Chinglishization of CVP (utterly trivial)

by Carl V Phillips

I found myself laughing out loud at a series of alerts that showed up in my inbox. I think they are probably link-farm spam sites, though they might be touting e-cigarettes. It does not really matter. They were apparently working from a (presumably unauthorized) translation — into Chinese I am pretty sure — of a sentence that appeared in a mediocre article in Forbes:

“E-cigarettes are part of a larger phenomenon known as tobacco harm reduction,” says Carl Phillips, PhD, scientific director[*] of Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA)

[*Note: That was my title back then, but it has changed.] They then translated that back into English for their spam sites. What did they end up with? The closest to the original was:

“E-tobacco cigarettes are component of a bigger trend generally known as tobacco harm reduction,” says Carl Phillips, PhD, medical director of Buyer Advocates for Smoke-cost-free Options Organization (CASAA)

More amusing was:

“E-cigarettes are a part of a bigger trend referred to as tobacco harm reduction,” affirms Carl Phillips, PhD, technological director of Buyer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternate options Connection (CASAA)

My personal favorite:

“E-cigarettes are component of a more substantial sensation called tobacco harm lessening,” says Carl Phillips, PhD, technological director of Client Supporters for Smoke-free Alternatives Organization (CASAA)

[Update: found another that might be even better, thanks to the “totally”:

“E-cigs are part of a bigger occurrence called tobacco hurt lessening,” says Carl Phillips, PhD, clinical director of Buyer Proponents for Smoke-totally free Alternatives Relationship (CASAA)

…and another, not quite as good:

“E-cigarettes are component of a bigger trend generally known as tobacco cause harm to decrease,” affirms Carl Phillips, PhD, scientific director of Client Advocates for Smoke-free of charge Alternatives Organization (CASAA)

]

Perhaps this is some plot to point out that “The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association” is a rather awkward name. Can’t argue. But I think that “Buyer Advocates for Smoke-cost-free Options Organization” would be BASCFOO, not CASAA. I like BASCFOO. It is fun to say. You might think that the best way to engage in copyright violation of a sentence written in English, when producing material in English, is to just copy the original rather than translating it into Chinese and back. This clearly demonstrates that you would be wrong.

[Update: If you want to read something serious from me today, check out my EP-ology post, Musings on California water policy as it relates to e-cigarette policy.]

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4 responses to “Chinglishization of CVP (utterly trivial)

  1. My writing style generally has a fairly rich vocabulary and long complex sentence structures. When I’m writing for venues that are primarily going to either be serving an ESL audience or where my writing is going to be translated into Chinese or something I try to avoid having the result mangled too badly by deliberately using simple, direct words and verb forms, and keeping my sentences short and to the point.

    – MJM

  2. Spelling mistake in your last sentence.. ‘wrong’ should read ‘wong.’ Or,拼寫錯誤在你的最後一句話…… “錯誤”應改為“黃”。which means that wong, translated is, ‘yellow.’ This, in turn means the sentence should read, “This clearly demonstrates that you would be yellow” Funny how things work out, is it not?

  3. Looks like you must be getting famous in Cathay.It seems as though the Chinese did not wish to offend your office,so they tried many variations along the same theme.

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