When direct translations don't work

February 14, 2011, 12:24 PM posted in General Discussion

I have a funny story.  I have been living in Qingdao for 6 months now and I teach exercise classes.  My chinese is not that great, but my classes are more visual, so everyone can follow.

Today, we were doing abdominal exercises and I wanted to tell the class to "pull in their stomaches".  Well...la 拉 is pull and du zi 肚子 is stomache so....I said la du zi.  The zi was no sooner out of the mouth then I realized what I had said.  For once, tones did not matter, and everybody ting de dong!!!

wo bu hao yi si.


Profile picture
February 14, 2011, 12:41 PM

That is a funny story.  My funny Chinese story isn't that funny, but it turns out you don't say "my bike tire has a flat", you say, "my tire has no air".  Trying to translate flat tire into Chinese just makes people laugh at you.

Profile picture
February 14, 2011, 12:42 PM

Also gives me a lesson idea.