More Hilarious Signs of #Translation: #Chinese and #English

Am I a fruitcake? I LOVE interesting signs :-).

Am I a fruitcake? I LOVE interesting signs :-)

Having worked as a professional interpreter and translator for more than a decade, it is not surprising that I have acquired a new hobby: collecting interesting translation signs. Thanks to many unknown, ingenious Chinese translators, or perhaps it’s the fault of machine translation, there has been a constant supply of translation errors, to entertain and educate those who are competent English speakers, native or otherwise. It is entertaining because you had no choice but to laugh. It is educating because you know that if you ever commit similar mistakes, you could be the laughing stock, and then the joke is on you!

The machine not working?

The machine not working?

As we know, humour is probably one of the most difficult things to translate from one culture to another, due to the complexities of languages as well as cultural nuances. It could be funny and witty in one language but could totally get lost in translation.

Be careful! Caution is hard to translate :-)

Be careful! Caution is hard to translate :-)

Products for Adults

Products for Adults

Some of the translation signs I am sharing here are funny, hilarious even, or weird, not because the ‘translator’ intended to deliver humour – they simply come out wrong, grammatically or they make little or no sense.

It is possible that English speaking people will have a good laugh when spotting some of these signs. Bilingual Chinese and English speakers probably find them most interesting, since we are the ones who can tell exactly why and how translation went wrong.

To eat is a blessing, and to save is a virtue

To eat is a blessing, and to save is a virtue

It's rather poetic, isn't it? Don't step on grass in China!

It’s rather poetic, isn’t it? Don’t step on grass in China!

You see, it’s not always possible to translate word to word. A translator needs a great deal of knowledge of two different languages and a deeper understanding of two cultures to make a sensible and successful translation. It is not enough to simply understand what each word means in another language – a translator has to construct a meaningful message, which not only conveys what the original words/phrases/sentences try to say, but also makes perfect sense in another language. Any misunderstanding should be avoided.

I hope you are enjoying these little gems from China. You can see more at:Have a Hilarious #Holiday in #Beijing Which You’ll Never Forget;  and How Good Are Your English Translations? Hilarious English Signs Around the World.

Can you guess?

Can you guess?

Are you going to stay in that hostel?

Are you going to stay in that hostel?

Posted in Arts & Culture, China & East Asia, Humour, Social Media & Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A #Foodie’s Guide to the Most Popular #British #Food

Crab eater at San Francisco Crab Restaurant :-)

Crab eater at San Francisco Crab Restaurant

Do you enjoy food?

Do you think that food is just fuel (as many British people do), or it is simply the most delightful, heavenly gift for us mortals to savour its exquisite and varied flavours, to tickle our tastebuds, to share with our loved ones and fun company, and to generate happy memories to treasure?

It was my Canadian author friend eden baylee who first called me a foodie – she gave me the very first endorsement of being a FOODIE in my LinkedIn profile. Thanks, eden!

The biggest Yorkshire pudding with roast beef

The biggest Yorkshire pudding with roast beef

Well, now that I am ‘officially’ and internationally recognised as a foodie, perhaps I have earned myself the right to talk and write about food ;). So when I was asked to train a group of Chinese visitors, to inform them about British culture, naturally I thought of British food.

From my many years living in the UK, I pride myself as an adventurous gourmet sampler and a connoisseur of delicious foods on offer, both within the UK and when travelling overseas. Having a beautiful meal in a sublime environment is hard to beat in my book.

So what are the most popular British foods?

My personal top three choices from British cuisine look like this: Full English Breakfast – My absolute favourite and I have had plenty, in all corners of the British Isles :-); Roast Shank of Lamb and Yorkshire Pudding (roast beef is just as welcome!); and Fish and Chips – although this particular British national dish is not exactly my top choice, I know that it features highly in many British homes, hence I’ve put it on my slide – after all, I have had the pleasure of sharing the best fish and chips meal with John and friends during our trip to the Scottish Highlands, in a most beautiful location: Plockton.

The Best, freshest fish & chips in idyllic Plockton

The Best, freshest fish & chips in idyllic Plockton

A must mention of British food are the various teas: morning coffee/tea; Elevenses; Afternoon Tea, High Tea and Cream Tea, especially the Cornwall and Devon kind. Don’t you just love that enchanting smell of your first coffee, freshly brewed in the morning, which will energise you for the rest of the day, or at least until eleven am when you have your second, or perhaps the third mug of coffee?Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 11.20.28

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 11.20.11Despite the fact that caffeine is no friend to one’s blood pressure, when I am out and about, I simply cannot resist the aromatic smell of a good coffee. Popping into a nearby Costa can do absolute wonders for one’s tired feet and spirit, especially when ordering my favourite cappuccino with a carrot cake, or any cake.

Having completed my own list of the most popular international foods in the UK, as you can see from my pictures, I did a little survey among my friends, as well as checking on-line survey results.

That big smile said it all :-)

That big smile said it all :-)

My well-informed friends gave me a list of their perceived top 3 British dishes: Fish and Chips, Curry and Italian (Annie); Chicken Tikka Masala, Fish and Chips and Pizza (Bashir); Cooked Breakfast; Fish and Chips and Curry Chicken (Yan); Italian, Japanese and Chinese (Betty). Thank you, friends!

My on-line search led to very interesting findings, and here is one of the survey results from a recent poll of 60,000 Brits.

 

UK Top Ten Foods and Drinks
1. Bacon sandwichesScreen Shot 2014-09-01 at 11.02.01
2. Roast dinners
3. A Cup of Tea
4. Fish and Chips
5. Yorkshire Pudding
6. Full English Breakfast
7. Cornish pasties
8. Strawberries and cream
9. Teatime Treat, Crumpets
10. Beer

Further research brought more pleasant surprises. Apparently Chinese Stir Fry has taken over chicken tikka masala as Britain’s most favourite dish! The top ten are all Asian, and the majority Chinese – that makes me very proud indeed!

Birmingham, according to a recent New York Times survey, is one of the best cities for foodies. We have everything: Argentinian, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Italian, Korean, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, you name it.

What is your favourite food? If you care to share with us, we’d love to hear from you.

My favourite Sichuan Food

My favourite Sichuan Food

Delicious Foods I have sampled or cooked :)

Delicious Foods I have sampled or cooked :)

 

Posted in Arts & Culture, Food & Cuisine, Social Media & Photography, UK, USA & Europe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

One of Our Favourite #Pastimes: Walking in Sutton Park

Sutton Park in Birmingham

Sutton Park in Birmingham

On Sunday, I joined Birmingham Internationals for a walk in Sutton park, picnic and pub. The Event notification came through my mailbox – Until then, I did not know of this group, nor looking for a MeetUp to join, but two things attracted my attention: Walk, and Sutton Park.

I signed up straight away, despite that I already did a walk with John on the day, which was Saturday and danced the night away at a family party in Derbyshire in the evening.

Here is the thing. I LOVE Sutton Park - it is the reason why we have made Sutton Coldfield our home in the last twelve years, the longest we have stayed in one place.

Birmingham International Walk & Picnic

Birmingham International Walk & Picnic

During the years I’ve spent in my adopted country, I have lived in various cities, either as a student or working. Except London, I have sampled a few English and Scottish cities, including Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Glasgow. I liked most of them, for different reasons, but it is Birmingham where I feel most at home.

In the summer of 2002, John got a job in one of the universities in Brum, as Birmingham is sometimes referred to. He spent a couple of weeks, camping and staying in B&Bs in the West Midlands, searching for a possible area for us to relocate to (from Manchester). He saw Sutton Park, and that was it.

We moved house a couple of times since, but the main criteria has been the same: somewhere close to the park.

Swan & Cagnets in one of the Lakes

Swan & Cagnets on one of the Lakes

500 years ago, Sutton Park was one of the favourite hunting grounds for Henry VIII when he made his frequent visits to Warwickshire. He was known for his love of boar hunting and this area was full of wild boar.

Sutton Coldfield was founded by Bishop Vesey and granted Royal Town status. As part of the deal the area which is now Sutton Park was given in perpetuity to the town for the leisure and wellbeing of its population. Over the years, the park has lost some of its trees, gained seven lakes, built and lost its swimming pool; and continues to evolve. The lakes are all artificial and were created with dams to enable fish farming, or the powering of water mills. These lakes are now used for sailing, fishing, and home to flocks of wild birds.

Sutton Town and House of Bishop Vesey

Sutton Town and House of Bishop Vesey

It’s never the same. Whenever we visit, there is something different to see, hear or smell. Besides the roaming herd of cattle and the wild ponies there is an abundance of birds and wildfowl. Squirrels and rabbits scatter as you walk through the woods and meadows.

In winter, the park is quieter, although it’s a favourite to walk off Christmas dinner on Boxing day and for the dog owners to exercise their hounds. Joggers and cyclists make the most of the traffic free environment and fresh air.

Cows roaming in the park

Cows roaming in the park

In Spring, when snow and frost have melted, everything wakes up from its winter sleep. The ducks started to chase each other, buds break out on the trees and strange red mushrooms appear in the undergrowth. Oaks, birch, beech and pines are scattered across the park, many with their own identifying tag.

In Summer, the park is sometimes packed, but it’s so big that it seems to absorb the numbers without difficulty. Sometimes the park is full of runners raising money for charity and there are plenty of family fun events designed to get people away from their computers into the open air. Meanwhile, water lilies quietly burst into flower.

Lili flowers, sailing and John waiting for his brunch :-)

Lili flowers, sailing and John waiting for his brunch :-)

In Autumn, we like to kick our way through the rustling fallen leaves en route to a steaming hot English breakfast at the Blackroot Bistro next to the second biggest pool; there is that wonderful sweet sadness of the approaching winter.

There goes another year, and another cycle, where we trace our footsteps through the ever changeable seasons and appreciate the awesome beauty of Nature!

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Listening for the sound of snow in winter :-)

Listening for the sound of snow in winter :-)

Posted in Health & Sports, Social Media & Photography, True Life Story, UK, USA & Europe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

#Depression Is No Joke – It’s Killing People Everywhere!

R.I.P. Robin Williams

R.I.P. Robin Williams

Last week, the tragic news of Robin Williams’ passing shocked the world. Social media went into a frenzy of articles, pictures, videos and comments as tributes poured in from the four corners of the globe. While the vast majority of his fans worldwide mourned his loss, some inevitably asked: Why does someone of Williams’ statue, who seemed to have everything decide to take his own life and depart from this world?

I was deeply saddened, although I did not analyse why, just terribly sad and troubled that depression has taken another wonderful soul from us. It brought back painful memories of my own depression more than ten years ago, which drove me to despair, plunging me into a terribly low, emotionally taxing hell. Yes, DEPRESSION, was cited as one of the factors that killed him, and others before him.

If you ever suffered depression yourself or you know someone who has, you know that it is no joke and it can affect people from every nationality, every colour and race, whatever your age, gender or disposition. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, powerful or destitute, depression can overtake you and there is nothing you can do about it.

1623771_736809902997332_1536594980_nI am no comedian like Robin Williams, and I don’t make millions of people laugh and cry with my acting talents. Yet people who have met me for real and via social media can testify that I generally have a sunny outlook and sparkle with optimism towards life. I am certainly not someone who seems likely to fall into the dark pits of emotional hell and find myself unable to climb back up.

Those of you who followed Pearl Zhang’s Journey to the West often identify the protagonist as my alter ego, and in many ways she is. In Trials of Life, she fights bulling and sexual and racial harassment, and for a period of time, depression besieged her and she had to resort to anti-depressants. I am sharing a short excerpt below, showing just a little how commonplace depression can be, and how difficult it is for those who suffer from it and for their loved ones.

SSBFTOLEXCERPT

Trials of Life: From a Counsellor’s Point of View

Shortly before the Christmas break, Pearl came to my office, angry and upset.

“I could not believe what I was told by Personnel. It was like a knife going through my chest. All my faith in the university was dashed.” More tears were threatening to fall, imminently.

“How do you feel now?” I asked.

“How do I feel now?” She repeated, her voice broke. “I feel betrayed and I shudder at the thought that I have put my trust in the university’s policy.”

Policy did not mean implementation; after all, it was just a piece of paper, and Appleton and Sir Mark were powerful flesh and blood. I waited for her to continue.

Tears were now coursing down her cheeks.

“I am feeling extremely vulnerable and distressed. This has put a huge strain on my family life. You know, my daughter has recently joined me from China, after many years’ separation.”

“Congratulations!” I said, not with the usual bounce and cheer attached to such a response. I knew that Dick had used her child to blackmail her, and how long she had waited for the reunion.

“Thank you,” she attempted a smile but did not quite succeed. “I should be there to help her to learn English and get accustomed to the British culture. Instead, I go home, crying my heart out because of what I’m going through at work. I don’t know how I can explain the situation to her; neither do I expect her to understand. She’s only 14.”

What an introduction to a new arrival in a strange land and even stranger home atmosphere! I pushed the tissue box closer to her side; her tearful recounting of the tale was momentarily stopped, as she blew her nose and murmured an apology.

“Some days I don’t feel like getting up and going to work. Can you imagine? This is the job I fought so hard to get and absolutely loved it when I first started. Now I just dread it. I have no energy or motivation for anything. I have no appetite. It takes me forever to fall asleep and when I eventfully do, I have nightmares every night. Then I wake up more tired than before.”

SSBFTRIALSOFLIFEBOOKSTACKAgain her sobbing got the better of her, and she stopped to catch her breath. Her eyes were blood-shot and swollen, and her face was pale and showing clear signs of sleep deprivation. No trace of make-up. I also noted that she had lost weight.

“What did your GP have to say? Are you given any medication to help you?” I asked gently.

She nodded. “I was given anti-depressants. My doctor also issued a sick leave note and ordered complete rest for a month.”

“In that case, I’ll see you in a few weeks’ time. I am sure you’ll feel better then.”

* * * * * *
So, please remember that depression is a serious illness which can kill someone just as surely as a fatal cancer. Indeed you could argue that it is a cancer of the soul. If someone you know is diagnosed with depression please take it seriously and work out how to help them. It isn’t just “feeling down” or “sad” and cannot be cured in five minutes. Don’t tell them ‘just to snap out of it,” because it is not that simple. Seek professional help before it’s too late.

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