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Commit No Nuisance

Com­mit No Nuisance

Forbid To Beam On

For­bid To Beam On

I spot­ted the first sign on the Great Wall. The sign in Chi­nese says: 保护文物 — 请勿便溺。 This can be trans­lated as “Pro­tect the her­itage — don’t soil”. Was the orig­i­nal mean­ing of the sign too harsh for for­eign­ers? We are here just encour­aged to “com­mit no nui­sance”!

I found the other one on the sub­way door. In Chi­nese, it says: 禁止倚靠。 This means “don’t rest/ lean on (the door)”. Which is under­stand much bet­ter than “beam on”!

Luxuriant Grassland, Please Don't Trample

Lux­u­ri­ant Grass­land, Please Don’t Trample

Please, Don't Bomb Into The Ash Here

Please, Don’t Bomb Into The Ash Here!

I found that one when vis­it­ing the Ming Tombs, nearby the Great Wall. In Chi­nese, this is:芳草萋萋,踏之何忍。 A bet­ter trans­la­tion would be “don’t step on the lux­u­ri­ant grass”. Now, let’s look at the pic­ture again: does it look like a patch of lux­u­ri­ant grass to you? I thought so.

This one was my last Ching­lish sign in Bei­jing: it was at the air­port, in the smok­ing room. To be hon­est, when I first read it in Eng­lish, I didn’t have a clue of what it meant. Now, the Chi­nese is: 请不要把烟灰弹入此外。 Lit­er­ally, “don’t throw your ashes in there” (“there” was the air conditioning’s grille). Why “bomb”? I think this is just com­mon air­port paranoia…

Please Don't Climb The Rockeries

Please Don’t Climb The Rockeries

Protecting The Wild Animals Is Protecting Mankind Ourselves

Pro­tect­ing The Wild Ani­mals Is Pro­tect­ing Mankind Ourselves

I found that sign at the Sum­mer Palace. I’m being picky here, because “rock­ery” is a real word(just British). Still, it made me laugh.

This one was found on the Great Wall as well, nearby the Bear Park. In Chi­nese, it says: 保护野生动物,就是保护人类自已。 Basi­cally, “Wildlife pro­tec­tion is also the pro­tec­tion of mankind”.

Take Care Of Head

Take Care Of Head

Be Care Of The Distance

Be Care Of The Distance

This one was taken nearby the Silk Mar­ket. In Chi­nese, this is: 小心碰头. This can be lit­er­ally trans­lated as “don’t bump your head”, or bet­ter, “watch your head”.

The last one is per­haps the most mys­te­ri­ous of all. I found it in the mid­dle of a street and it says: 注意距离。The trans­la­tion is almost accu­rate: it would say it’s more like “watch the dis­tance”. But what did they mean? Could that be “main­tain an appro­pri­ate dis­tance” and thus refer to peo­ple rather than, as I had assume, to traf­fic? Was this sign encour­ag­ing the “个人区域” (“per­sonal space”)? This is a mys­tery to me!

In all fair­ness, I must admit there are less “Ching­lish” signs than let’s say ten years ago! Yet, they still make me laugh…


  1. @sir jorge of cul­ver — I haven’t seen to many Spang­lish in Mex­ico… but my Eng­lish wasn’t that good then.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting — Thanks for the link, I had a few good laughs!

    @Bluefish — I just can’t read non-simplified but I see what you mean… In Hong Kong, it was hard for me to deci­pher anything!

    @shionge — I’d love to see some exam­ples! I some­times speak and write Frang­lish as well ;-)

    @Annie — I’d love to see that! Most Indi­ans I have met abroad spoke great English.

    @beaverboosh — Bet they should have! :lol:

    @Seraphine — But­ter is cute, that should be your new user­name! ;-) In Span­ish, Feng would say “yo quiero nuevo” instead of “huevos” (“I want new” instead of “I want eggs”).

    @Liz — Some­times, I have no clue. Some are just dictionary-translated, like we get the mean­ing but we wouldn’t say that. Or they are direct trans­la­tion of Chi­nese idiomatic expres­sions, like the “mankind our­selves”, it’s the way you would say it in Chinese.

    @Aiglee — It was fun ;-)

    @expatraveler — To be fair, most signs are actu­ally pretty well trans­lated. And at least, they are trans­lated… it’s eas­ier for for­eign­ers, even if there is some Chinglish!

    @Keshi — Long time no see, I gotta visit!

    @kevin — Ooops… see, I speak Franese (French/ Chi­nese) some­times too! :lol:

    @David Yang — No Ching­lish here, your com­ment was per­fect… and thanks for vis­it­ing! I went to Bei­jing a few times and to be hon­est, I found the city is mak­ing great progress. 说英语的中国人越来越多, 他们的英语也越来越好! 我去北京的上次,上出租汽车,点菜,买东西等等的时候,大部分的人连一个句子也不会说。对不起,我的汉语也不那么好。。。

    @Priyank — Oh for­tune cook­ies.. these are hilarious!

    @nhuong — It is much bet­ter than it used to be. I had to look hard for them ;-)

    @Ulquiorra — Ching­lish is always fun!

    @RennyBA — Makes me laugh in every language ;-)

    @DianeCA — Good girl, you’re ready to go travel in China! :lol:

    @kristin — Yeah… and we get lost too!

    @Shantanu — I need to check out “Ing­lish” now then.

    @kyh — Ah, thanks for the expla­na­tion! I for­got about this “tan/ dan”! I was won­der­ing as well…

    @saraht43 — Thank you!

    @daria369 — Thank you for the praise and also for shar­ing your expe­ri­ence! My French is weird now too, after liv­ing in Canada for so many years… when I speak to my par­ents I some­times trans­late Eng­lish expres­sion in French and it doesn’t mean anything.

    @SilverNeurotic — It’s a fun activ­ity trust me ;-)

    @cchiovitti — Nah, only works for Chi­nese people ;-)

  2. Haha! We have our share of equally funny (and no-so-funny)ones in India too.

  3. Funny how Ching­lish is asso­ci­ated with weird English. :P

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