The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Insensitive humor via literal translation

It's not polite to mock entire language groups, simply because their terminology, literally translated into ours, is funny. But if you demonstrate empathy by showing a self-effacing sense of humor, you can nullify the hurtfulness to some extent.  In that vein, then, we report that a literal translation of Beijing subway stop names reported by the Wall Street Journal included, among others, these amusing stations:
  • Cholera Camp
  • Safe Chastity Gate
  • Safe Neighborhood (which is right next to South Gong and Drum Alley)
You can travel from Mud Depression on the south-west, all the way to Salary Uncle on the north-east, or if you prefer somewhere closer in, there's Magnetic Implement Intersection or Puddle of Accumulated Water.

To be fair, though, we asked some colleagues in the PRC for their take on New York City place names, and they supplied us with these.
  • Corner of the Bonus-earning Hot Dog Vendors
  • Ludex (aka Ludicrous Excess Wallow)
  • Gun Packing District
  • Kosher Pork Butcher Alley
  • Madman Noodle Street
  • Ever-curious Policeman
The Beijing map is here. We're still working on the NYC version.

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