'Chinglish' a hunted language

03 August 2012 - 02:17 By ©The Daily Telegraph
People dine at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Shanghai PICTURES: REUTERS
People dine at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Shanghai PICTURES: REUTERS

Shanghai says it is winning the war on ''Chinglish'', the garbled and often quirky translations on street signs, shop fronts and menus across China.

The campaign to eradicate "Chinglish" was launched in the run-up to Shanghai's 2010 World Expo and aimed to spare the city the giggles of thousands of guests. Signs that have been removed include those telling commuters to "keep valuables snugly" or to "inform police immediately - if you are stolen".

But outside major cities visitors can still dine out on "gross noodles" and withdraw money from "cash recycling machines".

While Shanghai's authorities have denounced the bizarre translations, "Chinglish" has attracted a legion of international fans and spawned book tributes. Street hawkers in several Chinese cities have turned it into an art form - and profession - selling fridge magnets and badges bearing nonsensical but sometimes strangely poetic translations. "Lehman Brothers give a smile face put the snake into your house", reads one particularly surreal message.

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