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'You Are Here'

Posted July. 29, 2017 07:41,   

Updated July. 29, 2017 07:56


"Six Times," "Bear Tang" and "Chicken Asshole House" were the list of a standing menu board in front of a restaurant in Insa-dong, Seoul. The English menu board must be for foreign tourists but they would never know what the food is about. We all know well that many English guide boards in local tourist destinations contain misused expressions. Still, the above absurd interpretations of Yukhoe (Korean-style raw beef), Gomtang (beef-bone soup) and Dakttongjip (chicken gizzard stir-fried) are enough to make us laugh.

As many Korean tourists travel all over the world, Koreans also find unexpected and extraordinary guide boards written in Korean in foreign countries. Photos of taking wrong signs in Chinese tourist spots are posted on the Internet. For examples, "Danger: Falling Rocks" sign is translated as "Beware Flying Stones," or "Popped rice" is sold as "Rice gasp for breath."

A Korean sign with impolite expression‎ at Atlanta International Airport in the U.S. state of Georgia made headlines recently. "You Are Here," an English expression‎ that informs users the current location with a simple map, was translated in Korean "Neo Yeogiitda" as it was. There are about 150,000 Koreans in the state, where Korean is one of the most spoken languages following English and Spanish. The airport corrected the Korean sign as "Hyeonjaewichi (current location)" in a day after local office of the Korean Air and Koreans living in Georgia pointed out. Local Korean media says such misused expression‎ is absurd as many employees in the airport can speak Korean.

In a sense, we do not have to be serious about such a happening, if it’s not a matter of damage to the national pride. Most Koreans would laugh to see the Korean words meaning "you are here" in a strange airport. It is like an ontological proposition or reminds me sort of embarrassing line, “I have you, inside of me," of the popular Korean drama "Lovers in Paris." Similarly, there is a line, “I am here and you are there," in the movie "King and the clown." Using computer translation programs such as Google Translate without double-checking is one of main reasons for abundant translation mistakes. We should remember that translation software for communication can also interrupt our communications.