Saturday, October 24, 2009

from: Haribo S.

date: Fri, Oct 23, 2009 at 7:50 AM
subject: Submission

Hi there.

One of my friends posted this on Facebook and claims it says "william beloved son", is this accurate?
Thanks :) love the blog


This is another case of Chinese-Japanese mismatch.

威廉 is Chinese phonetic transliteration of "William", however 愛息 is translated as "love [to] rest" when read as Chinese.

While Japanese for "William" is ウィリアム and 愛息 (あいそく) is interpreted as "beloved son/cute boy".


  1. Not only that, but 愛息 in Japanese is used only to refer to someone else's son. I can only assume that "William" is (or was) the son of the man with the tattoo, and if so, 愛息 is completely inappropriate as a way to refer to the man's own son.

    On the plus side, a Japanese person would not know what 威廉 is supposed to mean, so they probably would not even guess that 愛息 is Japanese.


  2. Also, in either language, it would seem to present a word order problem.

    Pity, because the quality of calligraphy here is far better than the average Hanzi Smatter tattoo.

  3. 愛息 sounds pretty archaic to my ears. I don't think I've ever seen it "in the wild." Also the word order should be reversed for Japanese: 愛息ウィリアム

    But at least the characters themselves look nice.

  4. I love the blog! I'm also really glad that Tian knows both Chinese and Japanese - sounds like there's a lot of confusion between the two as far as tattoo artists go! And I agree - the characters do look nice. traditional > simplified mwahahaha

  5. "William Beloved Son"??? Isn't that weird in English too?

    Shouldn't it be:

    (My) Beloved Son William
    William, Beloved Son (you can express the break with a comma or slash or extra space, a line break or whatever)

    but it was left in this awkward semi-sentence phrase that sounds weird in English. And so it's no surprise that mis-translated with all the words stuck together ends up forming the one sentence "William loves to rest".