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Old 05-16-2006, 09:22 AM   #1
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Default About Tattoos - This is pretty funny

A friend sent me this article. I have to admit that I got a chuckle. I would die if I accidentally got a tattoo that said "gullible white girl" LOL

Please Remove My Nonsensical Asian Tattoo

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,194732,00.html??2

She thought it said "blood and guts," but it really said "blood and intestines." He thought it said "rock 'n' roll," but it really said "to sway and to roll."

The touchy-feely, quasi-spiritual trend of getting Asian-language tattoos became popular in the 1990s. For many youngsters, or for people who wanted to feel young, a tat with the characters for “peace” and “truth” seemed just the thing.

But now that the fad-following hipsters of a decade and a half ago have graduated to jobs and families, they are going to tattoo-removal specialists in droves, trying to erase an embarrassing reminder of the mistake they made one drunken night so many years ago: They were permanently inked with an Asian-language word that didn’t say quite what they thought it did.

"It seems to be a current in the tattoo studios ... where it gets passed on and passed on, and the translations get more obscure until you’re not even putting on your skin what you thought you were,” said James Morel, CEO of Dr. TATTOFF in Beverly Hills, Calif., which is seeing a flood of people asking for their Asian tattoos to be removed because of mistranslations.

New York City jewelry designer Jane Ko, 30, who is Chinese-American, has been approached countless times by sheepish and somewhat befuddled strangers and acquaintances who have asked her to translate tattoos that they once thought were Chinese characters for attractive concepts like “power” and “love” but now suspect might actually say “General Tso’s Chicken special” or “gullible white boy."

“I’ve seen some pretty funny Chinese characters that they offer on tattoo-parlor walls,” she said.

Other ridiculous tattoo translations Ko has seen include "blood and guts," mutated into "blood and intestines" in Chinese, and "rock 'n' roll" corrupted as "to sway and to roll."

"That would be translating it literally, but nobody would actually use those characters to say 'rock 'n' roll' in Chinese," she said. "In Chinese people would ask, 'Why would you 'get the rolls?'"

Maria Robinson, a video game designer in Oakland, Calif., who was born in China, has often seen people with badly written tattoos that were supposed to be Chinese. In one case, the Chinese text was actually upside-down.

For the non-tattooed, at least, the results can be worth a good laugh. Ko recalled one instance in which a man approached her with a tattoo on his forearm that he had always taken to be the Chinese character for “spirit.”

“I was like, ‘Why did he have that tattoo?’” she said. “It really said ‘gas’” (Ko assured the man that it was close enough).

For the most part, the artwork errors seemed to be honest mistakes. A shaky or inexperienced hand could alter or obliterate a delicate rendering; some turns of phrase are simply untranslatable, and their literal translations laughable; and the complex dialectical shades involved in any language, but especially Chinese, mean that a character that seems profound in
Mandarin could mean something ridiculous in Cantonese.

Sometimes an Asian character will be well-rendered but upside-down or reversed as if in a mirror. And often it appears as if whoever recommends a tattoo has a less-than-firm grasp on the basics of Asian grammar, applying English-language rules to an alien tongue — sticking the word for “power” to the left of the word for “love,” for example, is nonsense, not “powerful love,” in Chinese, which requires a complete sentence of at least five characters to convey that idea.

It’s the rare tattoo artist who’s conversant with all the vagaries of Asian languages, and the Asian characters seen on tattoo-parlor walls are often pre-made renderings — or “flash” — purchased en masse at conventions or from other studios, meaning there’s no guarantee of orthodoxy or meaning.

“The tattoo studios will put it up as flash art, and those characters they thought were the characters for “power” or “self-strength” or “self-expression,” the ones they wanted to get, you can see that’s not the correct translation,” Morel said.

Not that it seems to matter at first to many of those who come into tattoo studios, according to Mike Bakaty, owner of Fineline Tattoo, the oldest continuously running tattoo parlor in Manhattan, which has seen the Asian-tattoo craze peak in the past decade.

He makes a point of warning those asking for Asian tattoos to get their would-be tattoo triple-checked by people fluent in reading and writing the language.

“We got a Chinese guy at a convention in Canada who sold us a bunch of sheets,” he said. “But even the slightest change in tone or of the stilts in the characters can change the meaning. I always say, ‘I know I look Chinese, but I can’t write Chinese and I can’t speak Chinese — and I don’t actually look Chinese, either.’ I think they like it more for the look, anyway.”

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."
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:25 AM   #2
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I've wondered about those before, thinking How do they know what they are getting,, for sure, Or they think they know, and then find out,,

PS~ Love the " tramp stamp" lol bf's ex-wife has one.. hmmmm
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:07 PM   #3
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"tramp stamp" I never heard that, but it's hilarious!
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Old 07-20-2006, 01:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheryl000
"tramp stamp" I never heard that, but it's hilarious!
i have to admit that is funny too...although i have one on my lower back that i got put on for my husband when he was in iraq b/c he missed our 6th wedding anniversary. he likes dragons and i like dragronflies so i designed one that is a compilation of both and had his initial put between the wings...i had them do it in our wedding colors-purple and green.
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Old 07-20-2006, 05:16 AM   #5
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I've always heard it called a "coaster tat" like beer coaster. Let your mind wander where it will.
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Old 07-20-2006, 05:20 AM   #6
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i have 2 tat i hate them would love to have them removed! young & dumb but at least they don't say something i don't understand or misinterpreted! too funny!
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:26 AM   #7
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I actually have 2 tattoos in Japanese characters, one means "mother" I got it after my last child was born, I plan to add to it later incorporating my children's names but haven't decided on the design yet. But there are many symbols for the different meanings of mother, they can mean his mother, your mother, her mother, etc. You really have to do your homework and make sure you're getting the right translation-

The other one of mine, I designed for my sister and me, we have the same tattoo design on the same place on our bodies, but her japanese characters in the design translate to little (younger) sister, and mine translate to big(elder)sister. You better believe I had those symbols triple checked before I got them!! I love my tattoos, though, and didn't get them until I was a little older- plus they have significant meaning, so they are really special to me...

that article was funny! and also too true! I actually knew a guy in the Marines once who got a little drunk and had the Marines' symbol tattooed on his arm. Trouble is, the tattoo artist wasn't experienced, and put the template on his arm completely backwards! The only way it looked right was in the mirror- I had a good laugh over that one!
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:29 AM   #8
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Thank god I have butterflies tattooed on my lower back, and on my ankle!
Mine also has meaning too!
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Old 07-20-2006, 12:14 PM   #9
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haha i was one of the cool kids that got the asian tat...mine means "luck" . that was dumb. i'm thinking about getting a cover up just don't know what yet....
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:41 PM   #10
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That is funny. I have always thought those scenarios could happen with the asian symbols. Im glad I just got a butterfly "tramp stamp" My next tattoo is going to be a sea turtle (see pic below).
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:51 PM   #11
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My twin daughters, each have the Asian symbol for twin, on their lower backs. Ha I wonder what they really say. LOL
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