Lost in translation

I could hardly contain my glee when I came upon this blog. Hanzi Smatter: Dedicated to the misuse of Chinese characters in Western Culture.

This is something that my friends and I talk about all the time.
Especially on our list of gripes: white people who get Asian characters
tattooed on themselves. Especially if they turn out to be wrong, a lá Ms. Spears, whose tattooed Chinese symbol for "mysterious" actually reads "strange." (Prophetic, huh?)

You’ll have to scroll down on the blog to see the fantastic and
hilarious true translations of the Chinese or Japanese characters these
poor blokes have tatooed on themselves.

This is something I have a little experience in, as I also tattooed
a Korean word on my back, with a slight misinterpretation (luckily for
me, it worked almost to my advantage – I like the "true" interpretation
better than what I’d originally wanted). Yes, this photo below is mine.

So – just a fair warning to all you tattoo-philes who want to get some FAsian
(that’s Fake Asian- thanks Mudeng) tattooed – it’s pretty much
permanent unless you want to go through the expensive and painful laser removal program.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

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