Cavenaugh is an Ohio-based businessman who wants to expand his family’s sign-making company by locking up a deal with China. He’s a character in David Henry Hwang’s play Chinglish. In the play, Cavanaugh says all he knew about China was “the difference between Moo Shu Pork and General Tso’s Chicken.”
For English-speaking visitors, foreign countries try to help ease travel and business by translating signage. The word choices on these signs range from wrong to bizarre to LOL-funny. In China, these mistranslations are known as “Chinglish,” and they’re at the heart of Hwang’s Chinglish, which runs at South Coast Repertory Jan. 25-Feb. 24.
Online—and in the play—you’ll find many Chinglish examples. Here are some of our favorites:
- “Please forgive to be incontinent for interior decoration.”
- Please forgive the inconvenience during our remodeling.
- “Baby on Road”
- Baby on Board
- “Do Not Disturb: Tiny Grass is Sleeping”
- Do Not Walk on Grass
- “Do Drunken Driving”
- Don’t Drink and Drive
- “Smart noshery makes you slobber”
- [We don’t know what this is; from a business marquee!]
Look for more Chinglish signs online.
Share some of your favorites on our Facebook page.