You may know that I occasionally tweet. Amongst the things that I retweet are those wonderful manglings of the language we patronizingly refer to as Engrish. These are predominately Asian, such a Caution, Expremay Dengerlus from Tokyo in Japan, but not always, as there some really good ones known as ‘Engrish from other countries’ such as Frams Torners. yes they too are Dobots in Risguise, but here I suspect copyright infringement played a significant role being that it was India. Either that or the reverend spooner was chairman of the board .
There is a great website but it does beg the question, as made by David Sedaris so very well, as to why, oh why, it’s allowed to happen.
Now I do not speak Japanese. But If I was to advertise something of mine in Japan, I could just look it up on Google translate and go for it. Or, I could ask jeeves, or, more likely, try and find someone Japanese to make the translation for me.
What I wouldn’t do is look it up, and then print it out on a sign phonetically as in Caution, expremay dengerlus!
Now I understand that it is very bad form to stereotype a group of people and poke linguistic fun at them. That isn’t what this is about.
It’s about taking the trouble to find someone who speaks the language, especially where it’s going to involve a safety instruction, or, is going to be printed on a million packages. If you own a company that sells something, surely it might be worth just running that little phrase past your local English teacher, or that long lost cousin in Birmingham? but then we wouldn’t end up with this little beauty, which I would have given my eye-teeth to have written-not. LOL
So that’s the message. I’m here for you if you want anything translated, I can actually speak a hundred languages. Unfortunately, the only human one I know is English.
DC Farmer works as a scribe for the Dept of Fimmigration.