I don’t know who “Prince Mu-Chao” is, nor if that is his real name.
He first approached me via email last week,
“My wife and I are looking at getting a couple of tattoos using Chinese characters, and since I am a longtime fan of your site, I thought I would ask you your opinion of Formosa Translation. Does this seem like a reputable translation service to you?”
I could browse through the links he sent briefly and give him a quick “go ahead”, but I would be then compromising my own ethics. I even wrote about Eri Takase’s poor translation choice just a few days ago.
Certainly there are many sites on the internet and tattoo shops advertise “get your Chinese/Japanese tattoo here”, but they are in the business of making money.
Many professional translation services like Good Characters usually decline translation services that involve tattoos due to liability issues. Since there is obviously no control of how the translations would be used. In some cases, even when the characters are correct themselves, but during the transfer process, the characters are placed onto client’s body incorrectly.
Prince Mu-Chao was not happy when I told him I would not comment about his previous email.
“I think that is pretty shitty of you to encourage queries by listing emails people send you on your site, but then in cases where they do not lend comedic value, decline to help out.”
Yes, Prince Mu-Chao, I am a terrible person and I deserve to be punished for my denial of your request.
But in my defense, I would like to borrow your personal favorite quote via your Yahoo Personal Profile:
"I don’t wish to offend you unless you are an idiot."
Update: April 10, 2006 - Reader Charlie says:
Looking at your latest posting about a 'good' translation service, there is one generic piece of advice you can give out, basically you can't trust any of them. What do you do? Use many.
Basically, give the same query to two translations houses and see if you get the same result back. If not, you have an 'issue'. If you really want to make sure you are correct, you can also have one translate it, and then pay another to translate it back. Then again, that is pretty much what you do.
Several medical transcription companies do more or less the same thing, they do the work twice and then compare the two results. If there is a mismatch, both are redone. It costs twice as much, but in both cases, tatoo and translations, it is probably worth it. :)
Related: April 10, 200 - "asshole" tattoo seeker: