Getting straight to the point – Signs in China lost in translation


*Warning – don’t read this post if you are easily offended!

Ages ago I accompanied a female friend to one of the big Chinese hospitals where she was to see a consultant.  In many ways it seemed very much the same as any western hospital, long corridors with shiny blue lino floors, rows of plastic chairs to sit on whilst waiting etc. However I did notice one BIG difference.  All the signs pointing people to different departments were in both Chinese and English – how helpful I thought.  Then I looked at a couple of signs more closely and this particular one startled me. Talk about getting straight to the point!

I’m afraid I didn’t have the courage to go and tell someone at the hospital that they should change the English translation of their signs.

About herschelian

Started my 60s by moving to China with my DH. Surprised to find I am still here in Beijing eight years later - still finding it an adventure!
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4 Responses to Getting straight to the point – Signs in China lost in translation

  1. Oh my! I just got back to Australia from Shanghai and saw a few ‘signs’ but nothing quite so confronting…mostly funny. Wish I would have taken some photos to share as well. Keep the funny lost in translation signs coming too…

  2. Sheila Taylor says:

    That one took my breath away. Talk about cultural differences!!

  3. Kit says:

    Hilarious! I wonder who their translator was and where they learned their English?!

  4. herschelian says:

    Hi Twoplaces, Sheila, Kit – I’ve done some asking around and I think the department the ‘rude’ sign is indicating is what we would call the ‘colposcopy’ department. Having said that, I sort of like the directness of their signage. In the west we call the cuff /monitor that gets strapped round one’s arm to measure blood pressure a ‘sphygmomanometer’ – the Chinese cut the obfuscation and call it ‘blood pressure measurer’….it seems in medicine we hide behind Greek and Latin rather than be outspoken about what is being done.

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