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Chinese Character Tattoos: Lost in Translation (Audio)
NPR ^ | January 11, 2006

Posted on 01/18/2006 12:22:09 PM PST by Dr. Marten

All Things Considered, January 11, 2006 · Robert Siegel talks with Tian Tang, author of a Web site dedicated to the misuse of Chinese characters in Western culture. Tang posts photos of Chinese character tattoos that either contain errors or carry no meaning.

Tang says as a Chinese American, he felt it was his "duty and honor to educate the public about the misusage of Chinese characters."

A reader e-mailed Tang this photo of a friend's tattoo. It's supposed to read "bad boy" in Chinese, except the order of last two characters has been reversed. Courtesy Tian Tang

 
Listen to the audio here.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: chinese; tattoo
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To: pganini
Kaoshiung

Wrong again gongfei.

Do you actually know anything?

101 posted on 01/20/2006 9:36:32 AM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: tallhappy

I put a H where it shouldnn't be, it's Kaosiung, the official English translation.

Doesnt' matter, I don't prounce it as Kaosiung, i pronounce it in Chinese. Unlike you.


102 posted on 01/20/2006 9:39:57 AM PST by pganini
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To: Senator Bedfellow
Who knew Chinese tattoos were this controversial? ;)

See my comment two posts up.

This is not controversial nor should it be.

There is one person who is a well known apologist for the Chinese communist regime who brought it to that level. A fellow traveler showed up to support him.

And, the things these two used were nonsensical as attacks. For example, one stated the exact same thing I did and then used that to attack me. It made no sense.

In the context of Chinese communist political struggle, though, that is not unusual.

103 posted on 01/20/2006 9:39:57 AM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: pganini
Kaosiung

Again, no. This is a different romanization being suggested by some in Taiwan but it not the official one.

It is Kaohsiung.

I agreee it doesn't matter much in a broad sense. But factually, the transiliteration is Kaohsiung. Pinyin spells it Gaoxiung.

104 posted on 01/20/2006 9:43:25 AM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: tallhappy

CCP netagonist? LOL.

I was having an argument with Gordon. Then, he can't handle it himself, so he rang you in, like a wolf pack. Can't debate on your own, and have to come up with strength in numbers.

The fact is, you have no idea what you're talking about, trying to correct native speakers with some form of Romantization. When cmdjing caught you with your "De-guo" mistake, thinking it's to "Take" rather than the word for morality, you tried to weasle your way out of it.

Doesn't matter whether it's De-guo, Duh-guo, Doh-guo, it will not match the Chinese pronounciation with western characters, and you just don't get that. You also don't get that the same pronounciation have a vast different meaning in different contexts.

It's a well known fact that country names are SHORTENED in Chinese, but originally, the names were quite long and based purely on phonetics. I suppose you'd say that Portugal is called Grape in Chinese because they grow grapes there? Why not France? They grow grapes there too :-)


105 posted on 01/20/2006 9:46:11 AM PST by pganini
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Comment #106 Removed by Moderator

To: tallhappy

"Wrong again gongfei. "

Hmm, since you called me that, i'll reply with:

"Gan Ni Niang, Tsao Ji Mai!"



107 posted on 01/20/2006 9:58:56 AM PST by pganini
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To: tallhappy

Thanks for the plot summary. Obviously I have no idea about the back story, which is why the conflagration on such a topic sort of took me by surprise. Also, I don't speak a lick of Chinese, so I'm not in a position to judge the merits of the competing claims here. Otherwise, it was a bit like wandering into Chuck E. Cheese, and finding a full-on barroom brawl in progress - not quite what you expect to find in there :)


108 posted on 01/20/2006 10:30:43 AM PST by Senator Bedfellow
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To: pganini
caucasians, Europeans, etc. treats local LIKE CRAP.

Interesting how you immediately take the aggrieved posture, and stress the alleged rudeness of Westerners more and more.

I have seen you personally disparage and defame a whole segment of your own population however for the simple act of religious belief. If you want to trade anecdotals ... I think you would be in for a losing contest.

This fascistic racism that you are apparently echoing is growing more explicit in China from all that we Westerners can see. Then you bellicosely accost anyone who happens to notice.

And indictment of your evil government is somehow misidentified as attacks on upon China as a people. If the rudeness of people can be laid as a cultural characteristic, don't assume it is perpetual (except in the case of the French). We need to look to the larger governmental incitements to conflict. E.g.;

How rude was it for the PLA to invade Tibet? How rude for the PLA to invade the Spratley Islands? How rude for the PLA to invade northern India? How rude for the PLA to invade Vietnam? How rude for the PLA to kill 70 million of their own citizens?

And how rude was it for the Chinese Television delegation visiting in San Diego over 9-11-01 to start boisterously celebrating the U.S.'s disaster, and getting drunk, yelling to all and sundry in earshot..."down with America!" They were rather promptly invited to leave the country.

The PRC/PLA doesn't even want U.S. business managers to drive around on their own (even in Shanghai!)...they supply their OWN drivers... presumably to spy on them, unless they really do "need protection" [And just why would THAT be?].

Or perhaps they are practicing a curious Chinese rascism that is condescending to Westerners, that they can't find their way around?

Which is it?

I don't fault Chinese people...as a whole... for these antagonisms. But there clearly are both individual and ideological malefactors...and the CCCP has bloody red hands all over this. And you have been strangely quiet about that right from your initial emergence onto Free Republic.

109 posted on 01/20/2006 10:58:43 AM PST by Paul Ross (My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple...It is this, 'We win and they lose')
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To: Paul Ross

Was I replying to you? No.

If you talk to any Chinese from Shanghai about how the expats treat the locals, you'll get very similar responses. I am just telling tallhappy and Gordon what I have seen. if you don't agree with it, then so be it. Every thread you post, you bring up the CCP, i am not sure why, but this has nothing to do with the CCP.


110 posted on 01/20/2006 11:16:41 AM PST by pganini
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To: pganini
There is no Roman equivalency in Chinese pronounciation

When did I say there was?

This is perfect example of your tactics. Make up something not said (a trivial issue as well) to use in a irrational, but nasty and visceral personal attack.

111 posted on 01/20/2006 11:28:50 AM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: pganini; maui_hawaii; ALOHA RONNIE
Every thread you post, you bring up the CCP, i am not sure why, but this has nothing to do with the CCP.

That is where you are wrong.

It has everything to do with this.

Their evil regime will grasp at anything to strengthen its hold on the populace.

Have you read George Orwell's 1984?

If you talk to any Chinese from Shanghai about how the expats treat the locals, you'll get very similar responses.

My family has taught there. I know quite a number of friends there now. And NONE of them would ever exhibit the crudities you assert. We can trade anecdotals all day, but it seems to me that you're the one with the chip on his shoulder...and why should that be?

112 posted on 01/20/2006 11:31:09 AM PST by Paul Ross (My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple...It is this, 'We win and they lose')
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To: Paul Ross

So a sample size of 1 from you would mean everything? I was in Shanghai for 3 days, and I saw 4 incidents of that already, one was what I described at the local Starbucks, in the international business district no less. Perhaps I hit a statistical anomaly, but even the local guys we hung out with mentioned it to us.

This thread has nothing to do with the CCP, nor would how foreigners treat Chinese has anything to do with the CCP. If you're talking about not being able to drive as a visitor - it's not just a US thing, they don't allow anyone to drive either. IF a Chinese citizen goes to the US, he or she can't drive unless they get a driver license, and they can't get a driver license unless they have a visa that allows them to reside in the U.S. Same deal here, i don't see your point about not letting them drive in China. If you're an expat living in China, then you CAN get a driver license and drive, but if you're just visiting on a business trip, you can't. Get it?

From all of these anti-terrorist talks on FR, are you suggeting that we let any foreigner in the US obtain a driver license even if they're not staying here on a long term visa?????? Are you kidding me????


113 posted on 01/20/2006 11:37:17 AM PST by pganini
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To: tallhappy

"There is no Roman equivalency in Chinese pronounciation

When did I say there was? "

When you keep nitpicking people on their Roman spelling, then you are. It's pretty clear.


114 posted on 01/20/2006 11:38:26 AM PST by pganini
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To: pganini; tallhappy; All

Knock it off.


115 posted on 01/20/2006 11:52:51 AM PST by Admin Moderator
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To: pganini

I am simply presenting the accurate facts.


116 posted on 01/20/2006 12:11:18 PM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: Admin Moderator; Jim Robinson
Respectfully, Your admonishment is misplaced.

pganini is a known disruptor and has been for a long time.

117 posted on 01/20/2006 12:12:23 PM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: pganini

Hey Jackass, you're not a very critical reader are you? I never said anything about Japan being a third world country.

I'm not going to waste any further time exchanging posts with you. You don't know the first thing about me, nor how I treat people in China because though I vent on MY BLOG, I treat the locals with the utmost respect unless someone does something to deliberately disrespect me.

As for how the cops treat foreigners who screw up...you just go along thinking that. You don't know squat about what it's like to really live in China...you're just an idiot tourist.

Furthermore, if you don't like my blog..dont read it.


118 posted on 01/20/2006 4:33:49 PM PST by Dr. Marten ((http://thehorsesmouth.blog-city.com))
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To: pganini

>>I think Romanization of Chinese characters hurt people
>>who are trying to learn Chinese, because they would use
>>their native (whether English or what not) way to
>>pronounce the Roman characters, which are NOT suppose to
>>pronounce like English/Latin/Italian/whatever

You should (or rather shouldn’t) hear Chinese Romanization being pronounced by someone with a southern drawl 8-D


119 posted on 01/21/2006 9:37:41 AM PST by DelphiUser ("You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make him think")
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To: tallhappy

>> I have used no swearing or bad language at all.

You might have noticed that I was responding to three people. “Bad Langauage” was used in some of the argument you three seemed to be having.

>> Everything I am saying is 100% accurate and obvious and universally understood.

Universally understood by you. There is a discussion here, sometimes heated that puts the lie to this very statement. (If everyone agrees, then why the controversy?)

>>PS is Kaohsiung or gaoxiong (although of course what you mean is understtod and
>>the difference are trivial).

Understtod = understood :-)

Are you seriously arguing that I used the wrong style of Romanization to be on this thread?

>> So delphiuser, your purpose is hard to understand and you come across simply as boorish and a bit slow.

OK, My purpose is to ask those who are swearing; knock it off (this means you only if you are swearing, got it?) Boorish and slow, I am not the one trying to tell a Chinese person what it is like to be Chinese, and what that person means by what they said.

Slow, Learned to speak Chinese fluently, 4 Dialects, some Japanese, some Korean, 11 computer languages, and that’s slow? I know what my IQ is, and I am not bothered by your insult, in fact it’s kind of funny.


120 posted on 01/21/2006 9:49:40 AM PST by DelphiUser ("You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make him think")
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To: DelphiUser
Methinks the dimwit doth protesteth too much.

This refers to you only because you are a dimwit, got it?

Ok, now to your only statement of any actual substance (kind of):

I am not the one trying to tell a Chinese person what it is like to be Chinese

Whom are you referring to on this thread and how would anyone be doing such a thing? How would such a thing even ever be done?

This will be funny, I'm sure.

121 posted on 01/21/2006 10:22:47 AM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: tallhappy

>>Methinks the dimwit doth protesteth too much.

No, I Doth Protest too much (Get your Shakespeare right or don’t quote)

>>>>I am not the one trying to tell a Chinese person what
>>>>it is like to be Chinese.

>>Whom are you referring to on this thread and how would
>>anyone be doing such a thing? How would such a thing
>>even ever be done?

Here are some entries from this very thread to illustrate:

# 82 cmdjin to tallhappy:
You know what I find really ironic? People that don't speak a lick of Chinese instructing native Chinese speakers on (in)proper usage. I know its hard, but stop embarrassing yourself moron. ? is the character used in Germany ? is to get Phonetically, the words are homonyms, but different. Also your complete and utter misunderstanding of the purpose of Romanization is ludicrous. Te Kuo LOL. The word is pronounced and written the same either on the mainland or Taiwan, the difference is a matter of Romanization systems, Wade-Giles (not really a standard) for the RoC vs Pinyin for the PRC. You are an example of the subject matter in the original article, idiots with a cursory knowledge/ignorance of Chinese feigning some degree of depth. As for being PRC shills, I'd work as one, but unfortunately they don't pay me enough :*(

# 89 tallhappy to cmdjin:
My you are an idiot, aren't you?
My point was that either de could be used -- as you state and I stated earlier, they are pronounced exactly the same -- the question is why did they use the character meaning virtue?

# 79 tallhappy to pgnini:
de-guo (tekuo for people really from Taiwan) could be obtain country as in bude.
They chose the de they chose because it was nice.
It's phonetic, of course, but other considerations were involved.
It's OK. I know you are psychotic.

Just a little history:

You really are a wonder, the ability to diagnose mental illness online, instruct two native Chinese speakers in the history, and methodology of naming foreign countries, in their own language, and culture (I believe both cmdjin and pgnini have professed to be native speakers of Chinese on this thread), and to top it off everyone is your mental inferior.

WOW -- must be cool to be you.

Are you hiding out over here from a beating over at DU? When in jeopardy of losing an argument you name call with the best!

“Violence, the last resource of the incompetent; online it’s name calling”


122 posted on 01/21/2006 11:23:44 AM PST by DelphiUser ("You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make him think")
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To: martin_fierro; All

"Ohhh...You MUCH humah Misah Mahtin !!!!"


123 posted on 01/21/2006 11:28:33 AM PST by musicman
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To: Dr. Marten
I have a friend who had a Chinese exchange student stay with her a few years ago when everyone was wearing those Chinese lettered shirts from Abercombie and Finch. While they were at a local mall, the student saw a girl wearing one of those shirts and said that the lettering actually said "I am a stupid American". LOL.
124 posted on 01/21/2006 11:32:33 AM PST by bella1
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To: bella1

That's funny, but it's a little hard to believe. Stranger things have happened though.


125 posted on 01/21/2006 5:50:28 PM PST by Dr. Marten ((http://thehorsesmouth.blog-city.com))
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To: DelphiUser; Admin Moderator
How are any of the quotes you cite "telling someone what it is like to be Chinese?"

You are very incoherent simply meaning to attack in a typical liberal manner. Your comments are irrational and distortive. They make no sense in terms of how discussing Romanization or choice of characters used in translating a foreign proper name, such as a name of a country, "tells someone how to be Chinese".

Your attack is typical -- it is nasty, vile, tries to sow dissenion based on emotional and visceral issues when none is merited and the topic touched on nothing of the sort that would engender such hostility.

126 posted on 01/22/2006 10:06:15 AM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: tallhappy; Admin Moderator

>>How are any of the quotes you cite "telling someone what it is like to be Chinese?"

Chinese language, and Chinese philosophy are integrally linked. The philosophy of how names are translated (yes there is philosophy) is part of “Being Chinese”. If you don’t get it, I’ll understand, you have to have live in the culture to really get it.

>>You are very incoherent simply meaning to attack in a typical liberal manner.
>>Your comments are irrational and distortive. They make no sense in terms of how
>>discussing Romanization or choice of characters used in translating a foreign proper
>>name, such as a name of a country, "tells someone how to be Chinese".

If I am incoherent, I apologize; I am participating in discussions on several threads at once. As for attacks show where I have called you names, or questioned your intelligence, or mental status. You vent all over people, then complain to the mods whenever anyone points out your inconsistencies.

>>Your attack is typical -- it is nasty, vile, tries to sow dissenion based on emotional
>> and visceral issues when none is merited and the topic touched on nothing of the
>> sort that would engender such hostility.

You have pinged a Moderator to this conversation; I hope it works out for you. I have nothing to fear from the mods because I am keeping to the rules as I understand them. I have not attacked, rather been attacked by you. I will respond to you no further.

Admin Moderator Please see post #122 where tallhappy’s quotes from calling names to questioning sanity are chronicled. If I have erred in my conduct in this forum please instruct me that I may adhere to the rules of Jim Robinson’s forum for it is his.


127 posted on 01/22/2006 7:07:33 PM PST by DelphiUser ("You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make him think")
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To: DelphiUser; Dr. Marten; Admin Moderator; Jim Robinson
I’ll understand, you have to have live in the culture to really get it.

Playbook stuff.

Interesting.

Hey Doc, this is text book stuff here.

The propaganda of the ChiCom apologist and propagandist is as follows:

1) -- make argument "you don't understand Chinese culture, you don't even speak it"

2) -- if Chinese is spoken then move the line to "you may have learned some Chinese but (and this guy's quote is perfect) you have to 'have lived in the culture to really get it'"

3) -- if you have lived there, as you have, they go for the nasty vicious stuff like they did about you and you're wife

These guys should be have banned a long time ago.

128 posted on 01/22/2006 7:54:59 PM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: Steel Wolf

curious, was learning to read chinese char. work related (USAR) or something you picked up earlier in life? Where all have you been discussably stationed? (I grew up as a dependent myself, even dodds 'school' graduated)...


129 posted on 01/22/2006 8:05:33 PM PST by WoofDog123
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To: Dr. Marten


You compare your living experience in China vs. Japan, hence, i need to remind you that Japan is NOT a third world country, it isn't poor, and your experience will vary a lot between the two. Comparing living in China versus US or Europe doesn't make sense, and yet that's your attitude on your blog.

Right, i am an idiot tourist, eh? That's the best you can come up with? I have lived in the culture since I was born, you're there for 1-2 years and think you know it all. Whatever, myopia is quite common on FR, and you're one of them.


130 posted on 01/23/2006 8:02:30 AM PST by pganini
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To: tallhappy; DelphiUser; Dr. Marten; Admin Moderator; Jim Robinson

"The propaganda of the ChiCom apologist and propagandist is as follows:

1) -- make argument "you don't understand Chinese culture, you don't even speak it"

2) -- if Chinese is spoken then move the line to "you may have learned some Chinese but (and this guy's quote is perfect) you have to 'have lived in the culture to really get it'"

3) -- if you have lived there, as you have, they go for the nasty vicious stuff like they did about you and you're wife "

Tallhappy,
That's the best you can come up with?

I see the exact same thing with Dr. Marten's argument:

"1. If you don't live in China as long as I have, then you don't know squat".

"2. Ok, you're a native speaker, but if you don't live in China then you don't know squat."

"3. Right, you live in the culture but if you never lived in China, then you don't know squat."

Meanwhile, he lived there for 2 years and thinks he's an expert in figuring out why countries are named in Chinese in HIS way of thought, rather than the original intention of the phonetic translation.

Besides, #2 in your argument applies for Gordon as well, does that mean he's a Chicom?


131 posted on 01/23/2006 8:52:09 AM PST by pganini
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To: pganini
You compare your living experience in China vs. Japan, hence, i need to remind you that Japan is NOT a third world country, it isn't poor, and your experience will vary a lot between the two. Comparing living in China versus US or Europe doesn't make sense, and yet that's your attitude on your blog.
I've never lived in Japan and never said I did. At any rate, my comment wasn't even directed towards you. It was a response to another poster, so I suggest you go back and re-read their comments if you wish to understand what I was saying. Think before you type.
"Right, i am an idiot tourist, eh? That's the best you can come up with? I have lived in the culture since I was born, you're there for 1-2 years and think you know it all. Whatever, myopia is quite common on FR, and you're one of them"
 
Um, you are from Taiwan, not China. They are two different nations with two different political systems and living in one is not the same as living in the other. You may know what it's like in Taiwan and I wouldn't argue with that because I've never lived or visited there, but I do know what it's like to live in China - a place you've only visited as a tourist who looks Chinese.

132 posted on 01/23/2006 10:09:56 AM PST by Dr. Marten ((http://thehorsesmouth.blog-city.com))
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well, anyway only 7 countries had ever been used with the charactor “guo”.... us, uk,france,germany. russia,thailand,south korea (has an alternative name without “guo”)

other prominent countries such as italy japan, spain australia,india, brazil etc were unluckily...neglected


133 posted on 07/29/2008 6:53:53 PM PDT by NVRENNVREN
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