Is it Chinglish or is it just you?

I think Chinglish is funny as the next chick. Check out my new shirt.


I also think that it’s funny when people who don’t read Chinese make mistakes, like translating “Chicken and mushroom tarts” as “Timid and rapidly grown prostitute(s)” in Chinese.

(Here’s another example that requires more context than I feel like giving.)

Is that reverse Chinglish? Englese?

It’s easy to find lots of examples of Chinglish, Ingrish, or other versions of funny, bad translations in English.

But sometimes, native English speakers think they’ve found some funny Chinglish just because they’re in Asia and they didn’t understand something written in plain English.

“Traceability” here is a strange word, though it’s a common bad translation in Taiwan for “heirloom”, as in “like heirloom tomatoes.” We’re supposed to laugh at “Jew’s Ear,” but actually that’s the English name for a kind of mushrooms. (Though I think most of us prefer to call it “wood ear”, which is actually what it’s called in Chinese, too.)

traceability jew's ear

I found this one today. “Baymax the personal healthcare companion lol…oh, wait? What? There’s an American movie about Baymax the personal healthcare companion? Oh, I had no idea since I haven’t seen that movie.”

But I can’t be cheeky. When I got to Taiwan in 2004 and saw people wearing “Suicidal Tendencies” caps, I laughed because that is a ridiculous phrase and funny without any context at all. Until I learned that Suicidal Tendencies was the name of a band and I just wasn’t that cool. (To be fair, we’ve both been around since 1981 and I don’t think that they’ve heard of me, either.)

Here is a picture from tumblr. It’s still funny because a middle-aged woman is wearing and presumably she doesn’t know what it says because presumably she wouldn’t listen to Suicidal Tendencies even if she did know who they were.

Oh, middle-aged ladies. Always good for a laugh.

taiwanese woman wearing suicidal tendencies hat

And this one is funny cause POO HAHAHAHAHA but “poo” just means “crab” in Thai, a little vocabulary lesson a buddy of mine wants to teach the world. (He gets really mad about this.)

poo pad curry

Then there was this picture that my husband took and shared with the Taiwan Chinglish Facebook group. We got into a messaging-brawl with our good friend who said “urinal bowl” is perfectly acceptable English and therefore not Chinglish.

I insisted it is Chinglish because “urinal bowls” has a specific meaning as a piece of hardware for the bathroom and it’s not what we call a men’s publish bathroom, let alone a urinal.  Google it. AND I WAS RIGHT, DUDE, DROP IT!!!! YOU WANNA LOSE A FRIEND OVER A “URINAL BOWL”?!

urinal bowl

Check out these accounts for more good times:

Taiwan Chinglish on Facebook

chinglish.taiwan on instagram

Accidental Chinese Hipsters on tumblr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *