If you don't know what something is called, then use 'Wikipedia'.

Then we'll grab a bite at 404 Not Found

Of all the poorly translated signs that can baffle English-speaking visitors to China, this one takes the cake for the most epic of all possible fails. And, as Dear Jane Sample notes, it’s also a good reason to invest in something more than a Web-based translator.

—Posted by David Griner


Posted by: Jeff | Jul 17, 2008 11:25:04 AM
I'm reminded of the chinese restaurant in Plano TX that was subtitled - Typical Chinese Food. Most everyone thought it was supposed to be self-depracating. It took a while to realize that they had translated "Authentic" as "Typical". It made a lot more sense then.

December 06, 2007

Stir-fried Wikipedia, with pimientos or salamander

Pekka Karjalainen sent in a link to this apparent Chinese menu image:

A quick Google search suggests that it is a genuine picture of a genuine menu from a genuine restaurant in Beijing, originally presented back in October on Evolving Web ("Jimmy Wales Grows Them Good and Organic", 10/10/2007).

The author suggests this plausible etiology:

"Hey I'm making the new menu, what's the english name for those flat crispy mushrooms?"

"Um, there isn't one."

"Well what should I put down here?"

"I don't know, look it up in wikipedia."



The comments on that same post will take you to a picture of "barbecued congo eel with wikipedia and Fermented bean curd":

I've heard that wikipedia is only safe to eat in months that contain a 'd' (or is it months that don't contain a 'd'?).

In other Chinese-English translation news, Victor Mair has hinted to me that he'll soon supply a definitive scholarly exegesis of the GAN () phenomenon: watch this space. But I worry that the ingenuity of Chinese menu translators may overwhelm the collective capacity of the international scholarly community.

[Note that you can also get "Wekipedia bread" from Beijing Wekipedia Foods Co., Ltd.]

[Update 12/7/2007 -- Barbara Zimmer's friend Emily suggests: " That would go perfectly with eBay soup. Or maybe moo google gai pan".]

Posted by Mark Liberman at December 6, 2007 01:19 PM

Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2008 02:54:02 -0400
From: "John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq."

Very simple. Someone said, "If you don't know what something is called, then use 'Wikipedia'."