Tattoo Translation

Want to know what your Chinese or Japanese tattoo says? Need info about Chinese Character / Japanese Kanji tattoos? See also: Asian Tattoo Template Service
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qaash
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Joined: Nov 20, 2007 12:13 pm

Tattoo Translation

Post by qaash » Nov 20, 2007 12:15 pm

I recently got a tattoo and I have seen a few different translations depending on the characters that preceed/follow it. I was hoping you might be able to give me a translation of the character when it is by itself:

Thanks alot!
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sailor
Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 21, 2007 1:56 am

Re: Tattoo Translation

Post by sailor » Nov 21, 2007 2:42 am

I recently got a tattoo and I have seen a few different translations depending on the characters that preceed/follow it. I was hoping you might be able to give me a translation of the character when it is by itself:

Thanks alot!
this chinese word is pronounced as"jiao",the original meaning is teach or teacher, or religion,and the meaning can be extended as "the people has a good manner"

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Gary
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Joined: Oct 30, 2007 11:30 pm
Location: San Diego / Beijing

Post by Gary » Nov 21, 2007 4:38 am

I agree with "Sailor" this relates to teaching (often religion).

You can see a variety of Chinese calligraphy that incorporates this character here:
http://www.orientaloutpost.com/shufa.php?q=jiao4

By the way, this is pronounced/Romanized as "kyou" or "kyo" in Japanese and has the same meaning.

It is also a Korean Hanja character. It has the same meaning in Korean and is pronounced "?" and is Romanized as "gyo" under the new Romanization scheme in South Korea.

Chances are it was also used in Vietnamese before they decided to abandon Chinese characters and Romanize their whole language. But that's outside of my expertise.

I've only formally studied Japanese and Chinese, and picked up a little Korean when I was smuggling artwork across the border from North Korea last year.

Cheers,
-Gary.

qaash
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Joined: Nov 20, 2007 12:13 pm

Post by qaash » Nov 21, 2007 7:07 am

Thanks for the feedback guys

The original intent was for it to mean faith/religion so I am glad that it was not lost in translation

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Gary
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Location: San Diego / Beijing

Post by Gary » Nov 21, 2007 11:13 am

Most Chinese people would perceive you as simply saying "religion" with this character alone on your body.

Link: Here are a few faith examples in Chinese and Japanese

While perhaps your tattoo is not "on the mark" exactly, at least it does not have a bad meaning.

I've seen a lot of mistakes in my time, such as "Powerful Female Dragon" on a guy who thought it meant "Good and Powerful Dragon". I've also seen the character for tiger accidentally tattooed backwards (a mirror image) rendering it meaningless, and embarrassing.

A lesson for anyone reading this post:
Do not, under any circumstances, trust the books or flashers in a tattoo parlor that depict and describe any Asian characters!

In fact, I think you should always get a second opinion, and always get that opinion from a native Asian.

Disclaimer: I am a white guy, who is giving you advice, but telling you to only get advice from a CJK native.

My excuse: All of my tattoo image services are review by a professional Chinese translator from Beijing before the customer ever sees them. And, I have spent almost a decade living in various Asian households.
In fact, I have more than 40 entries on my passport to various Asian countries (mostly China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong - oh, and once to Far East Russia which is technically in Asia). Some of those stays were several months long, and one was 13 months straight in China (I got in trouble for that, as white people have to leave China once every 12 months - it's the law).
My Chinese friends say that I am "yellow on the inside, and white on the outside", like an inside-out banana.

Cheers,
-Gary.

Link: Professional Chinese (and Japanese) tattoo advice and image services available here

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