Note: This was the original “first post” for what used to be the previous To Take Notice of Safe.com blog, which was the name of David Feng’s Chinglish blog back in 2006. It has since been renamed Jionglish around 2010, followed by the current (2014) name, Chinglish Alert!, used through to the present day. The post you are about to read is an original 2006 post.
This is the blog for the To Take Notice of Safe website. Every so often, David Feng will stick an image or two of the weirdest Chinglish and suggest a better translation.
What is “To Take Notice of Safe”?
A short two months after getting my Chinese driver’s license, I was about to lose it again. I drove the Jetta into a garage with this insane Chinglish (Chinese-English) sign warning me about crafty slipperies: “TO TAKE NOTICE OF SAFE. THE SLIPPERY ARE VERY CRAFTY.” As I remarked, I nearly dented the car (and the sign), having nearly spontaneously combusted in the worst laughing fit ever.
Then I realized — something had to be done. This Chinglish phenomenon wasn’t dying; no, it was on the map and was alive and kicking already since 1992. I hate myself for losing a “comment card” from a restaurant near the Fragrant Hills which had some of the worst Chinglish — ever — on it.
Beijing isn’t going anywhere with this Chinglish. Although hilarious for the expat community, it’s a huge embarrassment for Beijingers — and especially come 2008. Come to think of it, you may need to learn Chinglish as a second language by the time the Games are here in two years and counting.
But why settle for second-class-citizen-rank Chinglish when proper English is the real answer? As the capital of a nation of 5,000 years behind and a few more millennia (a lot more, actually) to go, Beijing — and the rest of China — can settle for something better than Chinglish. What Beijing really needs is decent, proper English. I much prefer “CAREFUL SLIPPERY SLOPE” than this “THE SLIPPERY ARE VERY CRAFTY” stuff. This is my bit in helping Beijing out of its Chinglish mess. It may not be a lot, but it’s something, and I hope, a force for the good.
By the way, if you’re in Beijing, check out that sign at the Howard Johnson Hotel near the central railway station. Quick — before they de-Chinglishify it.