. Look at many of the inspection tags, instructions, or 'made in china' tags that you have on products laying about; chances are that they are all in an identical old-fashioned serif typeface. Can anyone tell us the story behind this generic 'english' typeface that I run into so often?

-b

Re:That is funny, but (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453729)

What I find interesting about printed chinese english is that it is often printed in the same typeface. Look at many of the inspection tags, instructions, or 'made in china' tags that you have on products laying about; chances are that they are all in an identical old-fashioned serif typeface. Can anyone tell us the story behind this generic 'english' typeface that I run into so often?

Chinese fonts have thousands of characters. They also include all the standard European ones. Unfortunately, whatever the Chinese looks like, they all seem to have copied the same crappy old spindly English letters, probably from some Windows 2.0 font. Sometimes I work with Chinese text and I always change the font for the English words to get something more presentable.

Re:That is funny, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453933)

Interesting. Another thing I've noticed about English text from Asian countries is that it's often stretched or squished to fit a space. To me text with the wrong aspect ratio always looks weird and amateurish. Is it common practice to stretch and squish Asian characters, or is that something that's only done with English?

Re:That is funny, but (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454015)

Interesting. Another thing I've noticed about English text from Asian countries is that it's often stretched or squished to fit a space. To me text with the wrong aspect ratio always looks weird and amateurish. Is it common practice to stretch and squish Asian characters, or is that something that's only done with English?

When the printer or layout person doesn't read English, they just make it fit. The customer often doesn't care either, it's just boilerplate to them.

Re:That is funny, but (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453827)

Well, pre-unicode chinese "wide" (multiple-byte, but actually typically wider on screen too, due to the higher level of detail required to convey chinese ideograms) charsets like Big5 and GB still included "fullwidth" latin characters (fullwidth: double the width of normal latin characters, so that they fit in "better" with chinese ideograms at that width). Actually, unicode encodes them too, for backward compatibility (adding to URL-spoofing problems).
These fullwidth "latin" letters are at different code points to normal ASCII!

The chinese tend to decide the fullwidth forms look "better" with serifs (more stylistically compatible with their ideograms), so they almost always have serifs, and since they're not (well,the "fullwidth" ones anyway) at the same encoding points as "real" latin characters, changing the latin font tends not to change the chinese-"latin" "fullwidth" characters, so they keep looking like the same old serif forms from the chinese font. So even with the best of intentions, it tends to be difficult to get rid of the ugly old serif characters when localising something originally produced in china, especially if the work isn't being done by a total computer geek who has a hope of understanding what's going on when he selects the fullwidth latin characters and changing the font doesn't work as expected.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fullwidth [wikipedia.org]

Re:That is funny, but (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454003)

I used google's translation service to translate your post first to Chinese, then back to English and came up with:

This is quite ridiculous, but no server error I found that the Chinese translation (traditional and simplified Chinese), to work better than the general language. I would like to find an interesting misinterpretation, but I systran translation work perfect. The worst I can find my original subject line, "It was quite funny," yes, "This is quite ridiculous." The situation is serious, with longer or more complex sentences and turns of phrase, but I am surprised at the complexity of modern machine translation. This story is really fun to make, regardless of the server is running on the translator, translator or owners of Internet cafes rather than their own. I think the interesting Indian Chinese English, it is often printed in the same font. Check to see many of the markers, direction or 'made in China' label, you lay some of the products; opportunities is that they are the same as the old-fashioned in a serif font. No one can tell us the story behind this common English 'character, I get, so often?

Â

They should Bite the Wax Tadpole... (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453703)

...and get a Coca Cola sign.

Just 1 litte problem.... (2, Interesting)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453735)

my chinese isn't good enough to confirm that it actually is a translation error...
for all i know, it's an accurate translation

Manufactured Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453753)

I don't find this all that amusing. Not serious, just not funny. Whatever opinions you have on China (Tibet, free speech, Signapore), at base, one ought to respect the honest efforts of honest people to welcome a metric buttload of strangers. I predict great success with this name. Visitors will find it humorous and ironic - but not "haha" funny.

Lolcommunists (1)

StealthyRoid (1019620) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453823)

icanhas5yearplan?

Mistake? Or Clever Marketing? (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453837)

Perhaps those Chinese restauranteurs are smarter than we think!

Now every geek across the world has heard of the Translate Server Error cafe, and the five of us that get out of our mom's basement and head to China for the Olympics are definitely going to look for this place and try it.

Blocked (2, Interesting)

topnob (1195249) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453839)

The funny thing is that that site is blocked, at least in Shanghai!

Even more fail than it looks (5, Informative)

alerante (781942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453841)

The Chinese text on the banner (can1 ting1) is simply a generic term for "dining hall" or "cafeteria", which makes this even funnier.

Re:Even more fail than it looks (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454043)

Any chance can1 ting1 is a "phonetic" "translation" of the English word canteen? Just a guess--my Cantonese-speaking in-laws have exposed me to a fair number of "Chinese" words that are just sound-alikes based on either English or French so the similarity made me wonder.

Not Restaurants Fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453937)

The software they used should of given them an error message in Chinese instead on English. Translation software has no excuse for not providing error messages in the users language.

Re:Not Restaurants Fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24453949)

Their software is so good that it translates the error message using itself.

if only they can see it (2, Interesting)

javabsp (591265) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453973)

just talked to someone in China (Xian), and he told me he couldn't get to it...

Headline (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 5 years ago | (#24453975)

Somehow, I get the feeling I've just been insulted...

Priceless (1)

Maximus633 (1316457) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454025)

Checking name of store for translation online: Free Having a big sign created with what you believe the translation to be: 200 yen Having all the english speakers laugh at you because of the translation mess up: Priceless! For everything else there a 404 error!

Quote (1)

jagdish (981925) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454047)

The quote at the bottom of the slashdot page makes this story funnier.

"HOST SYSTEM NOT RESPONDING, PROBABLY DOWN. DO YOU WANT TO WAIT? (Y/N)"



But like someone said, China is all about finding a way to do things.
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