Friday, February 20, 2009

Lost in translation in Chinese retailing

Retailers in China need to develop a translation of local billboards to be understood from foreigners. Well, english is sometimes translated by non english speaker and it may lead to curious interpretation. I especially liked the "Translate server error".

Also, in Chinese, a same word may be used for several signification. It seams also that the same word is used to mean "dry", "to do" or "fuck" depending how it is pronounced. This word is symbolised with this simplified character: 干 . The general use of automatic machine translation created these funny mistakes. 

photo credit : James Fallow and Language Log

1 comment:

henri kaufman said...

C'est comme dans les modes d'emploi surréalistes, avec traduction automatique. Ikea surmonte le pb en ne mettant que des schémas (parfois incompréhensibles) dans ses notices de montage...