Wednesday, November 16, 2005


If you ever needed a reason to prevent yourself from tattooing your own name onto your leg in a language you don't understand nor speak, i.e. Chinese, this would be a good one.

Peter wanted his name in Chinese to be tattooed on his leg. Too bad, Peter was too trusting or naïve, and did not get a second opinion on the translation. He has put all his trust in the hands of his tattooist and tattooist’s unconfirmed flash book.

The tattoo does not say “Peter”.

But, there is a Chinese electronics company called 貝德爾.

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  1. Babel Fish has trouble translating this (not suprisingly), so I was wondering: is there a literal translation for this? Or do the characters not have a similar english equivalent?
    Would be interesting to know what they say...maybe the tattoo artist was the one mentioned on "Souf Oaklin Online" .
    (lol! just kidding...)

  2. What is the pinyin for the tattoo on the guy's leg?

  3. Tam,

    The story mentioned in "Souf Oakin fo' Life" about disgruntled tattoist Andy Sakai is a hoax.

    As in the "about us" page posted on "Souf Oakin fo' Life" site, it states it is a satire publication, similar to The Onion, where all the stories were fabricated.

  4. Yeah I know it was a hoax. I was trying to make a joke about maybe this guy was similar to the character (ie. fake character) in the story. As in, he had no idea what he was getting tattooed on him and the artist may have been having fun with him by putting a Chinese electronics company's name on him.
    I know that :Souf Oaklin Online" is a hoax and this is precisely the entire reason I referenced it. I guess I'm just no good at humour... ;)

  5. Well, 貝德爾 is kinda close to Peter phonetically. Although the translation most commonly used would be 彼特.

  6. 貝德爾 is closer to "Bender" than "Peter".

  7. What I think some Westerners (like me) don't understand is that, even though Western names are generally translated into Chinese using similar-sounding characters, not every combination of characters will result in a word that's "name-like". For instance, my last name sounds something like "wu fu". When I suggested to my (Chinese) wife that my name could be transliterated as 五福 ("five blessings") she thought that was ridiculous and that no one would have that name (except possibly for some ignorant hick). She came up with two different characters that generated much more standard-sounding name in her opinion (even though they both sounded equally similar to the actual pronunciation of my name, IMO).

  8. If one really needs to tatoo one's name in Hanzi on one's body, one could employ a tri-lingual pun on the name "Peter" and get the character yan2 (rock). Or, if one is a Protestant, xiao yan (to maintain the Petra/Petros distiction). Or would that make one a total geek?