Officials in Shanghai and the capitol city of Beijing have been working on cleaning up English translated signs since the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Thousands of public signs, and hundreds of volunteers led an effort to clean up China’s English translated signs. Some were fixed and rewritten, but oh so many were left unchanged.
The English translation of these signs is known as Chinglish. Often times reading these signs will leave expats scratching their heads wondering what the heck the sign is supposed to mean. Many will walk away with a photo and a good laugh, much to the dismay of Chinese officials who want the signs to be useful, not comical.
I have posted a few of my favorites. It is quite fun just to walk around and spot the misinterpretations, whether it be at a park, the gym, or the grocery store. I try to never leave home without a camera. Though, the one time I was out without my camera, I saw a sign that I have not been able to find again. It read, “Mind your Children.” Oh my….how so many people mind their children!!!! The interpretation, I believe, was supposed to be “Do not leave your child unattended.” I guess good old fashioned parenting went out the door with this sign.
When two very different languages collide, such as English and Chinese, you end up with some very interesting Chinglish!