Why The Chinglish Book? • 为何撰写中式英文图书?

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When I was on the 4th Ring Road about ten years back, I was amazed at the “creative-ness” of some of the road signs. The sign to the former exit 4B, of course, was badly hit by a truck, but there were some “cute” ones left intact. Including one which went — OIL GATE — INTO.

Riiight. So you want me into an oil gate — that is, you want me burnt alive, no?

And then there was the one in 2004 when Kunming’s Taihua Temple suddenly decided to blow up. As in fits of fury. A sign directed visitors to — TAIHUA TEMPER.

It was just amazing. I had a mission on my hands: to collect the most insane Chinglish pics ever. First for fun, then to see government officials about it (which they did little about), and finally for a book. By then, I had 1,600+ pics to choose from: to save readers, I chose “only” 275. Now, the collection’s exploded to over 2,200 pics.

When I shared my Chinglish collection with media friends in Beijing, they were pretty amused as well. They linked me to the good folks at the Publishing House of Electronics Industry, who — for a change — wasn’t interested in printing “just” computerese, and so my book was “born”.

The fact that the book is out doesn’t end my Chinglish journey, though. Given my frequent travels, I wouldn’t be all too surprised if I ended the year with around 2,500 or more Chinglish pics. There’s some big ones, and many smaller ones — and all of them delightfully humourous. Not only do I give a somewhat witty intro to each one of them, but more importantly, I also offer suggestions on curing the Chinglish syndrome.


我和「Chinglish」(中式英文)的故事真的很久,在大概十年前,就在北京四环路上注意到了比较有意思的中式英文。打个比方,东四环有几处路标,都写着「OIL GATE — INTO」(油门儿,进去!),其实都是想说是「加油站」。这好了:你一加油门,杀到加油站,这简直就是 — 车毁人亡的「杯具」啊!

更悲剧的就是昆明的中式英文。好好的一个宁静的「太华寺」(Taihua Temple),结果因为出现了中式英文,突然「爆炸」了,成为火气浓浓的「太华脾气」(Taihua Temper)了。哎嘛呀,这可太吓唬人了!


前一段时间,一些在北京的媒体朋友给我推荐和电子工业出版社的朋友们见面了,大家觉得都愿意出版这本中式英文书。结果就是:这本书问世了。我从当时的 1,600 多张中式英文,海选出 275 张爆笑图。现在我的图库还是往上走:最近统计时发现,都快 2,200 多张了…

不过,书虽然是出了,但是这中式英文旅途到底还没有走完,也不会走完。的确如此:我发现身边依然存在着几张囧图,到年底如果突破 2,500 张都是再正常不过了。那怎么办呢?面对持续出现的中式英文怎办呢?就是要继续研究下去,修改下去。书里不仅有搞笑图,更有搞笑解释,还有最重要的是一些修改建议。毕竟,写书了,就要帮助大家吧!

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