50 Hilarious Attempts at Chinese to English Translation

December 31, 2018 Updated: January 3, 2019

For anyone who has ever learned a foreign language, they will likely attest that there is a level of difficulty to it, and a great number of mistakes are made in the process.

Most are subtle and go unnoticed. But every once in a while, a mistranslation can make for quite a comedic expression. Below are 50 funny mistranslations from Chinese to English.

1. This restaurant tag doesn’t sound quite right.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: The Chinese characters actually have two meanings: A person who gropes others in public, or pickled pig feet. This restaurant sign hopefully meant the latter.

2. This wouldn’t happen to be in the same restaurant, would it?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

3. Speaking of restaurants, this place sounds delightful.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: The Chinese characters actually read “restaurant” or “cafeteria.” It seems the translation server had some trouble.

4. A mistake like that couldn’t happen twice, right?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

5. They must all use the same translation server.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

6. It is, isn’t it?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: This is fish soup. Apparently the Japanese translations to English are even wilder.

7. This makes the dinner selection easy.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

8. Thank goodness, my last bowl of noodles was quite insincere.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

9. Today I learned that some horses own noodle shops.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

10. Uh, I think I can do that.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

11. Right behind you!

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

12. I, uh—let’s just keep going.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: It actually says “Watch your head.”

13. I’m more curious about the “pummeling” for Korean speakers.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

14. Uh, when in Rome?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: The Chinese characters on this sign read, “Stay on the path, don’t pick the flowers.”

15. I can sell my fines?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: This sign actually means that sales are prohibited and violators will be fined.

16. Honey, let’s take the kids to that place where we have to enter a fire!

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

17. Who needs water monsters when the water is the monster?!

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: The translation is correct, the English is just much more expressive.

18. Someone is riding the Heren?!

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: The Chinese characters actually say, “Stay off the grass.”

19. Yes, please, let me take care of someone’s items.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

20. The exhibition continues—

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

21. —but the audience has stopped!

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

22. What, or who, is getting exported?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: Actually, it says “Exit.” Compare this to the picture at the headline!

23. Wait, do we go to the Engulish Name on the left, or on the left?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

24. Maybe we can get off at the next station instead.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: The only translation provided here for this station name is the pinyin for pronunciation.

25. This station really has our safety in mind.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

26. My, what graphic signs this subway has.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

27. You, see? The next station was clearly the one.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: Maybe none of the station names are translated.

28. Oh my, are all disabled people expected to walk for one minute too?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

29. Now we just have to go upstairs.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: The Chinese says “downstairs.”

30. Now we just have to find the Palade, yes.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

31. No, I don’t want to ask for directions. See? We’re right at the, uh—

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

32. I know where we are, there are a lot of clearly labeled landmarks here.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: Well, it’s another sign where they decided only to provide pinyin for pronunciation. Who needs a translation anyway!

33. And look at all the odd propaganda along the way.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

34. Oh, am I a person without a letter?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

35. I probably would have added something a little different.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

36. Look, it’s not the “China Dream,” they wrote it right there!

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: The English translation says “Ching dream.”

37. He continued to demons and monsters in Heaven? Are you sure?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: Adding the word “battle” corrects the meaning: “and continued to battle demons and monsters.”

38. Oh, that’s what those big Australian birds are called.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

39. What exactly are you trying to say here?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: This is about driving in a civilized manner.

40. I’m sure it does.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: This it the public cleaning department.

41. Hey, lose the store, will ya?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

42. So that’s the secret to gyms!

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

43. No! No such museum should exist.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: This is just a baby store advertisement.

44. What would you write for this tissue paper?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

45. Oh, that sounds nice. But unfortunately, it’s meant to read “Tumor.”

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

46. High school sweet hearts, how cute!

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: The Chinese characters are actually about doctors practicing traditional Chinese medicine.

47. To keep a body healthy, right?

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

Explanation: This sign means “Eat enough noodles,” not wine or skin.

48. Well, be careful with your hobbies.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

49. I’m sure he was.

(Screenshot via weibo.com)

50. Next summer’s superhero block buster has been announced!

(Screenshot via weibo.com)
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