Mistranslation - Garden with Curled Poo

This Way to an Interesting Garden Sight

There are languages with an inherent bias of not needing quality control or of asking for a second opinion. In most instances, there is no second opinion to ask. In other instances, there is the feeling that the interpretation is good enough and there is the chance that it might not be noticed.

The above example seems to be of the latter case. It looks like a Chinese sign at a public garden, with English translations. There might not be any person to advice on the right translation. Alternatively, those in charge might deem it irrelevant if the translation were correct or not. The important thing is that this resulted, and it stayed. Making things worse, visitors do not usually go out of their way to correct these mistakes. For them the sign can be insignificant or even irrelevant.

At a certain level, there is no such thing as irrelevant or insignificant. The love of language and communication is in every person. People naturally want to show off that they are at par with foreigners, or that they have something, which they are proud to show to visitors. In this case, no matter what that pavilion might be, it is not as interesting as what the sign promised.

This was an unfortunate mistake, with nobody to double check the correctness of the sign, and the readers not willing to correct it. What makes it all the more sad is that there are places in the world where people who interact with westerners, or foreigners in general have no impetus to learn another language. This is slowly changing across the world, but it sometimes feels like the change is not happening fast enough because high government officials do not deem it necessary, and ordinary citizens do not think that learning another language will better their economic position in life.

Image credit – via Pinterest

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