Sunday, October 15, 2006

YouTube in China?

I've just read an interesting analysis on the implications of the Google YouTube deal for China I want to share with you. More info at David Wolf's Silicon Hutong blog.

The Complicated Cake

While Beijing is freneticly preparingfor the Olympics, the authorities try to ensure that visitors will be able to navegate through the linguistic jungle of Mandarin: therefore, everybody is making an effort to sign-out bilingual: in Chinese and in English. The outcome of the translations - everybody who has tried to read an English menu in any Beijing restaurant will know - is "Chinglish".

In menues one can frequently find items such as "corrugated iron beef", "government abuse chicken" or "chop the strange fish". The mistranslations
from Chinese phrases into English on product packaging are also common place causing serious doubts about the content inside...

"The Complicated Cake"

The mistranslations arise because many Chinese words express concepts obliquely and can be interpreted in multiple ways, making translation a minefield for non-English speakers. The BBC reoports that Beijing city authorities will issue new translation guides by the end of the year since previous attempts to clamp down on bad English have failed.
Safty Warning Flashing Lamp ... when the bright is not enough!