Sunday, August 7, 2005
Lack of Translation in Tattoo Publications
One of the biggest problems I have noticed among tattoo publications is lack of translation. Many tattoo publications would showcase artists' work and fans' tattoos of Chinese and Japanese characters, yet do not provide the translation, nor verify if the characters are done correctly.
Since tattoo is a form of visual art plus Chinese and Japanese are visual languages, sometimes people forget, or never cared about the characters' individual meanings, rather they just look "cool". That is if the characters are done correctly.
I have contacted Bob Baxter, the editor of Ink and Skin, about the problem of lack of translation caption in his magazine. I have yet received any reply yet.
Using recent issue of Ink and Skin as an example, the line of characters down the owner's spine (shown above) is visually appealing to some, but to those who understand the language, the tattoo is very poorly done and characters are incorrectly written.
Marisa of Needled.com, Marc of Inkedblog.com, and I had a recent discussion about liability law suits stemmed from poorly done Chinese and Japanese character tattoos. Especially considering there are so many examples posted here on Hanzi Smatter. Marisa is actually currently working on a chapter in her upcoming tattoo law book. It will definitely be interesting read when it is published.
The second character 極 is very poorly done that I had a hard time recognizing it. The third character 道 is recognizable but with a few missing strokes. The last character 功 had its left partial disproportionately small.
The third character in the photo above is so messed up, I can't tell if it is suppose to be 娠, 振, or 賑. The last one is not even Kanji nor Hanzi, but it appears to be a Japanese Katakana. Even with that conclusion, we still can't tell if it is "shi" シ, or "tsu" ツ.