Rants and Raves

Chinese Translation

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One of the worst things about assimilating Chinese into American culture is the translation of Chinese to English. Sometimes it just doesn’t convert with all the complexities of grammar in the English language. I’ve personally lived with “lost in translation” my entire life through my last name. Those that know it, know exactly what I’m talking about.
I guess somethings have adapted quite well, orange chicken, kung pao chicken, hot and sour soup, etc. But for the majority of the time Chinese food names just don’t translate well. This creates a huge problem for the web because everyone has a different spelling for the same word, such as Mapu tofu, Mapo tofu, or Mapo doufu. They all mean the same thing so how do you accurately search for something like that. At least in this example the majority of people spell it Mapo tofu, but what about lesser known dishes. Is there or should there be one dictated universal spelling so everyone knows what it is and how it’s spelled? Maybe one day, but until then I’ll be struggling with translating the names of authentic Chinese dishes that I can barely pronounce in Chinese to English, on top of that I’m a horrible speller. I guess I can do a direct weird translation of the dish and call it something like ants climbing the tree. Some people will know immediately what that is but I image the majority will be like, “what the @!#$!, that sounds disgusting!”

Dilemma, dilemma…