oh please no

January 14th, 2008

I wish nobody had ever come up with this braindead idea, and now that they have, judging by this article, we have an example of an official English name for a Chinese dish that is still “chinglishy” and potentially misleading. Spring chicken. That’s right, order this dish and the staff will find the youngest person in the restaurant, chop them up, and stir-fry them.

For the sake of being constructive: If I could’ve had my way, I would’ve ordered all restaurants to pinyinise their menus and offer explanations in English, e.g. “hongshao shizitou – Chinese meatballs in red sauce”(bad example, I know, but you see my point). That would keep the Chinese names intact, make ordering a far more interesting cultural experience than just “point and click” or reading off the “English” name in the vain hope the waitress might have actually learned it, and would actually go some way towards removing the bad translations and making life easier for everybody while keeping China’s dignity intact.

2 Responses to “oh please no”

  1. John Says:

    I agree. Pinyin transcription + a description in English. Too much chance of dishes ending up with English names that aren’t exactly accurate or English names when the language has nothing which actually corresponds to the Chinese. Bit like the persistent translation of 百酒 as “wine” when it’s no such thing.

  2. wangbo Says:

    白酒, not 百酒. But yes,I agree wholeheartedly. I mean, if even their attempts to correct cock-ups include cock-ups, it’s time to shut up and pinyinise with explanations before anymore face is lost.