12 December 2008

Max Planck Research -- An Advertisement for Sex

This is too funny not to be true!

You would think that an eminent scientific journal when using a language or script other than their standard would go to particular lengths to ensure that the language they were using could not be misconstrued as being controversial or plain silly. The Max Planck Research Journal has been caught out with its most recent cover advertising a Hong Kong strip joint that offers the services of hot, young housewives.

The calligraphy or text had apparently been looked at by a Sinologist before publication was approved. If this is the case then the Sinologist employed needs to do some refresher courses in the language or look for a different job.

Nevertheless, the Journal is suggesting that the Chinese characters used were non-controversial, at least to the non-native speaker, despite being open to some interpretation. In any event, if you are trying to establish yourself in China with a focus issue of your journal on China, then this is probably not the way to go. However, the cover has been replaced and an apology issued. In essence, the cover says something to the effect of:

"With high salary, we have sincerely employed [lots of strippers/girls] to stay in our daytime show. Jiamei as the director, she will personally lead young girls who are as pretty as jade. [We have] beauties from the north who appear in all their glory with thousands of deportments. [We have] young housewives who have hot body that will stir up your [sexual] fire. They are sexy, horny and enchanting. The performance will begin in few days!"

At least according to a blog entry on the University of Pennsylvania's Language Log.

May this be a lesson to all and sundry regarding the editorial process. The picture is of the before and after covers.


Anonymous said...


I can't stop laughing! I wish I could read Chinese characters to read the prints myself :)

I was at Max Planck institute to learn some boring stuff early this year and couldn't help laughing imagining at those baldy professors advertising hookers :D

Rob Baiton said...

The Writer...

It is pretty funny for a reputable journal to not have taken enough care in checking something like this out before publishing.

Perhaps those baldy professrs are a little more bawdy than baldy and not as nerdy as one imagines :D

Any moves on the horizon for you?

tere616 said...

LOL, it's a good advertising though. At least people will curious and who knows there will be a long queu at the Max Plank Institute.

therry said...

This post reminds me of the time when Chinese characters on t-shirts are 'in' in Oz. Not many of the t-shirt designers check the meaning of those Chinese words as well that some of my friends who understood them giggled strangely when they read something funny on someone's chest or back.

Apparently they just made up whatever in Chinese that looked cool and yet sounded anything but.

rima fauzi said...

Lol.. I also remember an incident where somebody had a tattoo of chinese characters he thought meant peace, love and understanding but in fact it meant something like pork in red bean sauce or something off a menu of a chinese restaurant..!!!

Rob Baiton said...


Perhaps any kind of advertising is good advertising? Although, I think that this is better advertising for the strip club than it is the Max Planck Journal.

Therry and Rima...

Whenever I see something in a foreign language that I do not read I wonder what it really says.

Anyways, I have a tattoo on my forearm of three simple Mandarin characters / words. They are in a line down my forearm and there is a tendency for speakers of Chinese to read them as they would any other piece of writing.

The three words are dog (my Chinese zodiac), immortal, and peace. These are three things about me. I am a dog, I want to make my mark on the world and hence the immortality, and I much prefer peace to conflict.

However, that said the comments, giggles, and pointing generally are about trying to work out why an immortal dog is at peace :D

Then again, maybe my Chinese friends and people I have asked have been lying to me and the tattoo really says "Man Whore, Cheap!"