Steamed crap

Once again, there's some weird English in China. I saw a piece in the Sun-Times (which is really an AP story that's appeared throughout the country) about some badly translated menu items:

Trying to make Chinese cuisine and beverages sound more appealing, the Beijing Tourism Bureau has released a list with 2,753 proposed names to replace some menu entries, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Cited are ''virgin chicken'' (a young chicken dish) or ''burnt lion's head'' (Chinese-style pork meatballs). Also lost in translation: ''steamed crap'' (steamed carp).

What's odd and seemingly arrogant is that the government news outfit said, "These translations either scare or embarrass foreign customers and may cause misunderstanding.'' I don't think foreigners would be embarrassed by what they read--it's the people who wrote those translations who should be embarrassed--they didn't even bother to check their terms with a dictionary or anyone who's knowledgeable in English.

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