Funny English Translations

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

Poetic, yes?

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!

"Absolutely keep from rheumatism." (May 17, 2014)The lake is dangerous so keep it open! (May 18, 2014)Note on a player piano. (May 20, 2014)Americans want to tan, but Asians want to become lighter, hence the whitening cream. Also note the motto on the bottle. (May 21, 2014)"Skin keeps the time: to maintain the beauty is the dream which is also maysteen's forever pursuing." (May 21, 2014)New Tea Era Longjing green tea is "fashionable!" (May 23, 2014)"No lingering" (or doggies). (May 22, 2014)

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