Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Fox News Reports on Nonsensical Asian Tattoos

Fox News, known for its "fair and balanced reporting", did a story about the trend of nonsensical Asian tattoos and tattoo removal.

story link or pdf

Although Hanzi Smatter was not mentioned in this article, the story was a good plug for Dr. Tattoff, a tattoo removal service based in Beverly Hills, California.

"And for specialists in tattoo removal, it’s more than an excuse for humor — it’s great business.

Morel said that his business averages between seven and nine clients a week seeking to get an Asian-language tattoo removed. Of those, he said, five or six typically complain that their tattoo was mistranslated or didn’t say what they originally thought it did. Many got their tattoos in the mid-‘90s and tired of the fad, he said.

And Morel predicts the next big tattoo fad people will want off.

'It's like the lower-back tattoo — the tramp stamp — probably will be.'"

I am happy to see some people are finally realizing this stupid trend and doing something about it. Dr. Tattoff perhaps should give me a cut when I refer clients to them.


  1. Maybe the next trend will be poorly written Chinese tattoos on the lower back ...

  2. It would be oh-so-cool, and probably very funny if the good doctor would supply you with a regular stream of pictures of these tats.

    Although the frequency of posts in your blog is good, more humour never hurt anyone :-)

  3. The next trend? Seen plenty already...

  4. Talk about a coincidence--tat removing doctor named Tat-off.

    And me, personally? I like tramp stamps. They let me know when to stop taking somebody seriously.

  5. Did anyone notice in the article how many times they said "Asian" when they should have just said "Chinese?" We're not talking about hangul or brami here, these tattoos all feature characters that come from China. It reminds of that scene in The Cable Guy when someone calling 911 claims his brother was murdered by an "Asian gang" speaking "Asian."

  6. Just for the record, Rock & Roll in Chinese is 搖滾: shake-roll.

    In the article, perhaps the character the guy thought was "spirit" was 氣: "qi" (or "chi"); it means "vital energy", but it also means "gas".

  7. This topic was just addressed on Fark.com

    (Fot those that don't know, Fark is like slashdot, but way sillier.)


    I thought the people here, might be interested in what the people there are saying. It's worth a look, IMHO...


  8. I think the artical says "Asian" because it isn't JUST Chinese characters that people got. I have seen really bad Japanese and Korean too.

  9. Perhaps this will teach something about the complexity of language. There isn't really such a thing as a "direct translation." Meanings and connotations generally don't cleanly translate from language to language. I always love the character 想, bc it is the perfect example. How do you translate it? You need a context, because it can mean 'to think, to wonder, to want, to miss, etc.' The translations for the tats weren't bad, it's just how language is- complex.