Archives For Translation

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.