Reflection: Lost in Translation

bya Gabrielle at 5:32 AM

Ray, a native of Beijing, asked me to correct the mistranslations of the signs I took pictures of so that he could have a better understanding of standard English. He was referring to my recent post entitled Lost in Translation. For all I know, there may be other native Chinese people reading my blog trying to enhance their English ability. Because of that, I will now translate them in what should have been their proper form or what would have made more sense.

The first picture on my original post was of the back of our hotel door in Shenzhen. It was instructions on how to get out of the hotel if a fire occurred. In it’s original form it was as follows:

When the fire occurs runs away to,Must use the wet towel clothes, the cloth class and so on to cover up the mouth nose, bends the waist lowers the head the advance by creeping.

Leaves the scene of a fire through the security staircase.,

This is how it should have looked like:

When a fire occurs, use wet towels or clothes to cover up your mouth and nose. Bend at the waist and crawl on the floor to the nearest exit. To leave, use the staircase. Do not use the elevator.

The other picture was of a business in Hangzhou:

Hangzhou Local Famous Specialty Monopolized Store

Perhaps it would have looked more proper if it had been written like this, but there are a half a dozen other ways it could have been done. This way there isn’t so much redundancy. Hangzhou and Local cancel each other out, as well Specialty and Monopolized. You could technically throw Famous in there somewhere, but it isn’t completely necessary.

Hangzhou Specialty Store

with Famous: Famous Hangzhou Specialty Store or Hangzhou’s Famous Specialty Store

Hope this helps, Ray.

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