Lost in Translation

For some unknown reason, it is deemed cool by many to get a word that means something to them in English tattooed in the characters of an Asian language. Visit any tattoo parlor or online tattoo image gallery and you’ll see many Asian character options. The blog, Hanzi Smatter, invites people to submit images of tattoos written in (what they think is) one of these languages to find out what they actually represent. As it turns out, tattoos often do not mean what their bearers think they mean, and the results can be pretty funny if more than a bit sad. 

The tattoo above was thought to mean Beautiful. Its actual meaning: Calamity, Disaster, Catastrophe. We often don’t have what we think or hope we have — as with many a retirement of financial “plan.”

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