纽约时报文摘 | 中国餐馆里那些“神翻译”

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If Michelin gave stars for unintentionally brilliant dish names, an eatery in Pingyao, China, might well be the world’s top restaurant. It has a large sign outside showing some of its tastiest dishes, with English translations: “In Bowl,” “You Flour Silk,” “Beef Cat’s Ear” and a noodle dish in broth known as “Sauce on My Grandma.”
如果米其林给意外取下的绝妙菜名打星,中国平遥的一家餐馆很可能会是世界上的顶级餐厅。它的外面有一个大招牌,展示了店里最美味的菜肴名字,从英文来看,有“在碗里”、“你面粉丝绸”、“牛肉猫耳朵”,以及名为“浇在我姥姥上的汁”的面汤。

The Chinese and English languages are so completely different that you often see awkward translations like these. They may make English speakers chuckle, but Chinese officialdom is not amused: When major international events come to China, the state tries to clean up the most egregious ones. Before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, for example, 400,000 signs and 1,300 menus were revised, including “Racist Park,” a permanent cultural exhibition that was rebranded as “Minorities Park.”
中文和英文差异太大了,所以经常可以看到这类尴尬的翻译。它们可能会令英语使用者发笑,但中国官方并不觉得此事好笑:每当中国举行重大国际活动时,政府都会试图清理那些最荒诞的译名。例如在2008年北京奥运会前,就有40万个标识和1300道菜名进行了修订,其中包括“种族主义公园”。它是一个永久性的文化展览场所,被更名为“少数民族公园”。

Still, a stroll through just about any Chinese city will reveal the joys of eating in China: A restaurant menu in Xian offers “The Smell of Urine Dry Noodles.” Shenzhen is proud of its famous “Gollum Shrimp.” A Beijing restaurant serves “The Hand That Grasps the Cowboy Bone” and “Fried Swarm.”
不过,直到现在,在任何一座中国城市漫步,都会让人对中华饮食忍俊不禁:西安一家餐馆菜单上写着“尿味的干面条”。深圳为其著名的“古鲁姆虾”感到自豪。北京的一家餐厅提供“握着牛仔骨头的手”和“炸蜂群”。

Public institutions don’t do much better with their signs: One warns travelers in Shanghai to “Beware Wallet/Carefully Slide” (it means to suggest that you should watch your wallet and your step on the slippery floor). In Beijing, some wheelchair-accessible bathrooms are marked “Deformed Person.”
公共机构的标志也不怎么样:上海有一个警告标识是“当心钱包咬你/小心翼翼地滑倒”(意思是,看牢你的钱包,在湿滑的地面上行走时要注意)。在北京,坐轮椅者的一些专用洗手间上采用的标识是“畸形人”。

And it is worth a visit to the Ecstasy retail clothing chain on the island of Taiwan just to see what is posted out front. Apparently unaware that its trademark is also a street name for the illegal drug MDMA, the store has signs saying, “Welcome to the Ecstasy World” and “The Ecstasy Family Make You Crazy.”
就算只是为了看看招牌,台湾岛上的象鼻人(Ecstasy)服装连锁店也是值得一逛。商家似乎没有意识到其商标也是非法毒品摇头丸的俗称,所以店里的招牌上写着“欢迎来到摇头丸世界”和“摇头丸家族让你疯狂”。

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