Archives For Signs

Since I have been fortunate enough to travel to China several times, I have enjoyed reading the signs that been translated into English while I am there. During a recent trip, I encountered a couple signs that I would like to share with you today. Would you like to see them?

More Interesting Signs in China

Perhaps this is a motivational sign; it was located on a store-front looking building. This area has several small businesses, and some mom and pop restaurants. Maybe it is some advertising slogan, but I don’t know. It did, however, catch my eye. One thing that made me notice it was that it wasn’t a very traditional way of conveying a message in China. Usually the signs in China wouldn’t be this challenging to an individual.

More Interesting Signs in China

This sign was amusing and confusing all at the same time. It was taken in a public restroom in Beijing, and I saw it after a friend came out of the restroom laughing and saying I had to go see the sign. I wonder what exactly it was that someone wanted to speak to someone else about, as it is referenced in this sign. If you know, please share the information with me!

The signs I see while traveling are interesting to me. Some of the translations inspire my imagination, while others leave me puzzled.

Have you encountered similar signs or situations as you traveled abroad?



During a recent trip to China, I used trains as one of my main means of transportation. Some were to travel a long distance, some were in the subway, and some were just to move you from one area of the airport to another. All of the trains were full of signs, and I very much appreciated the ones that were also in English. Would you like to see some of the most interesting signs?

What Signs Really Communicate

The sign above was taken in my cabin of a night train, or sleeper train as they are also called. I just found it extremely ironic and slightly funny that there was a No Smoking sign placed in an ash tray. I think it was sending two completely different messages! By the way, people in China smoke more than people in the States, and there is a designated smoking area in the rear of each train car.

What Signs Really Communicate

The second picture I am sharing with you is from the train at the Beijing Capital Airport in Terminal Three. This train has automated doors, so the door sign is giving some wonderful advice! Sometimes these trains are quite crowded, and there is always someone arriving late trying to catch the door in time to ride the train.

There is no moral to this story, just some interesting sights I saw in China.

So when are you going to go to China?



Curious Signs

November 1, 2016 — Leave a comment

During a recent trip to China, I came across something that really caught my eye. When I first started going to China, some of the English translations I would see on signs were pretty funny. I must give credit to the translators, because they have really improved in the last few years.

So there I was in the lobby of terminal 3 (the one that was constructed to handle the influx of travelers during the 2008 Olympic Games) of the Beijing Capital Airport, which is HUGE, and I saw the sign below.

Curious Signs in China

My interpretation of the sign was that something would be closing in our people, but did I mention that the airport was HUGE? So I couldn’t understand this sign, but if anyone can explain it to me, I would love to know! This sign was in the open lobby, so there was nothing around to squeeze anyone.

Maybe this is just one of the mysteries of travelling in another culture!

Shanghai Signage

September 30, 2014 — Leave a comment

There is something that international travelers have come to anticipate and enjoy, and that is how signs are used and translated.  Some signs are humorous because the words chosen are very flowery and show a great vocabulary, but most native speakers wouldn’t have chosen to use those words.  Also, some signs just aren’t translated very well, which can always bring a smile to a travelers face.  Another category of signs that may catch your eye are ones that deal with certain subject matter.


As you may recall, China has faced health challenges from SARS and Avian Flu. That is the reason for the sign pictured above.  When you consider China’s population density, you can understand why the leaders of China want to protect the people from an outbreak of illness.


We all know the universal sign for “NO,” but this is one sign I found particularly interesting.  I don’t know about you, but (in the states) I can’t think of many places where people light fireworks in public.  Unless you have been in China, this sign may seem unnecessary to you. Even so, it is very much needed in the Chinese culture.  Fireworks are very common for holidays, weddings, and the grand opening of a new business.  Americans are often amazed by how many fireworks are used in China—especially for the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival as it is called in China.