Linguistics expert and blogger Haonowshaokao has recently come up with a map of Europe that boasts amusing literal Chinese translations of names for European countries. “This is not a serious translation by any means,” the blogger explains. “I’ve translated the names in a pedantic, literal way, character-by-character, which wouldn’t make sense to most Chinese people,” he told Buzz Feed news.
Where did inspiration for the map come from? Well, Haonowshaokao, who is originally from the UK, studied applied linguistics in London. After living around the world teaching English, he eventually moved to Beijing, where he now lives with his wife and children. He’s always been amused by words and by language and thought the map would be an opportunity to have a bit of fun.
Of course, the map’s main source of humor is its amusing literal translations. France, for example, is translated to “Lawland,” while Italy is translated to “Meaning Big Profit.” Germany is “Moral Land,” and Ireland is “Love Your Orchid.” Haonowshaokao’s wife, who is a native Chinese speaker, helped him to develop to the clever translations.
All in Good Fun
The map did attract criticism, with some calling it diminutive of the Chinese language. However, Haonowshaokao insists it is all in good fun. “I don’t want to make fun of Chinese people or the Chinese language, it’s just a funny way for me to remember the names of countries as I learn the language. Chinese people don’t really think of America as Beautiful Country or the UK as Brave Country any more than we think of Turkey as a bird,” he explained. “Any language unlike your own looks strange from the outside, but I hope people can use this as a stepping stone to learning Chinese rather than laughing at it.”