Thursday, April 16, 2009

Differing view from Singapore's Lianhe Zaobao.

Many thanks, Yang Yongxin (杨永欣), for taking the time to comment on the Chinglish phenomenon in today's Lianhe Zaobao. I quote:
在我看来,中国式英文展现的并不是中国人的创意,更不是什么文化宝物,而是一些中国人不认真的工作态度,因此中国式英文的风气不能助长。(In my opinion, Chinglish isn't about Chinese creativity, even less about being a cultural treasure, it's about a lack of serious working attitude with some Chinese, therefore the common practice of Chinglish mustn't be fostered; my translation)
"a lack of serious working attitude", all granted, many examples prove that point. My point, however, is much more the lifelessness of most so-called standard translations, to challenge the notion of standard-English, who defines it, the intended or unintended ingenuity of some of the translations, the necessity to keep the Chineseness of the original content etc. Languages are inevitably changing, English has proven to be one of the most flexible idioms and Chinglish is already an inseparable part of it.

30 year-old Yang Yongxin who studied in the US and the UK should know that first hand. Since he's working as Zaobao's correspondent in Guangzhou I am looking forward to his personal contributions.

29Comments:

At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

funny

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger Bill wrote ...

I have some friends and colleagues in Singapore. As far as I know, there is a similar word "Singlish" there. Accordig to Mr. Yang's theory, it means that some people in Singapore are not serious about their work. Absolutely, I don't agree with him. Chinglish and Singlish just means that it is quite difficult for people, whose native language is not English, to master English, especially for those people who start to learn English when they are grow-up. Some of my colleagues in Paris speak&write French-style English. I never think that they are not serious about their work. Because I know that they had no opportunity to learn English at school when they were children. In fact, people in Hong Kong will call Mr. Yang "banana", whose skin is yellow, but the heart is white. There are a lot of "bananas" in Hong Kong. They get educated or grow up in western countries. As a matter of fact, they are totally the same as westerners even if they look like yellow race.

Bill Yang from Guangdong province

 
At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

ZAOBAO'view may take it a little bit too serious.

Responsibility VS Humor?
Looking forward the former lost:)

来句中式英语:
The wind of Chinglish should be stopped!

 
At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

无语...
每个国家都有这样的现象,并不说明什么问题!

 
At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

让因为翻译中国的古文看看,还不是一样搞不定!?

 
At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

yeah, that is already a normality in Singapore which they are proudly called it "Singlish"

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

wow,funny!

 
At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

I agree part of your opinion.
However, someone from oversea will laugh at the chinglish since such translation looks quite stupid and naive.

My english also is quite poor, haha

 
At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

如果印度可以有印度英语,那中国就可以有中国英语。其实很多方言的形成就是对标准的误传。

 
At 5:05 PM, Anonymous yoles wrote ...

hiahia,i knew you from the"zaobao"~~

 
At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

the author know nothing about english,purely idiot and full mouth of crap

 
At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

you know what, i was confused when i read the noews of your comments on chinglish. i even don't know whether it is right or wrong to support the chinglish culture. But as for me, a chinese girl who study English wants have a native speaking. I hate my chinglish though I couldn't get rid of it when I am in the chinese literal environment. I think for communicaton, we can use no matter what, just even in gesture to express our emotion or needs, I think it's ok here to use chinglish or Koreaglish or others. But as for the people who take English as tool in their work or the people who are under way of studying English, I think it is necessary to avoid the Chinglish.
My English is not native, I know, But I never stop trying avoiding Chinglish!

 
At 5:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

In Singapore, Singlish is recognised as mangled English, mainly spoken only. I don't believe I've seen signs translated from Chinese into Singlish.

Something else does get my goat though: A food stall sells chicken rice. Its signage in Chinese says 鸡饭。Its English signage says "ji fan". Wtf? For whom is that "translation" meant?

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous CantoneseFromChina wrote ...

I don't think Singaporean really know English as well as Chinese, I have been living in Singapore and North America for year. Lianhe Zaobao claimed itself a leading media but it is always found that using 广洲 as 广州, and talking about 一粒萍果. You will find that most of people there can only speak Bazaar English with mixure of Hokkien , Malay and English words, most of the people have difficulty to complete a full sentence and write paragraph in full English. The reason why Zaobao want to publish is just part of the City State 's long term strategy to uglify surrounding country's people to maximize benefit in world economy competition. For China's case, because of Deng Xiaoping's appreciation on Singapore’s social system, there are depression on any suspicion to Singapore , but in Malaysia, the people and government understand Lion City's intrigue and will fight back in media . For Mr Yang, I suggest him stop write such article to earn that such Salary from Singaporean on the price of your integrity. CantoneseFromChina

 
At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

Here's a Singlish rejoinder to CantoneseFromChina's incoherent comments:

Say people say yourself.

:-)

 
At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Suzanne wrote ...

Isn't the "STELIOT" just a perfect example of Chinese creativity??

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

学中文的老外不也一样说英式中文吗,我们也没说他们不认真工作的结果啊,因为母语的不同,说错是可以理解的,那个新加坡的太二了。心态很差啊,不是好人。

 
At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Ysleng wrote ...

With the rapid growth of economy and polictis, China will have the say to decide that Chinglish can be used as the official language in UN, right?

 
At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

新加坡作為一個小國家,的確是很自卑的;當年美國人"篡改"了大英帝國的母語英語,製造出一個玄妙的美式英語,很多拼寫都和便準的英式英語不一樣,也很令英國人民不爽,但是如今美國強大了,過去的英聯邦國家也都向美國靠攏,美式英語反而成為事實上的標準了.如果中國更強大一些,那麼中式英語似乎也會成為更標準一點的英語.標準語言這玩意背後有政治因素,簡體字本來就是很奇異的東西(借鑒了大量的草書,比如"馬"簡寫為"马",下頭的四點水連寫成一個橫,多詭異啊),但是中國大陸越來越強大了,簡體字也壓過用了幾千年的"繁體字"了.

 
At 6:43 PM, Anonymous alison_22 wrote ...

The opinion is not completely wrong.
These days we are busy with our graduation thesis, which needs a abstract in both Chinese and English. Many students just use the Google C-E translating machine. We can foresee the terrible translation.
They have learned English for at least 10 years, but they are too lazy to look up the dictionary and translate the abstract one sentence after another by themselves.

 
At 4:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

I don't think so.

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger Annie wrote ...

Haha, I can understand the feeling from a language purist's point of view(I'm learning French right now and French native speakers say I am too strict on the "correct" spelling and grammar...= =)...Perhaps that's because of my professional habit as a language researcher and instructor.

Though I do see the interesting aspects of language and culture transfer reflected in Chinglish, and I personally think it's worth preserving. Though, also personally, I'm striving to speak standard American English.

I don't think everybody can become a language expert, so I guess the choice should be left for them to choose.As whether they don't work hard enough or not, it's hard to say... sometimes they do work hard, but they just can't get rid of the non-nativeness!

 
At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

chinglish是个传递中国式幽默的窗口,可以让讲英语的人了解我们的思维习惯和情感!
当然,我会在考试里尽力写出地道的英文!~

when you want to cheer somebody up,
just say: add some oil(加油)!
haha^^

 
At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

I also live in Singapore and Singlish is everywhere. However, interestingly, some Singaporeans, especially those properly educated, will switch to a more "standard English" when talking to foreigners. To me, this is simply a cultural issue. Singlish or Chinglish is used (consciously, unconsciously, or subconsciously) to maintain and grow a grass-root culture which is alternate to the authority. When you speak such a language, you are seeking the 'social identity', so to speak.

 
At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

i think it is a mixture culture,it can expand the english vocabulary quantity.

 
At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

I've lived in the US for the last 10 years. I've been to a few other countries. I found it funny that the author of this article took so serious. No doubt, a few people are very talented. They pick up English really well in their late teens, no accent. For most us who grow up speaking Mandarin plus a dialect at home. It's natural to get it all mixed up.

 
At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

let's see,"wind flower snow moon."英语中有这么有意境的词吗?英语本身就在不断扩展词汇,加入一些有生命力的“Chinglish”是很好、很正常的事。Another example,"long time no see."你能说这不合英语语法吗?

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous I. ZHANG wrote ...

It's hard to say I agree with that Chinglish is a lack of serious working attitude, as Lianhe Zaobao said, or that Chinglish is creativity.
I'm from China, living here, educated here, and all I want to say is, English education is totally mess in my country. I never really learnt English from school and collage, I just passed exams.
I'm not blaming educators, since I learnt English myself, I realized how different between English and Chinese. I dont know how to describe it, but maybe someday I can.
Some may really learnt a language from another side of the planet where he never be, but very few, I bet. Maybe you've saw thousands of Chinese speak English fluently, but how many of them teaching students? Everyone, or most, in China learn English in school, but very most just think they know English.
And sometimes, we actually use English words as sort of pattern, same as what you do to Chinese characters. You guys know what happened in Max Planck Institute? They put a chinese cathouse advertisment on their cover! Why? Because dear Professor Chinese Language can't read it!
That's all about Babel. It's really hard.

PS: I'm not sure about grammar above, and appreciate for read.

 
At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

他说的很有道理啊。
有些翻译确实是中英文思维、语法、文化、惯用语什么的不同造成的,看看还挺有意思,至少看得出他们是在“翻译”。比如give you some colour see see之类的,中国人和老外知道了涵义后都能会心一笑。
但是有些完全是就拿金山词霸呀GOOGLE翻译呀一个字一个字割裂开了翻好再拼起来的,也不检查一下,尤其是还要拿到公共场合做标语牌,这不是工作漫不经心是什么,比如干货的干翻译成FUCK,财务处处长翻译成Financial Affairs is Everywhere Long 这叫翻译吗?根本连中文断句都没断好,断成了 处处(everywhere),长(多音字,取了chang的意思,翻成long),这种根本不能称之为Chinglish了,简直就是胡搞。
中国人英语说得不地道不是错,语言本来也只是交流的工具,说点Chinglish无伤大雅。但是挂在外面的公共指示、标语牌既然写到英语了,就是为了给外国人看的,就是为了给外国人看懂的,不然你干嘛要写英语。只是写得不地道一点、不符合惯用法问题也不大,至少人家能看懂,就起到你指示、警告的本意了。但在标语牌上写些狗屁不通的、连学过英语的中国人都不一定能看懂的英文,这是要起什么作用呢,纯粹为了搞笑吗?就是挂标语牌的人工作极不负责。

 

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