Saturday, March 3, 2012

Say What?

The other night when I got to Handsome's house, he was all excited and needed to show me something on his computer. I sat down to take a look and saw a pair of walkie-talkies, the kind that are built to look like wrist watches.

"I want to get these for me and MM," he said, naming his best friend. "Are they any good? Will they reach his house from here? I've been trying to figure it out, and it's in English, but I still can't understand it."

So I sat there and looked at the specs list and all the technical data they had about the talkies, and they looked pretty good. They had more than enough range for him, I thought.

"But they're trying to get you to buy them," I told Handsome. "It's not like they're going to put out an advertisement pointing out that they're crap. I'd like to read some customer reviews or something."

"I was reading the other stuff, where they tell you about the walkie-talkies," he said, "but that's the part I couldn't understand."

So I looked at the product descriptions, where they told you, in plain English, all about the product you were looking at. Or, at least, they were supposed to.

I started laughing.

I laughed some more.

When I was done laughing, I explained to Handsome that it wasn't his fault he couldn't understand the descriptions. I couldn't understand them either.

"I think these were written in Chinese," I said. "Then they were translated into English. By someone who doesn't speak English."

Here are some examples of their 'description'. See if they make sense to you...

  • Civil Walkie Talkie refers to those Walkie Talkies that their transmit power is 0.5-1w, their power ranges are 400-480MHz.
    • Huh?
  •  Also this Walkie Talkie is usually a short communicating distance.
    • What?
  • The Civil Walkie Talkie is the wireless communicating equipment approved by the country and can be used without license. The Civil Walkie Talkie features a small volume, varied of colors and low price, is suitable for individual business trip, travel and hotel use
    • Okay, look, you lost me at 'The Civil Walkie Talkie is"!
Okay, obviously this is a company that doesn't pay a hell of a lot for translations. I kind of picture them making the guy from the mail room sit down with a Cantonese/English dictionary and whipping him into a frenzy!

Here are some other little gems I found while perusing this and other products available on their website:

  • It's normal that squeaking may be heard on the channel when two radios is several meters near or closer. 
  • If there is difference between required communication distance and practical distance, the communication can be realized through adjustment of radio RF power or squelch level.
  • Wii is an innovative system and part of the 7th generation of video game systems. Gaming always has the power to bring us so many unforgettable moments, which has become a part of life. At the moment, you have no refusal reasons for perfecting your Nintendo Wii system. The Wii Accessories is here for meeting your various needs, which includes Controllers, Batteries & Chargers, Memory, Adapters & Cables, Cases, and Accessory Kits. These nintendo wii accessories come with excellent operation performance that ensures great Wii playing motions. Get what you need to make your Wii games more enjoyable.
Is it any wonder Handsome was having trouble understanding just what those walkie-talkies could do? That passage above about the Wii gaming system threw me for a loop, and I'm an adult college graduate with a degree in English who has been working on sharpening my language skills for the past 18 months. Plus, we actually own a Wii!

I'd like to take this opportunity to offer my services as a copy editor to the company in question. Seriously people, how can someone buy anything from you when all they can do is laugh?


Talk to you later!


  1. So, are you buying the walkie talkies, or what?

  2. Oh, he will be getting SOME walkie talkies. Whether we're going to buy them from these odd Yoda-wannabes or somewhere else is yet to be determined.