Thinking of getting a Chinese tattoo? Be very, very careful of what the Chinese characters say (rather than what you think they say) before you commit them to your skin to avoid unintentional hilarity amongst Chinese readers
I mentioned another classic Bangkok Engrish example yesterday, but the joy of seeing your language mangled by unsuspecting foriegners cuts both ways. Hanzi Smatter is a blog that has been faithfully documenting Westerners’ cock-ups with Chinese characters, usually in the form of Chinese symbol tattoos, or Hanzi as they’re known. Getting a tat featuring Chinese or Japanese symbols is still widely popular – but unfortunately many people literally translate the English into oriental ideograms and it all goes horribly wrong.
There’s a big archive of stuff to dig through – here’s some of my personal favourites – Inferior goods; Prostitute jewellery; Dragon shorts; and perhaps the coup de grace, crazy diarrhoea (you’ll need to read the screengrabbed article for the full glory).
If you’re still thinking about getting a Chinese symbol tattoo, you might want to read this first for some guidance towards getting something that’s vaguely accurate.