“Campus safety” – the joys of Chinglish pt.1

8 Sep

I’ve been a bit busy these past few days. Chinese language class started Tuesday (about which I hope to post soon) and today I toured the migrant school where I will begin teaching English next week. In case you were wondering, Yes, the school is filled with adorable little Chinese children.

In the meantime, please enjoy the photos below, from Monday’s “opening ceremony” for international students. For the first hour, it was an absolute snoozer. One by one, the head of the foreign students department, the university president, and the president of the foreign students’ union took his or her place in front of the lectern (left), then delivered a speech that, in and of itself, was reasonably concise. The problem lay to the right: three translators – English, Japanese, and Korean – who interpreted every speech through a microphone, two or three aggravating sentences at a time. It felt like I was on a cruise ship where announcements have to be repeated in five different languages.

D'Artagnan and the Three Stooges

The oratory finally concluded, it was then, to the audience’s silent chagrin, time for a “campus safety talk” with a local Public Security Bureau officer, who required a translator (thankfully just English) as he spoke only Mandarin. The following 45 minutes were, well, interesting…

Pay particular attention to the burglar illustration

Critical thinking vs. rote memorization, crystallized

A few slides were changed too quickly for me take pictures, but they included great lines like:

  • “Nowadays, the technology of stealing is advanced that may not be imagined”
  • (Regarding internet scams) “You had better choose some famous websites for your shopping on the net”
  • “The method of asking the police for help”
  • (In case of emergency) “Remember the feathers [features] of criminal and protect yourself”

As you may have noticed in the title, this post constitutes part one in an ongoing (never-ending?) series on “Chinglish,” the sublime butchering of Chinese-to-English translations. Stay tuned for more to come.


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