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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chinglish versus Spanglish

All over Shanghai, you can find menus, food packaging, road signs & more in both Chinese & English, although a lot of the English is not exactly accurate - more like Chinglish.

Now that I'm back in the US for a visit, I'm noticing that even in Small Town, Tennessee you can find bilingual food packaging in Spanish & English. However, I think the Spanish is generally pretty good here - not a lot of Spanglish to be found.

I wonder why there's such a discrepancy in the quality of translation. Is it because we've spoken Spanish for much longer here in the US? Is it because the Chinese companies can't afford professional translators? Was the Spanish in the US ever that awful? Will the Chinglish in China eventually be eradicated? 
It will be interesting to see what happens as China becomes more & more open to the West - not only to the quality of the English translations, but also to the rest of life in China.

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