Random shirt – American common sense

I spotted this shirt in Tesco. Can someone explain what it means? Is it actually supposed to be anti-American or is it just a poor translation or maybe someone just put some words together?

Menu Chinglish

I haven’t posted any Chinglish for quite a while. On menus, usually the translations are literal. So they aren’t quite Chingish – just interesting names for dishes!

More Chinglish from Suzhou

“Friendship Prompt” sounds so much nicer than “Security Warning.”

Sake, Wine and Bear. Drink up!

Bathroom Chinglish

My boss Dan found these and sent them to me. They are some of the best Chinglish ever, I think!

This was by the sink.

Yvonne translated for me: Don’t dump your tea leaves and other rubbish down the drain.

Chinese makes a lot of sense in some ways. For instance, here they use pool. “Pool” to us is only something you swim in. In Chinese, it depends on what word is before pool. They would say “swim pool” or “hand pool” (for a sink.) I can’t remember sink exactly – sorry if “hand pool” is wrong!

Washroom (what we call the bathroom) is “xĭ shŏu jiān” ( 洗手间). Word for word, it literally says “wash hand room.”

This was over the urinal.

It is actually a little poem: Lai ye cong cong, qu ye chong chong.

And it means….. Even though you’re hurried, don’t forget to flush!

Hotel Chinglish

Another photo courtesy of Dan, from his and Jon’s trip to Chang Chun. They like part of #6 the best: don’t go whoring.

More subway Chinglish!

I stumbled upon a blog that had the same series of Chinglish from the Line 2 subway as I did – but he had many more than I did! Check it out. Scroll down to near the bottom of the page.

Bank of China Chinglish

Even the Bank of China has Chinglish. This is a screenshot taken after logging out.

Banking in China is not nearly as convenient as in the USA. It is still a mostly cash-based society, though many people have ATM cards now. Banks are open from 9-5 weekdays and 9:30-4 weekends, and some close for lunch. You need to take a number and wait. Usually, you can leave for an hour and come back in time for your number to be called. You have about a 20 second window to make it to the counter, or the next number will be called. Some branches don’t have the number system, so you need to stand in line. This can also take hours.

Jon gets a bit of his paycheck deposited into the China account every pay period. It gets deposited in US dollars, so he needs to actually go to the bank, bring his passport and bank book, and sign six different places to get the money transferred from USD to RMB. This can kill a Saturday morning, so he typically waits for two or three months to do this. There is no night deposit and no doing anything without your passport and actual deposit book.

Funny signs

I’m not so sure these can be called Chinglish – maybe they are just funny to me. A fellow Toastmaster told me last night that he reads my blog and these are his favorite part.

All of the taxis have the rules printed on the plastic surrounding the driver. Number 2 is: Schizophrenic or drunkard without guardian is prohibited to take the taxi. Schizophrenic can be replaced by mental patients or psychos. Oh, the lawsuits for discrimination we’d have in the US!

When I first saw this ATM, I didn’t think I could use it. It says “Cash Recycling Machine” so I thought it was something you could put in your tattered old bills in, and receive nice new crisp ones back. Sometimes people won’t take bills if they are in bad shape. To me, the word recycling is usually only used when referring to destroying one thing but making something new out of the remains.

Nope. It’s just a regular ATM. Stick your card in, get money.


A couple weeks ago Yvonne, Perk, Ryan and I went to Suzhou to meet with a potential Keyframe client. Suzhou is about an hour away by train from Shanghai. After the meeting, we went to lunch and had a Shanghai special – hairy crab. They say people come from all over the world to eat hairy crab, and the season just started.

It’s really a pain to get all of the meat out.

First, you rip all of the legs off, and the stomach shell off.

Next, the back shell and the sides. Then you suck out the yellow stuff and take out things like the lungs. After getting all of the meat from the body, you crack all of the legs open and suck out that meat too. It’s really a long, messy process.

As we were going to the bus station, we walked down the main shopping street and by the temple. Yvonne explained that someone had died and they were burning things to send to them in the afterlife. They believe that if you burn it, it will cross over (or something like that.) In the above photo they are burning money (not real money, which makes me wonder why they can use fake money in the afterlife?) Yvonne said they will burn furniture, clothes, food, etc.

Yvonne trying to throw coins for good luck.

These signs on the temple are totally Chinglish. I thought maybe they were verses with a deep meaning – but Yvonne translated and they aren’t. The risk of fire is more dangerous than an actual fire, prevent fire instead of having to put it out, etc.


This was at the Blarney Stone, an Irish bar. I think they mean “Slippery Nipple.

Beijing Chinglish

I would appreciate it if one of my Chinese friends could translate what the Mandarin actually says. Maybe it means “Don’t start a fire with your cigarette so that water is needed to put out the fire.”

This isn’t too bad. I like how it forbids graffiti.

Chinglish from the Yangtze River

Before looking at the latest Chinglish I’ve seen, check out a few other sites. I thought I should post a link to a place about the reverse of Chinglish – native English speakers misusing Chinese or Japanese characters.

This site is devoted to the misuse of Kanji characters in Western Culture – it is in English so most people here can read it. also has links to sites in Japanese about this “reverse-Engrish”.

If my rubbish isn’t disposable, is it still rubbish?

This was along a steep dropoff.

On the rails around the Three Gorges visitor center.

No crowdign Thunder Stormy Day?

Does this mean “Don’t push people when it’s raining because the stairs are slippery?”

Subway Chinglish

Line 2 seems to have several new public service announcements from the “Urban Mass Transportation Branch Shanghai Public Security Bureau.” This is the second good Chinglish sign from them. I’m expecting to find some more.

Chinglish in Hangzhou

I’ve wondered about this for a while. Do you have to enter a lottery to get on welfare? You get welfare if you win this lottery?

Actually, it is a regular lottery, like the scratch games at home. The “welfare” part means that the profits go to various programs, such as health care or school for people who can’t afford it.

Be very careful! Slip!


On my way home from Toastmasters, I spotted this sign in the subway. A perfect example of Chinglish. Or Engrish, whichever you prefer. Chinglish happens when the languages don’t quite translate properly. There are hundreds of examples around of this, and I’m going to try to catch the most humorous ones. It’s with my camera phone so it’s not so clear. It’s from Shanghai’s Public Transportation Authority.

It says, “If you are stolen, call the police at once.”

The 2nd failed trip to Australia…

I don’t think I wrote about the first failed trip. About 2 weeks ago, a Dak sales guy wanted us to come to Sydney to take photos so we could create a proposal for a potentially HUGE client. Abram and I jumped on a plane the next day. And then we sat on the plane for 3 hours. We did finally take off, only to be turned around 45 minutes into the flight. We couldn’t get on any other flights so that was the end of the trip there.

So, it was planned that I would go this Wednesday. My flight was supposed to leave at 6:00 PM. Then… after hearing it was delayed for a few hours (no takeoff time given) a notice was put it. It was a fill-in-the-blank notice, which was pretty funny. The main part was that flight CA 177 will be delayed due to mechanical issues. We sat at the airport for hours. Time went pretty quickly because I met a girl from NY, Kelly, who had been visiting friends in Shanghai and was next visiting friends in Australia. It was pretty cool – she told me about how she had went to school for Journalism and now wrote for blogs… (sound familiar?) and the things we had in common just went on and on.

Then, the airline said we had to go to a hotel. I would have rather stayed in my own bed, but you had to stay at the hotel so they could wake us up and bus us to the airport when the plane was fixed. We were taken to a Super Motel 168. No joke. It is a rip-off of Super 8 and Motel 6!!! We had to share rooms so Kelly and I were roommies for a night.

One of the funny things about China is all of the incorrect English translations. I’ve started taking photos. There is a book called Chinglish that has been published – maybe I’ll do a Chinglish II. The following are from the hotel flyers.

Breakfast, Bar Coffee & Tea and Snake. For when you are just a little hungry…. (we haven’t had snake yet. I’m sure we’ll come across it sometime though.)

Thanks for all of the warnings. The 5th from the bottom is by far the best.

Follow no strangers to the fun places. What fun places would those be? And if the person isn’t a stranger, can I go to the fun places? :-)

For more great laughs, go to Some of the best are in the adult section. Look for the toddler with a pacifier and a shirt with the f-word. Seriously.

We put on something to sleep in (I was lucky because I did just carry-on so I had everything) and turned around to discover we both had pink pants and a black tank top. Too weird.

We were woken up at 6:30 AM and hustled onto a bus, taken to the airport, and then we waited some more!! At this point we discovered yet another coincidence – she was in seat 23K and I was in 24K. Crazy.

At about 10 AM they started loading the plane, but a bunch of people were furious because they were only giving 500 RMB ($65) for our inconvenience. Then they were claiming that the plane wasn’t safe because they hadn’t test-flown it yet. At this point I gave up. I’d totally missed my meeting and would have had about a day there and it just wasn’t worth it, especially if the plane really was unsafe. I took the payout and left. Kelly later told me that the plane didn’t leave until 1 PM.

I don’t think I’ll be trying to go again anytime soon. At least not if I don’t have 2 or 3 days down there before any meetings!

Beijing Duck

A group of about 12 Dak people and family members went to a restaurant that specializes in Beijing Duck. It is so good! We ordered about 100 dishes as usual and were stuffed before the duck arrived. It was a nice place and even with drinks, it only cost about $10 per person. We actually got a certificate with the number of our duck on it.

Scorpion was on the menu so we all wanted to try it! It actually doesn’t taste like much – just crisp and crunchy.

Jin Bei

The Jin Bei is the company van. It’s a knockoff of a Toyota. It has a Toyota engine, so apparently that enables the company to use the logo on the van. :-) It’s a luxury Jin Bei though, so is pretty nice. The AC works great, which is a neccessity since we load it up well beyond capacity when we have visitors from the US and people in for sales meetings. We can fit 12 people plus Mr. Huang, the driver. (Probably more if it was skinny Asian people instead of fat white guys!)

This morning we saw a knockoff Jin Bei, called a Yun Bei!! It’s pretty sad that there’s a knockoff of a Chinese knockoff.

There are nail places everywhere here, and they are so talented. I had these flowers hand-painted on my nails. And the best part is that it’s very cheap.


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