Translating Chinese province names into English produces some unexpected humor.
One of the pleasures of studying the Chinese language is realizing that a huge number of words actually consist of combinations of smaller words. For example, the word for camera, zhaoxiangji, literally translates as something like "mutual flash machine". Which, if you think about it, makes sense but...yeah. Never mind.
Along these lines, this nifty map (of unknown origin, but pulled from the Shanghaiist Facebook feed) shows China with the names of its provinces (and nearby countries) translated literally into English. Most of them are kind of meh, but a few amusing ones stick out:
- Liaoning Province is called, quite ominously for a province bordering North Korea, "distant peace".
- North Korea itself is referred to as "Morning Calm", which, given the country's recent behavior, doesn't seem to fit at all
- Far-western, bone-dry Qinghai Province translates into "Blue Sea", which would be fine except that it's thousands of miles from the coast.
- Guizhou, one of China's poorest provinces, is nonetheless referred to as "Expensive State".
- Then there's Russia which, oddly, translates to "Land of Rowers", conjuring up an image of a fur coat wearing crew team spiriting down the Volga.