The Babbel Blog

Online Language Learning

Failed symbolism – perils for non-native speakers

Posted on December 16, 2008 by

Imagine the moment, when the responsible editor of the “Max Planck Research” magazine learned, that the chinese symbols on the cover of its latest issue were an advertisment for some kind of strip club. That was not intended by the publication of the old and respected German research institute -  as can be read in an apology to the readers: “Prior to publication, the editorial office had consulted a German sinologist for a translation of the relevant text. The sinologist concluded that the text in question depicted classical Chinese characters in a non-controversial context. To our sincere regret, however, it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning, which are not immediately accessible to a non-native speaker.” The cover replacement (see above on the right) is the title of a centuries old book from a swiss jesuit.

(via Spreeblick)

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