Before coming to Beijing this week to cover the year before the Olympic stories, I read several articles about the city trying to fix bad English translations.
Signs that supposedly read "Don't Bother" instead of "Do Not Disturb" and a place called Ethnic Minorities Park dubbed in English as "Racist Park."
From my three and a half days here, it was pretty much much ado about nothing. That was until today.
First, I went to Dongdan Sports Center--where Nike heavily sponsors basketball courts and soccer fields.
Before entering the basketball court, I noticed a phrase on a sign that needed to be cleaned up a bit. The phrase was on a list of rules of the court, which included no spitting (there's a big crackdown here on that) and, more specifically, no spitting gum, and no smoking.
Ok, no more suspense, here goes:
"No taking of sacchariferous beverages."
What? A sacchariferous beverage?
I took to the dictionary to find the origin of this since I assume the translator did the same. But the only thing I could find was "sacciferous." It meant "bearing a sac." Now I suppose that the "management" or whoever comes up with the rules wasn't meaning to ban a beverage that had a sac -- not unless they're talking about Capri Sun, of course.
After running out of reasoning, I consulted with a native Beijinger, I was told this meant no soda drinking. Interesting.
Later in the day, we passed a post office. Its non-sensical English motto? "The post on time-- as always."
Let me just say that having no concept of Mandarin and knowing that even Rosetta Stone can't help me, I understand why these mistakes are made. Still, it doesn't make it less funny when we see things like this.
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