As a beginning Chinese learner I would pass the time on the subway by looking at the Chinese name of each stop and translating it literally into English. 

I noticed immediately how strange and funny Chinese names sound when translated literally into English. For example, 桃园 (Tao Yuan) translates to 'Peach Farm'. 竹子林 (Zhu Zi Lin) translates to 'Bamboo Forest'. And 水湾 (Shui Wan) translates to 'Water Bowl'. 

Later, as I learned more about Chinese geography, I began to translate the names of Chinese cities and provinces into English. I also did the same as I learned the Chinese names for various countries. 

A few days ago, I found the below map while reading an article on The Atlantic. The translations of the provinces and bordering countries are both comedic and interesting. 

Chinese Translations Map.png

Image: The Atlantic


My favorite country translation is the one for North Korea (Morning Calm). Talk about irony! 

My favorite province translation is the one for Gansu (Sweet Reverance). 

What's your favorite translation? What are some interesting translations of Chinese names you have encountered? 

Comment below with your thoughts!