Inside a silk factory in Suzhou, I wasn’t able to make out more than 5% of what our guide was saying in his perfect Mandarin. Hence, my attention drifted to the English signs posted around the building.
One of them in particular caught my attention. “Absolutely keep from rheumatism,” the placard exhorted. Then it hit me: I wasn’t understanding much of the English either.
Below are some of the funnier, confusing or confused translations I encountered. My favorite was this philosophical musing on the boxes of skin-care products in a shop selling more than 3,000 bamboo-derived items:
To maintain the beauty
is your dream
which is also maysteen’s forever pursuing
Another translation I really liked was on a sign by the waterfront of Suzhou. “Lake dangerous, do not close.” I’m glad the Chinese will be keeping this dangerous body of water perpetually open for all!
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