My friend, Taylor, sent me this great collection of Chinglish signs that The New York Times just posted to their site. These are some of the best ones I've ever seen:
See All 10 Signs here
Here are some of the best Chinglish signs that I captured with my own camera while in China:
This is an absolute classic. I don't know how it could be more non-sensical. I took it at a youth hostel in Shanghai in 2006.
I don't know about you, but the numbers 7, 11, and 16 sound pretty delicious to me! I took this at a tiny restaurant half-way up Emei Shan.
This really isn't blatantly horrible Chinglish. I really like how it was translated though. From Hua Shan.
This Chinglish is all great. Westerners would be mistaken to think that they don't make the same mistakes though. In an effort to be "fair and balanced," I want to post some extremely lame attempts at Chinese characters done by westerners.
These are from the website - Hanzismatter - which is solely devoted to exposing idiotic tattoos and other westerner attempts at using Chinese and Japanese characters:
This is supposed to say "death" and "life." Unfortunately, the tattoo artist drew "death" mirrored. There are way too many of these mirrored tattoos on Hanzismatter.
This means "Stupid American."
Here is what the person who has this tattoo wrote about it on the internet:
While spending some time in Japan, I was lucky enough to get the kanji for "Dragon soul" tattooed on my arm at a studio in Tokyo. The artist helped me translate the phrase into kanji.
His tattoo means "foreigner." That's a pretty mean prank played by the tattoo artist!
I asked Qian if there is a word that means the opposite of "Chinglish." A word in Chinese that means a failed attempt at Chinese. She couldn't think of anything except maybe "Englese."
After I asked her, I saw the title screen from where I found the pictures above and the Chinese idiom it features: 一知半解.
Although I've never heard this phrase before, I was able to guess the meaning of this idiom immediately. It means something along the lines of, "a little knowledge and no understanding." So while there may not be a world exactly for "the misuse of Chinese characters" (I don't know, maybe there is), this idiom captures the meaning pretty well.