TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Western and Chinese netizens alike are getting quite a chuckle from a sign at a popular hotpot chain in China which appears to warn patrons to "not accept Taiwan."
On Monday (Jan. 28), a user of the Chinese social media site Weibo who goes by the handle XuYiMiao (许亿秒) posted a photo of a sign at the high-end Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao which read "Do not accept Taiwan." A look a the Chinese characters above reveals that the intended meaning was in fact "Please do not clean up the table" (请勿收台).
Many Chinese netizens discovered that entering the Chinese phrase into Baidu Translate yielded the strange translation. Not only did the Baidu Translate version fail to include the word "please" (请), it misinterpreted the context of the use of the word 收 to mean "accept."
Top top it off, Baidu Translate then made the leap of translating 台 to mean "Taiwan," rather than "table, tower, platform, stage, or stand." Chinese netizens even suspected the "political stance" of Haidilao and Baidu.
However, the image was soon scrubbed from Chinese social media by government censors. For Baidu's part, it quickly fixed the translation from simplified characters, but the botched translation in traditional Chinese characters remains.
Many Chinese netizens then mocked Baidu for its translation blunder:
"Baidu is a dog."
"Has Baidu recently been rectified?"
Others mocked the sign's awkward Chinese:
"Chinese from what country uses 'Please don't clean up the table?'"
"These words don't make sense at all."
In comparison, Google Translate made similar mistakes in not including "please" and misusing "accept," however, it used "station" instead of "Taiwan."
That same day, a user of the social media platfom Reddit shared the image with the title "Found this on Weibo." Western netizens then had fun deciphering the cryptic message:
"Probably based on news translations of China's MFA spokesmen not accepting some recent action by Taiwan."
"They are next on the CPP hit list for spreading separatist sentiment."
"A great example of Muphry's law."
"Hurting the Feelings of the Taiwanese People."
"Is the person putting this sign still alive?"
(Photo by Weibo user 许亿秒)