Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Tattoo to You

There's nothing like a bad rendition of another language to set off guffaws. And there's probably money to be made turning rough English into something more acceptable.

Brian Breuhaus, recently of Newsday and newly arrived in South Korea with his wife, Patty, and son, Jack, cited some amusing language from a recent medical exam required for his new job at JoongAng Daily, quoted here:

If you have some diseases, describe as follows

Have your relatives ever been dead or illed as follows: a. liver disease, b. heart disease ...

Do you have any suspicious diseases on your health?

What kind of food do often you like?

How about your drinking habit?

Would you smoke a cigarette?

How many times do you excercise with an awful sweat per week?

Mistranslations, though, work both ways. Over at Hanzismatters, Tian has been expounding for months about fake or stupid Asian characters being used as artwork, most often in tattoos.
This one, for example, translates, roughly, as "ease of gas retention." Which makes me wonder: is it just random or is an Asian artist somewhere snickering at the stupid Westerners who will put anything on their arm without finding out what it really means?

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