To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Monday, April 11, 2011


In the youth hostel we were staying in Beijing  (the year before the Olympics) I saw this sign - on the bathroom door. Then I called hubby to make sure it wasn't me having a lapse of understanding. Then we called our son (who lives in China). It probably makes perfect sense in Chinese, but we call  it  "English but not English." The longer we were reading it, the more hilarious it became.  Do you know what to do when a fire really breaks out?

We were surprised, but  their friendly staff spoke almost flawless English and I had some memorable conversations with one of them!



Ginger said...

Haha. I have a friend who collects pictures of signs like these from his travels in northern Asia. That's what they call "Engrish." There are many more examples at

jeannette said...

Oh, thanks! I'll have a look:)

Rudee said...

Definitely lost in translation.

VioletSky said...

I think I might have passed out from a combination of smoke inhalation,confusion and laughter by the time I finished reading that sign (if there were really a fire)

jeannette said...

Yes, you could say that...!

especially the "creeping" got me:):)

Midwest to Midlands said...

Well all I can say is that I can uderstand the English but not English better than the Chinese! At least they meant well and tried to translate and there was no fire.

Stephanie V said...

I think most of our idioms are equally ridiculous to those who encounter translations the other way. We just never know what is gong to be translated literally.

jeannette said...

Jane (M),
Definitely meant well:)
You would be surprised though what you can communicate without words (hands, feet, drawings), like we did in Eastern Europe.

Probably! Translating well is a tremendous gift and an art:)

arabesque said...

oh! they have plenty of them. ^0^
i wish they'd do something about it, i think they just literally translate these phrases without understanding what it really means.
and yes, do check out ^-^