This photo series explores the way language effects the way we perceive daily life. Translating words into different language comes with many challenges. The biggest two being the way the words are written and the culture that is perceiving them. There are endless words in Mandarin, Chinese, that have multiple meanings and connotations depending on the context. This makes advertising and the perception of foreign products very difficult. Culturally China has many superstitions that influence their language greatly. Chinese “Puns” is an experiment on the relationship between literal and figurative meaning when translating from English to Chinese.
There are multiple words in Chinese that have vastly different meanings depending on the context. The word Mian holds numerous meanings. One being noodle and another meaning face. These photos represent those multiple meanings.
手机 Cell Phone (Machine Hand)
Chinese characters can be referred to as puzzle pieces and building blocks. For example cellphone in Chinese, shou ji 手机, directly translates to hand machine. Shou means hand and Ji means machine. These photos are a play on the literal meaning.
There are many times when translating English words to Chinese they assign characters that sound like the English word but the meaning doesn’t make sense in Chinese. In china people say “qie zi” instead of “say cheese” because it sounds similar to the English way. Qie Zi means eggplant.