Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Jack and the Magical Pea; more Adventures in English

One of our favorite haunts here in Shenzhen is “Jack and Magic Pea”. It’s a mod little coffee shop decked out in chrome, black leather and black marble. As the name might suggest, they have some translation issues. I find it quite charming because you can get the gist of what they are saying, but it isn’t quite how a native speaker would put it. Still, we appreciate their efforts and excellent wireless signal and can be found there at least two mornings every week. Weird English is better than none at all. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy some transcriptions from their menu. I know I did.

Humanistic Music: Music is part of creating a certain atmosphere. What’s more, its an agent in helping people get relaxed. Every music CD collected by designer over the years is a foreign classic, it’s the share of choice. In this place, you can feel with your heart and understand why we would like to have it kept under 60 db.”

I agree, music that you can feel in your heart isn’t generally considered relaxing.

Movie Programs: We make no exception of us for every bar counter is equipped with a TV set, but whats on is definitely exclusive of news shows following the big event across the globe and over vulgar commentary program. We know it is well to isolate one from the noisy city, the best way is to see a laughable movie. (Even in the restroom!)”

Well, who doesn’t enjoy seeing a laughable movie in the restroom? I mean, obviously.

Fresh Coffee Nut for Sale: That’s right, coffee is not a drink only available in the café. Jack Magic Pea business began with selling coffee beans and food raw materials. But now in the store we still serve you with coffee beans of best quality and the top coffee sets, making it possible for you to make your favorite drink as if you are at home or office.”

I love the way coffee as treated as something totally unexpected. That’s right! Coffee is something you can make YOURSELF! This café is not the only place to get it! You can actually make it at home!!!!! And you’re not gonna believe this, but people have been drinking this stuff for almost 1,000 years! Who would’ve thought?

Reaction Service: Jack Magic Pea adopts reaction service, namely, we would not clear the table proactively unless you are leaving or requesting for service, in this manner, unwanted interruption into conversation/reading/cyber surfing will be avoid. Please raise your hand it service is needed and you will be provided with most thoughtful service.”

This means they do nothing unless you adopt the Chinese technique of shouting “Hey, Fu Yen!” and waving your hand in the air irritably. Still not sure what this translates to, but I get the feeling it isn’t as rude in their culture as it would be in ours.

The English lessons are also prime for some interesting moments between languages...I"m working on some posts about all of that. More to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


For a real laugh you should read the English elevator instructions in the Standard Merit office building. I had asked Eric to get a picture of it, or, if that would be too wildly uncool, to at least write them down.

I am very glad that you are enjoying the China gig so much. It is obvious that you are developing a non-U.S. centric view of the world, which will help you throughout your life in the ever flatter world.

And give the translators at Magical Pea some credit. At least they didn't call it Magical Pee.

Daddy G

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