Fuck the Fresh Fruit: save bad Chinese/English translations

My friend Hutch was with me when I snapped this photo of an unfortunately-translated travel agency sign in Lhasa, Tibet. Hutch found some other translation beauties elsewhere along his travels in China, and says,

The term "Chinglish" generally refers to poor translations from Chinese to English. Humorous examples can be found on several web sites, which post photos of signs and printed materials found in China, or product packaging from China. Recently the Chinese government has begun a campaign to eliminate Chinglish. From an article in the London Telegraph:
Beijing has launched a campaign to wipe out "Chinglish", a version of English that results in weird and largely incomprehensible phrases. The "language mandarins" of Beijing have decided that Chinglish is a blight on China's modernising pretensions and must be obliterated before the city hosts the Olympic Games in 2008.

The targets of the campaign range from the nonsensical to the charming. A road sign on the Avenue of Eternal Peace, for instance, advised: "To Take Notice of Safe; The Slippery are Very Crafty", a warning that the pavement was slippery.

A sign in a Beijing park reads: "Little grass is smiling slightly, Please walk on pavement." At a Chinese eatery near the British embassy, diners can choose "bean curd with feeling" or "special fumed fish".

There are times when Chinglish communicates a message well, if a little quaintly. Signs at railway stations, for example, often state: "Take very good caution over pocket pickers." The reason for the abundance of such convoluted phrases is that Chinese is a difficult language to translate literally into English - or vice versa.

[...] The Beijing Tourism Bureau has established a hotline for reporting signs and other public messages that do not read correctly and has received many telephone calls and emails. Li Honghai, the city official in charge of the campaign, said: "Linguistic perfection is becoming increasingly important with the rise in the number of foreigners flowing into the city."

Last June I spent most of a two hour layover in Beijing on a wild taxi ride to stores near the airport, trying to find a charger for my camera battery. While running up the escalator in a department store I spotted some classic examples of Chinglish on the signs that indicated which departments were on each floor. My favorites were:

"Thing on bed"

"Take a picture - clap for the remembe"


"Fuck the fresh fruit and vegetable"

Unfortunately, I didn't get photos. But I had a GPS receiver with me, so I know the location of the store!

Here's my lazyweb request:

Are you now, or will you soon be in Beijing? Do you have a GPS receiver? Do you have a camera (with a charged battery)? Will you please get photos of those signs? From in front of the terminal we drove due north. We then turned right to go east along the perimeter of the airport. We stopped near:

N 40' 07.773"
E 116" 38.763"
Datum WGS 84 (Garmin default)

The store was on the northwest corner. You can email the photos to me at chinglish@hutchfx.com. I'll post them and submit the link to boingboing. Or you can post them and submit your link here.



  1. The word “dry” and the Chinese slang for “fuck” are the same. Many translation software that are used by unqualified translators, usually people who know a bit of English and want to make some money on the side by picking up a translation job, would translate “dry goods” into “fuck goods”, and “dry fruits” into “fuck fruit” etc.
    Chinese have no conjugation for singular and plural. Signs would say, e.g., “We sell apple” instead of “We sell apples.”
    The Yeti, just happened to pass by.

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