Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Golf in China

Here is an excerpt from the promotional literature for a golf course in Beijing, China. "We make a wonderful course by keeping the nature water and tree farthest. The various layouts and the buildings in the course with sinuous landform, forms a natural botanical garden beautiful scene. The designer designed the different difficulty to cater for the different players. When the golf ball go through the water and the grove, and enter into the hole, you can taste the enjoyment and the challenge. There is no ideal there is no being. The Riverside golf regards the ideal as her life. It need time, the accumulation of cultural and other, but it is most important to realize the being, and endeavor for it. Makes the golf culture being, bring forth the perfect Riverside golf club - our being." The problem with writing things in Chinese and then translating to English is that the Chinese language contains commonly used character sequences that mean things like natural-botanical-garden-beautiful-scene more or less. We are also dealing with a cultural oddity. Chinese students of English love to plagiarize. They will take phrases and even entire sentences that they find particularly poetic or beautiful and stick them into their English essay just to use them. The hapless reader is left to guess their relevance to the rest of the text. Also, Chinese tends to be poetic and metaphorical more so than English and the effort to find the right combination of English words for all those poetic idioms in tandem with random plagiarism produces the Chinglish gibberish one often finds in restaurant menus and product literature.

Cha-am Jamal

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