Chinese Euphemisms and other English-to-English translations

You look very mature = you look old
You are very strong = you look fat
Special deal just for you = I think you’re gullible, and I’m trying to rip you off
You look very handsome = See definition for “special deal just for you”
I think you have a very good speaking voice =you don’t have a good speaking voice
You’re my good friend = I’m surprised I still meet with you
I appreciate how hard you try = you’re a slow learner
My buddy = you’re no one special
Thank you for telling me = you’re a pain in the ass


Now is not convenient = shut up, turn around, and walk out the door

While not exactly the same, a Korean woman once told me in English “You are very good looking.” While she wasn’t particularly attractive, I appreciated the ego stroking nonetheless. Turns out though what she meant was “You look like a good person.” Also a nice thing to say, I suppose, but a different meaning altogether.

Deleted…not euphemism…

My auntie has come. = I’m on the rag.

little friend = little brat
Your Chinese is very standard! = The barbarian is mangling our language!
Did you “that that” with him? = Did you have sex with him?
A love action flick = a porno
to console yourself/beat the airplane/beat the handgun = to masturbate
do the splits = cheat on your SO

You’re really good with chopsticks = clumsy waiguoren! You eat like drunken baboon.

This is a local delicacy = this has the consistency of snot

Welcome to Taiwan = Please spend money here and entertain our curiosity but leave soon.

I think you really need a hug. Contact me when I’m back in the country in two weeks.

“You’re fired!” = Someone made some vague, unfounded complaint about you without having the guts to talk to you about it, then we held a big executive-level meeting about what to do about the situation without informing you about it or giving you the chance to present your side of the story, and we reached the conclusion that the waiguoren must be let go.

“I’ll bring it up the next time I meet with my superiors.” = “I won’t bring it up if ever I meet with my superiors.”
“The staff is just going to have to learn to be flexible.” = “I’m powerless to do anything about the situation which is affecting the staff.”
“That’s just our policy.” = “Don’t like it? Go fuck yourself.”

It’s so big = you’re average

(After you agree to take on a project) “We’re still making some revisions” = “We’ve decided to give it to some incompetent hack willing to do it for less”

Courtesy of HH:

I can’t wait to see you again! = You smell and my wife hates you!

“I’ll do my best” = “I won’t do a damn thing”

“We understand and respect your position” = “ok… moving on”

I’ve got one …

“I love you!” = Let’s have long and happy relationship until a boy with rich parents shows interest in me, upon which I will betray you in a heartbeat and you’ll never hear from me or see me again, except maybe for a Line message once or twice a year.

That sucks. Sorry to hear.

“it’s only a 5-minute walk to the nearest MRT station” = “it’s literally 2-miles away and will take about 40-minutes unless you get a taxi”

“10 ping” = “maybe 8 ping if you’re lucky”