In today’s edition of “Random things we didn’t need to know but now we do,” comes this map of literal Chinese translations of state names in the U.S. Oh yes, have you ever wondered what your state’s name translates to? Well, God bless whoever made this map, because it is one of the funniest things I have seen lately.
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The literal Chinese translation of country names often results in some hilarious interpretations, this is true. But being completely real, the Chinese language is one of the most difficult languages to learn, with more than 80,000 Chinese characters in existence. Although, one can get by with 1,000 of the most frequently used ones. That said, some characters that make up each phrase or word can carry a different meaning based on the context in which they are used. Hence, a phonetic translation of foreign countries that are supposed to reflect a nice, touching meaning might be a little lost in translation and can be changed to something completely different. Reddit user hastagelf posted this map showing the literal translation of Chinese characters for U.S. state names and then translated them back into English from Chinese. As you can immediately tell from the map, these translation are just bonkers!
Just look at California, “to add profit and luck to Asian Buddhist nun.” I mean, what does that even mean! Is there an Asian Buddhist nun in California that we knew nothing about? How ironic would that be? Then there is Massachusetts, which translates to, “horse nirvana reacher various unenlightened.” But, of course, there is some truth to the map (and I say a bit very lightly), such as Wisconsin translating to, “this prestigious healthy start,” or Florida translation to “to attain and gather Buddha homes.” Then there is, “Inferior profit sauna,” for Arizona, which I feel like it should probably read, “Inferior profit dry sauna,” but that is just me.
If analyzed deeply, some other states do make makes sense, such as in the case of Nevada. When we think of Nevada we think of Vegas, which means money, lights, and entertainment, which seems appropriate it translates to “attain magnificence inside.” Kentucky follows along with translation to, “Consent to basic morality,” and of course, Hawaii is up there too, translating to “Prestigious Summer Barbarians.”
Also, can we talk about how the literal translation of “America” itself is “Beautiful Country.” Man, oh man, this is making my head hurt.