Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


藉口 – 周杰伦

Well, this is my first post from behind the Grate Wall and I have to say it is very buggy. While Bl*gsp*t is outright prohibited wordpress on the other hand somehow squeaks by, but not without its lag and “connection reset” error boards. Really, who’s to say if this is at all successful?

Anyways, this song is an oldie but goodie for me. Sorry for the lack of a yootoob video, but I can’t access it here; as well, my whole blog has become a bunch of white squares where the videos ought to be.

Not much to say about this song except despite the fact that it is a simplistic radio-friendly love song, it is all the same done well, especially the drums. I could listen to this over and over again just for the drums. Well, I actually have. I don’t know who the studio session drummer is for this song, but Jay definitely paid good money for this guy.


藉口 周杰伦






藉口ji2kou3 evasion
若隐若现ruo4yin3ruo4xian4 indistinct, partly hidden and partly visible
来不及lai2buji2 there’s not enough time, it’s too late
请求qing3qiu2 v to ask, to demand, beg
坚持jian1chi2 to persist, to perservere
承受cheng2shou4 to bear, to endure, to support
承诺cheng2nuo4 to promise to do sth, to undertake sth
纵容zong4rong2 to connive, to collude, to scheme or plot secretly, to feign ignorance of or fail to take measures against a wrong, thus implying tacit encouragement or consent
包容bao1rong2 to pardon, to forgive, to contain, to hold


Turning over our photograph, my reminiscence at times clear and at other times indistinct
In the winter of last year, we smiled very sweetly
I see your crying face as you turn towards me to say good-bye
I heard it too late, you’ve already gone far away

Maybe you’ve already abandoned me, maybe it is difficult for you to look back
I know that I have done wrong
Please give me one more reason again, say that you don’t love me

Even if it’s me that doesn’t understand, can you not forgive me?
Please don’t let us break up, consider that my request to you
I know you want to persevere in breaking up, it is you that has suffered the excuse
Please look back, I will accompany you, always right up until the end

Even if there isn’t a conclusion, I can still endure it
I know of your pain, it was me who gave the promise
You said you had connived with me, the silence is because of forgiveness
If you have to go, please remember me

If you have a hard time with breaking up, please forget me


the surprise is all mine…

Here I am in the motherland, and I am accessing teh internets and my blog. Has the world turned upside down? Sure, the Expo is on, but one day in the fall the Expo will be no longer.

Well, nothing to do but keep going with my posts, can’t stop now what with the absence of a good excuse.

More posting later.


Blogging to Cease…

I like to blog. Alot. And so, it’s a bummer that I’m going to a place tomorrow where there aren’t blogs. Well, at least free blogs.

I guess I’ll have to get a domain name of my own. Til then folks, enjoy.


海闊天空 – Beyond

A Classic. Beyond, the awesome 80’s Hong Kong band that existed in an era of matinee idol crooners and pinup singers, once famously modestly declared that all they want to do is become the Beatles of Asia. Me, all I want to do become Beyond. In 80’s terms, they are bodaciously radical.

While they would hit the silver screen in their finest moments with Andy Lau in 天若有情 in that movie, this song will remain Beyond’s crowning glory. A thousand lit lighters is not enough to tribute this power ballad which must have been the “getting ready” music for tens of thousands of coiffed haircuts through the ages.

I’m joking, but it doesn’t diminish the amazing impact this song has had on Hong Kong culture. What is diminishing this song are the new Mandopop lyrics that makes every mainlander think this is a mainland song. You can do that with 月亮代表我的心 and 甜蜜蜜,but keep your hands off this Cantopop classic. I haven’t learned the Mandopop version and don’t care to, but can emphasize the meaning of the original song: only through freedom with the individual triumph. Take that, bland modern re-make.

Beyond: Now, then and forever. Whoohoo, I’m getting Jersey on ya!






駒keui1(ju1) fleet footed horse; the sun
冷卻laang5keuk3 cooling off
窩wo1 nest
風雨fung1yu5 the elements
追趕jeui1gon2 to pursue, to chase after
霧mou6 fog
影蹤ying2jung1 shadow, image, reflection; footprints, trail
冷眼laang5ngaan5 to give someone the eye
嘲笑jaau1siu3 to ridicule
放棄fong3hei3 to give up
心中sam1jung1 in one’s heart
理想lei5seung2 ideal
一剎那yat1saat3na5 a split second
恍惚fong2fat1 vaguely absently
若yeuk6 if
有所yau5so2 somewhat, to some extent
不知不覺bat1ji1bat1gok3 unconsciously
淡taam2 tasteless
不羈bat1gei1 uninhibited, unruly
放縱fong3jung3 to indulge, to let someone have their way
背棄bui3hei3 to abandon

Now, as I watch the drifting snow of the night
I remember the cooling off of my heart from afar
Through the elements I have pursued, as through the fog I have followed unclear footsteps
Under a wide sky and vast ocean, you and I may have changed (who would not change?)

How many times have I been welcomed with a cold stare and with jeering laughter
And yet never have abandoned the ideals within my heart?
Absently, in a split second, if there has been any loss of faith
Where unconsciously the love of my heart have become tasteless

Forgive me if my whole life I have indulged uninhibitedly in loving freedom
All while I fear of falling down
To abandon one’s ideals anyone can do
But I’m afraid one day there will be just you and me

Nevertheless, my free self
Forever will sing proud my song, everywhere for a thousand miles


小賈斯丁慘遭網友惡搞 – Internet Turns on Justin Bieber

Have you seen the Chinese Youtube video that illustrates all of Justin Bieber’s rumors come to life, but you didn’t know what they were talking about?  Well, internet friend, you’ve come to the right place because I have translated the entire short video from Taiwanese putonghua into English.

If you actually enjoy real news and objectivity, then this won’t be enjoyable for you.  However, if you are actually interested to find out how skewed a Chinese perspective can be upon popular culture, then this could be interesting.  “News organisation” NMA News answers the question “Do I honestly need to know everything outside the realm of good taste and morals?” with a resounding 百分之百是的! Here’s from their own description of the video:

“The Internet may have made Justin Bieber, but there are millions of people out there who want to knock him down just as quickly as his rise to fame. See Justin survive a car crash, visit an STD clinic, dance with Kim Jong Il and get beaten up by the Jonas Brothers.”

I don’t know of millions of people who want to knock down Justin Bieber, but I do know of a “news organisation” that loves to humiliate and destroy celebrities–you, NMA News.  Oh, and Apple Action News gets a worthy nomination as well.

Sure, the internet and the world at large don’t need to use their collective imaginations anymore to envision what Kim Jong-Il would look like as a back-up dancer (see 1:14) but this is trash; enjoyable trash, but trash nonetheless.  I suppose this is what happens when the free press of Taiwan meets the practical crass Chinese mentality to exploit every situation for material gain.  Myself, I don’t have an opinion on Little Justin as I don’t know him or his music, but it is universally accepted that he looks like an attractive lesbian.

Enjoy the translation.

小賈斯丁慘遭網友惡搞 – Internet Turns on Justin Bieber
Little Justin suffers from the evil meddling of online peers

Canada’s golden boy of singing Little Justin
is an undisputed internet star through and through
He can attribute his massive fame thanks to his mother
who had put his video up on Youtube at an early age
The fame of Little Justin
Grew and grew on Youtube
Not long after he was discovered by a talent scout
And signed a recording contract
The ubiquitous “Little Justin Fever”
Started to become fashionable all around the world with young girls

However, at the same little Justin was becoming
The favorite target for evil meddling
In June of this year a rumor spread on the internet
That said that little Justin had died in a traffic accident
His fans were distraught with their hopes dashed
But he was quick to appear and clear up this false rumor

A website that meddles in evilness called 4chan
had its members unite together to punish Justin
And made the phrase “the syphilis of Little Justin”
Into Google’s most popular search
And then there was another rumor that stated a men’s magazine
Offered Little Justin’s mom fifty thousand USD to pose for glamor shots
This rumor hurt him and also had to be extinguished

Some hackers opposed to Justin
Unexpectedly connected [searches for] his music video to receive [search links for ] a pornographic web site

Little Justin asked his fans
in an online questionnaire where they would like him to appear next to perform
Where he was pranked again (made to drink a coupon)
When five hundred thousand people asked him to go to North Korea to perform

Although Little Justin has repeatedly been targeted with evil meddling
He is still a confident young man
Just recently he unexpectedly taunted the three Jonas brothers
And said that he alone can completely defeat the three of them

惡e3(噁心) nauseated
e4 evil, ferocious
wu4 to loathe
貨真價實huo4zhen1jia4shi2 high quality at a decent price; through and through
多虧(多亏)duo1kui1 thanks to, owing to, fortunately, luckily
星探xing1tan4 talent scout
發掘fa1jue2 to be unearthed, to be found
合約he2yue1 contract
一般yi4ban1 same, ordinary
風靡(风靡)feng1mi3 to be fashionable
宅zhai2 residence
對象(对象)dui4xiang4 target, object, boyfriend, girlfriend
車禍che1huo4 traffic accident
欲yu4 desire, to want
澄清cheng2qing1 to clear up, clarify, make clear
成員cheng2yuan2 member
聯合lian2he2 unite
字串zi4chuan2 character string
熱門re4men2 popular, hot, in vogue
搜尋sou1xun2 to look for, seach, hunt
艷(艳)yan4 gorgeous, romantic, envy
滅火(灭火)mie4huo3 to extinguish
駭客hai4ke4 “hacker”
駭hai4 astonish, startle
連接lian2jie1 to link, to connect
接到jie1dao4 to receive
問卷wen4juan3 questionnaire
灌guan4 to irrigate, to force to drink
屢次(屡次)lv3ci4 repeatedly, frequently, time and time again113
喬納斯qiao2na4si1 “Jonas”
嗆(呛)qiang4qiang1 to peck; stupid foolish; to cough because of choking
打垮da3kua3 completely defeat, to rout

What is PO?  P.O.? Po?  The po-po?  It isn’t in the dictionary.


非诚勿扰: 富二代 Rich Second Generation (English)

This is the English transcript of the 富二代Rich Second Generation episode of 非诚勿扰。

Enjoy. Cry. Laugh a little.

Once again, I’d appreciate any suggestions or help with the transcript.


Cloud Superior:
Hi everybody, my name is Murdering Cloud Superior
I am 23 years old.

Welcome, Murdering Cloud Superior
Glance over the 24 girls facing you
Got a good look?
(he chooses Contestant 11)
Whether or not you are able to date your choice of girl
depends upon your ability as a man
To the 24 ladies directly opposite me
Give a glance over to
The not so obviously confident young man in front of you
Killer Cloud Superior
What is your first impression?
Please think it over.

Please make your selection
(after a moment of consideration, 16 women reject him)
(remainder: 8/24)
After mulling it over for so long
They have left you with a lucky number
Of the total remaining contestants
Horse Promise, why have you put out your light?

Horse Promise:
I feel that only a young man with nice wide shoulders can provide me with the comfort of security

Cloud Superior:
Really? I think that you’re really strange. I think that a young man whose stature is proportionate can give the comfort of feeling secure as well as be pleasing to the eye, don’t you think?

Horse Promise:
But I like young men with broad wide shoulders; is that okay with you?

Cloud Superior:
For sure

Horse Promise
Well, thank you

Cloud Superior:
[in English] Okay

Killer Pondering 7-9am

Pondering 7-9am:
He just said that his stature is better than most, but I feel that his legs are too short and the trunk of his body is too long, I find you inappropriate for me

Cloud Superior:
So is what you are saying is that
Your body parts are all in proportion?
I find you very strange

Pondering 7-9am:
I think you don’t have any manners

Cheerful Praise, Advisor:
How you found
Whenever someone gives an answer
He likes to answer back

Because we have seen those male contestants
Whose background aren’t bad, who are good-looking
All round good guys
And when the girls answer back just they have like right now
These guys silently just accept it all
Even while wearing a smile on their face

Cloud Superior:
I don’t like it
Because that’s how I am, that’s my character
I’m just like that
I think these girls are all hypocritical
I’m the one honest person here
I think they are all just pretending

Horse Promise:
Who’s hypocritical?

Cloud Superior:
Beats me
I’m just saying hypocritical people are hypocritical
If you’ve been following my words you’ll know who I’m talking about

Some Unidentified Chick: (S.U.C.)
Hold it! Un-eldest Host, let’s see the next segment.

Let’s watch this tape detailing his personal information

[Fundamental Information]
Hi everybody, my name is Murdering Cloud Superior
I am 23 years old
I work at a negotiable securities company
And also have my own business
This year I have been making preparations for my store
My store is located in a mall
A large scale
Spicy sichuanese restaurant
I believe all of you ladies who enjoy eating spicy food
Will definitely enjoy it
And I will welcome you
As my loyal customers.
If you come here
I can treat you to eat for free
The business of negotiable securities is
One that is day to day and uncertain, for sure
Because recently the market prices have not been good
Therefore I say that recently things have been “easy come, easy go”
And I put down that place(?)
But really it doesn’t matter
Regarding the knowledge of market prices sometimes
Each month I can make 30 to 50 thousand
It isn’t too bad

The Military Sound of Wind and Rain, do you find the amount of his salary to be satisfactory?

The Military Sound of Wind and Rain:
It’s alright

Wormwood Jade, and you?

Wormwood Jade:
Not too shabby
However, I want to eat spicy
I hope he can take me out to go eat spicy food

Cloud Superior:
Can do
As long as you’re up for it we can go everyday

Wormwood Jade:
Really? Do I really have this honor?

Cloud Superior:
Yes, you do, just give it a try

Mustache First Monarch, do you like to eat spicy?

Mustache First Monarch:
Very much so
Also there is…

With your voice being the way it is
And yet still insisting on eating spicy food
Will you be able to speak?

First Monarch:
Can do, the more the merrier

Ok. “Miami”, you have put your light out but you still want to say something

“Miami”: (her Chinese name is meaningless and it sounds just like the English name for “Miami”)
That’s right, I can look at this guy all day long and still not know him
I want to ask you
Do you have anything else that you’d like to strut your stuff with?
You “new money” second generation?

Cloud Superior:
I haven’t been showing off
I just like what I do
I think this is none of your business to complain about

I think that your current condition
Is similar to an infant who hasn’t been weaned off breastfeeding yet
Your mother won’t give you her teat to suck
So you cry out “Waaah! Waaah!”
I think you owe an apology to
To your father and mother for having them give you this life and position
I think you have the ability to grow up to be a completely mature adult
And become a wonderful person

Good! Now come, let’s watch
And discover why he is at this station in life
We have just talked about his salary
Let’s take a look
At how much he owns in his bank account
On the big screen!

If my eyes do not deceive me
Then that figure should be six million
“Miami”, if you accept what we have just heard
Please tell all of us

“Miami”: (stammering)
I think that a man
At the time when you are choosing a girlfriend
We ladies are not saying “We are going to get a bank card”,
“Whoever has the highest position, I want that person’s card”
I take into consideration the emotions, I take into consideration the individual!

Military Sound of Wind and Rain, just now you wanted to say something

Military Sound of Wind and Rain:
Right from the very beginning, I haven’t said a word
Because I feel that a man
Who has such confidence,
After all, has his reasons for being like so
Before, I very much wanted to know
The source of all his confidence
And now, I know
I think that a man who has capitalist confidence (or confidence in money)
Is a very good man

Contestant #1, Thank Excellence
For a long time we haven’t talked to you
We would like to know your thoughts on this matter

Thank Excellence:
Each person is a book
I would like to read this particular book
And see how it ends
The reason why I haven’t put out my light
Is because I have been enjoying watching
His display of confidence
Because although we Chinese pay particular attention to the “Golden Mean” (everything in moderation)
We, however, also need this way of doing things
People with courage
Otherwise everyone will be the same and act in moderation
Forever stuck in their shells
Forever never wanting to come out
This type of person can be different

Murdering Cloud Superior, what does he normally like to do?
Next clip please

[Interests and Hobbies]
Cloud Superior:
Normally I hang out with my friends
We go racing, we go to bars
We go clubbing, we go to karaoke
Later we go play golf
Or go fishing
Nothing too spectacular
Anyways the speed isn’t too fast
We go drifting
We go skidding
These are things I’m all good at doing
This car is the one I usually use for fun
Actually at my home
I have a few more other cars
At present my best car
Is my BMW 3 Series (blah blah blah-sorry I don’t understand the tech talk)
Right now I in the process of modifying it
Let me think, oh yeah
Doesn’t Horse Promise really like BMW cars?
Since she wants to cry so much
Would it be better to come cry in my BMW
I think it wouldn’t be so bad

Our rules are
Once you have put out your light, you can not put it back on again
This is based on principle
Horse Promise, if I could bend the rules for you
And let you put the light back on again
Would you be willing to do so?

Horse Promise:
Forget it, I don’t like people who show off better than me
(spoken: Forget it, I don’t like people who fart smellier than I do)


Military Sound of Wind and Rain, after you have watched this video
Say a bit of what you’re feeling for us to hear

Military Sound of Wind and Rain:
Very good
But I’d just like to ask you one question:
Where did your money you so like to show-off come from?
(spoken: Where did you stinky fart money come from?)

Cloud Superior:
I a) did not steal and b) did not rob
It was earned by myself
I have a clear conscience about it

Military Sound of Wind and Rain:
It was all made completely by yourself?
Did you somehow make money before the first time you did business?
Was your first use of capital your own money?

Cloud Superior:
Actually my parents had a bit part in helping me with my first amount of capital
But, it was my buying shares on the stock market that really made the capital into what it is

Everybody knows
That the first start-up capital is the hardest to come by
But you said that your parents had a small hand in helping you with this
How can we understand?
Can you explain for us:
Your parents gave you
your start-up money
and then you took it from there and made it grow, is that right?

Cloud Superior:
You can understand it that way
But I think that parents
That give their children a sum of money
That is to say, to give them capital to do business with
These parents are showing confidence in their child and their talents
First, you have to establish this talent and skill
And then your parents will have confidence in you
And then they will give you the money, correct?
Moreover, I have not wasted this money they have given me
I have not gone spending this money
Instead, I have made this money grow
I feel that this thing
That is to say, my ability here
Is why I turned out this way.

Do you believe that in this world
If someone with abilities far greater than yours
But because their parents
Did not give them start-up capital
Could they end up in a tragic situation?

Cloud Superior:
I don’t believe it
Because I feel
Regarding one person’s abilities
Regarding even if they didn’t have money in the beginning to start with
They can still succeed

I’d like to ask, Thanks Excellence
With this particular book you have turned a page
What is your feeling?
After reading what is your feeling?

Thank Excellence:
I am just a regular family person
I am willing to say
But I believe
Although my family circumstances is just average
I believe I can utilize my ability
And my own two hands
To give myself everything I ever wanted
So therefore, sorry to say, I don’t like you

Plum Dawn Graceful:
I’d just like to ask you
Up until now
Your bank account has reached six million
Have you thought about repaying your parents?
You have bought for yourself three sports cars
Have you bought a present for your parents yet?
Have you considered them on their birthdays
During their anniversary
Have you accompanied them, have you shown them filial piety?
Have you thought about using your money to repay your debt to society?

Cheerful Praise, Advisor:
In all truthfulness I really admire Cloud Superior
The thing I admire about you the most is
That up until now
I have not seen a person as brave as you
And so from the bottom of my heart, I’m telling you: I admire you
Even if, whether you know it or not
You are willing to fly in the face of the will of the people
How do I say it
Ah, this way
Have you heard last year in China
A lot of
Accidents were caused by children of wealthy parents
That caused bitterness and grievous bodily harm

Cloud Superior:
I know I know

Cheerful Praise:
You could talk about drifting and skidding
And talk about them in this light-hearted way
Don’t you think…

Cloud Superior:
There’s something I should clear up first
Just driving on the road has its own risks
However, the risk doesn’t come from the car
But instead from the person driving the car
And whether or not they have the skill to drive it

Cheerful Praise:
So anybody who gets into an accident
Will have said, “I think
My skill is apt and capable”

Cloud Superior:
I think these people who get into accidents are not certain of themselves
They don’t have the proper skill to drive

Cheerful Praise, Advisor:
Therefore you feel you have no problem then?
You feel you are sufficiently able to drive

Cloud Superior:
That’s right, I have the skill to drive well

In other words
As we just saw in that short clip
Cheerful Praise just brought up these couple of details from the video
It was Advisor Cheerful Praise talking about that kind of drifting
Because of these few details
Combined with last year and the many things that happened
People will naturally connect them together.
The things that you have glossed over
Perhaps, will your words cancel the painful memories of some people?
Have you thought about this?

Cloud Superior:
I’ve thought about it
However not everybody is the same
Actually those who made the scandal are just one aspect of the whole problem
Actually there are a lot of things to consider
Traffic accidents happen every day, you know?
Every day it happens
But because these particular cars weren’t modified
You don’t hear about them since they aren’t scandalous and controversial
Actually the risk is the same

Cheerful Praise, Advisor:
In the middle of that clip you were in
In an unprecedented action
And for the first time a contestant directly addressed the ladies in the roll call
“Horse Promise, don’t you want to ride in a BMW?
Then get in “Daddy’s” car and let’s go for a ride.”
Therefore you personally invested yourself in this matter
While you were saying these words
Did you feel you were absolutely able
To take Horse Promise away
Or did you feel
After saying these things
You could whisk any of these girls away?

Horse Promise:
Oh no, the main thing I was trying to say is
Not just any old BMW will do for me
I really do want to be taken away in a BMW, that’s correct
But there are just so many BMW’s to choose from
That’s what I mean

Cloud Superior:
No problem, at that time I was saying that
The reason is because
I saw your video (in which she said she’s rather sit in a BMW than on the back of a bike)

Just a little joke, that’s all

Cloud Superior:
That’s right, you don’t have to take it so seriously

Horse Promise:
Not so, I wasn’t even answering your question
I was answering Advisor Cheerful Praise’s question, thank you

Cheerful Praise, Advisor:
On the outside these two people are grinning cheekily
But on the inside these two are trading stinging verbal barbs
Really wonderful!

Okay, right now dealing with this question
We have spent a lot of time discussing this
At present we still have six lights still in operation
Let’s take a look at his friends
How do his friends evaluate Murdering Cloud Superior

Interview with Friend:
The great thing about Murdering Cloud Superior
Is all about how he treats girls with such generosity
Take me, for instance, one of his good friends in his inner circle
This year for my birthday
I said I wanted a SLK200
And he gave it to me
But he treats girls …(can’t be hear over the roar of lights being put out)
Even a bottle of water…

Generally speaking
When this solemn and stirring music
Thunders forth
The stage is quiet
Why did the whole stage burst forth with applause?
Come give us an explanation

Thank Dictionary Corn:
You and her are just
Very naïve! Your relationship with her is that of “friends”
Friends don’t give each other sport cars as gifts!

“Pan Goldenrain Tree”(?)
So what do you give your girlfriend as a gift?

Cloud Superior:
Take a guess

Thank Dictionary Corn:
Two sport cars?

Cloud Superior:
I don’t think words could be said that way (“I don’t think you can say it that way” – but it seems different in meaning to say it like that)
Since the two of us together
Have been through a lot together
In my most difficult times
She has helped me
I have benefited from being with her
so what’s a few sport cars?

Military Sound of Wind and Rain

Sound of Wind and Rain:
We two are in the same line of work
But your capital is from your parents
Mine is by me earning it myself
But what I earned myself
I won’t act like the show-off you are
What you earned and what your parents gave you
Spent the feeling, isn’t the same (?)

Okay, this discussion has neared its end
I think, because all the lights have been put out
This situation with Murdering Cloud Superior
Right now anything you have to say about him
Is more or less meaningless
Alas, such a pity, Murdering Cloud Superior

(Failure: Retreating)

Cloud Superior:
A lot of people were hypocritical, I think
I think they deep down
Honestly don’t think that way
I don’t know if deep down
If they will leave me their phone numbers
If they will come seek me out
Because I think
What’s so bad about being rich?
I’m not being petty, I don’t want to spoil them
I also don’t want to pay attention to whomever she is
I just want to find the girl of my dreams
I think she hasn’t appeared
Because she hasn’t been honest enough with herself

Host: (final thought)
Life is an abundance of colors
People come in all types and varieties
On our stage
We will see every type and every kind of person
Who treat life, money, and love
All with different attitudes.


About Chinese Names

With respect to any language, whether it be English or Putonghua, the goal of this blog is simple and direct: to speak and write it well.

Chinglish, as many well know, is a horrible bastardization of both languages. For cross-cultural learners, Chinglish is an unfortunate necessity in the beginning to middle stages of development. Entire web sites have been erected at pointing out the horribles gaffes, and despite being a one-line joke, it can devolve into a one-line joke several hundred web pages long.

We should all strive to speak and write well, no matter which language we are speaking. However, in regards to this blog there will be definitely one area of Chinglish that will persist: that of names.

Names are hard to translate. What looks to be an ungodly mess of a Chinese name in English is only mirrored by the same effect when an English name is transliterated into Chinese. Sure, it looks pretty enough to tattoo on yourself but just as Chinese names changed into English are, English names changed into Chinese make no sense, or worse, have terrible meanings.

For example, James Cameron made some bad 3D movie about an internet sexual fetish and called it “Avatar”. This movie was released in China as well, and it is known by the name “阿凡达”. “阿凡达” is most definitely a Chinese word, but it also most definitely does not make a lick of sense. Like many other English names changed into Chinese, the individual Chinese characters are not used for their meaning but just for their sound quality so that they mimick the English name as close as possible. In this case, Avatar becomes “阿”(a1) “凡”(fan2) “达”(da2), where “a1fan2da2” is the closest approximation of Chinese characters to the English word “Avatar”. Other examples of this English to Chinese transliteration include “麦当劳“ (McDonalds) and “可口可乐“ (Coca Cola).

As mentioned, this name usually makes no sense. In the case of Avatar or “阿凡达”, the best it can mean it “Achieving Ordinary”; in the case of McDonalds, it means more or less “Wheat Acting as Toil”. The usual line of thinking is that names aren’t supposed to make sense, and Chinese usually gloss over this fact.

That makes it all the more strange when English transliterated names in fact do have meaning in Chinese; “可口可乐“ means “Very Mouth Very Happy” in Chinese. However, it becomes all the more convoluted when the original name means something in English, like Avatar, but when changed into Chinese means nothing at all.

Chinese names translated into English suffer through the same indignities of having been mangled, but for different reasons. While English names often don’t have any present and direct meaning without having to consult a book that refers to previous generations, Chinese names almost without exception all have meaning.

Chinese names are regarded as very important and their meaning as significant. While the parents of a newborn may take an afternoon mulling it over before deciding to name their new son “Max”, Chinese parents will ask their parents who will consult other elders and books before coming up with a fortuitous name.

This significance of meaning and importance is lost when a Chinese name is changed into English. The common technique is to take the pinyin putonghua of the name, strip it of its tone value, and then reprint it without any concern to its actually meaning.

For example, Tiananmen Square is a famous place (some would say INFAMOUS) in Beijing, China. Tiananmen Square written in Chinese is 天安门广场, and most definitely has meaning in Chinese. Tiananmen Square is known in Chinese “the public square of The Gates of Heavenly Peace”. I’m sure whoever came up with that name took a long time in figuring it out, and as such the meaning of the name most definitely has significance.

As such, English speakers often have no idea of the meaning of the Chinese names they are speaking even though they are clear and present to Chinese speakers. Beijing is “北京”, “Northern Capital”. Shanghai is “上海”, “On the Ocean”. Hong Kong is “香港”, “Fragrant Harbor”. This meaning is lost to English speakers.

Yong4 pin1yin1 ba3 han4yu3 bian4cheng2 ying1yu3 zhen1 mei2you3 yi1si.
Just because Chinese is written in pinyin doesn’t mean anything.

As such, to try to preserve this meaning as much as possible as well as to demonstrate my ability to understand this meaning in this blog I will always attempt to fully translate names from Chinese to English. Doing so will cause some cross-cultural tension. It may sound strange to English speakers that Chinese have names with meaning not unlike native Americans with their “Dances with Wolves” and “She Who Shakes Her Fist”. However, it is true.

I can understand how some people may see this as a slight and be tempted to call it a racist act. However, I see peace and harmony achievable only through understanding and acceptance; as such, I will continue to translate names as honestly and truthfully as I can.

Yes, unfortunately it’s Chinglish. It will be laughable. But as a student of putonghua I need to know what Chinese names mean. I think everybody should know. In the end, I will take it as a compliment if the English names I come up with are easily translatable back to Chinese.