Attack of the Memes

So the good news, your business is gaining international exposure, countless website hits and signs from your building are circulating around blog sites and social media. The bad news, it may have been due to a slight translation glitch.

The blogosphere as well news sites such as the Huffington post have jumped on this hilarious phenomenon that have many Western tourists visiting the East and snapping away at traffic signs, supermarket products, directions, menus and more (which is probably rather amusing for the locals to observe too).

The term ‘Engrish’ has even been coined to describe badly translated East Asian texts into English, or ‘Japlish’ to describe to describe Japanese translations, Chinglish to describe, you get the drift.

While a few misdemeanours may be down to a few translators having a giggle, many are down to poor online translations tools or individuals overestimating their English ability, Japanese to English and vice versa is a notoriously difficult one to grasp. Plus, as a nation that is being increasingly saturated by English words, it is possible they are being picked up and put back into language in the wrong places, which is probably why so many swear words make their way into everyday translations.

While for low level businesses that have been struck with an Engrish sign, chances are a few pictures of your sign on a Facebook page thousands of miles away won’t cause too much inconvenience. For bigger companies looking to expand globally, the importance of professional translators which is fluent in both languages is imperative, as the credibility of your business could depend on it, unless your business is offensive novelty badges, in that case you are probably on to a winner.

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