March 15, 2009

Mind your own Business Name

From time to time, one encounters a shop with a humorous name here in Beijing.  We're certain that the Chinese version must be tremendously elegant, or evocative of some deep poetic emotion.  But to the illiterate English speaker, it just comes across as bizarre.
This is also true of the sales slogan or product blurb that often follows the brand name.  For example, I bought a notebook with this written on the cover:

Last week we picked up a plastic tub to put our spices into (the smell of ground cumin was beginning to permeate the kitchen).  The box is green, with a plain white lid, but the manufacturer seems to think it's really quite something:
We passed a bank yesterday with an English sign that said "Self-Serving Bank".
Not far down the road, you can deposit your money at a financial institution called "Wooribank". Should I been "woori-ing"?

Nearby is an optical store near us called "Beauty and Shine Eyesight".  The list goes on.  And on.  None of them are so weird that you think, "That can't be what they meant".  In fact, most suffer from overly literal translations.  I'm sure we'll have more in the future.

1 comment:

Dustin said...

You should be submitting them to as you come across them...