RE: Idiotic Tech Writing Prize

Subject: RE: Idiotic Tech Writing Prize
From: "Richard L Hamilton" <dick -at- rlhamilton -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 12:39:30 -0700

My favorite falls into the category of bad translations.
While traveling in China, I saw a hot air hand dryer in
a men's room with the following text in English:

#*$& the hand machine

The expurgated text is in fact the in"f"amous word you
might have guessed it was.

According to a native speaker of Chinese, the character
for "dry" in Chinese ("gan"), when simplified (as the
People's Republic does to many characters), looks like
a character used in the Taiwanese dialect as slang for
#*$&. Hence, "gan so ji" or "Dry the hand machine" (itself
clunky, but otherwise uninteresting) becomes much more

Though this might have been an honest mistake, the
connection with Taiwan makes me wonder if it wasn't
a "plausibly deniable" political statement by the

Richard Hamilton
Managing Writers: A Real World Guide to Managing Technical Documentation


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RE: Idiotic Tech Writing Prize: From: Dan Goldstein

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