How to make a cup of tea in China


Travelling around non-English speaking countries in Asia inevitably unearths its fair share of amusing translations – whether they be emblazoned on road signs, dotted about menus or waxing lyrically across biscuit packets. Typos are one thing – we all make enough of them, and I’m sure there’s plenty of grammatical blunders on this site. But once in a while, a real linguistic gem pops up, making you wonder why companies don’t just send the copy to a native speaker, to cast a quick eye over it before it goes to press…

Today, it was the instructions on how to prepare a cup of tea, written on a tin of tea leaves in our hotel room.

It began:

Taste of Imbibe Ways and Means.

Then went on, in a timeless way to describe the simple act of adding hot water to a cup of tea:

Take Tea Leaf 3-4g, plunge into grail. Seething water thrust forth into 2-3 minutes.

Brilliant. The Chinese use the same leaves for several cups of tea, adding hot water, to help reduce the bitterness. So finally, it explained with a little less clarity:

Apropos of imbibe, commonly repetition capable of sab-3 imbibe.

What the? Anyway, it made us chuckle.


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