Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Do you know what it actually says?

Whenever I see someone with a tattoo or t-shirt with a Chinese character, I always asks my wife what it means. I'd say that eighty percent of the time, the characters are incorrect. One small error can change the meaning of the word entirely (or make it meaningless). I think it's quite funny - there are all these people thinking they have something cool on their bicep or t-shirt, when it is completely wrong.

Lesson of the day: If you can't read it yourself, don't assume that it's correct. I'd recommend hunting down one of the over 1.5 billion people in the World that read and write Chinese and have them verify.

Here are two articles on the subject:
How To Avoid Vital Mistakes Of Chinese Character Tattoos (I love the example about the lady who wanted a tattoo saying "Freedom", but instead got "Free of charge".)
Cool Tat, Too Bad It's Gibberish