Thoughtful Advice For Beijing Olympic Volunteers

Beijing must have felt a distinct lull in bad Chinese translation jokes and chose to step forward and help the world in some kind of reverse humanitarian aid situation. (Ira Newble, you feel me? You do.) Therefore, we get a stock apology today from Beijing Olympics organizers for the way The Manual for Beijing Olympic Volunteers came out.

Chinese translations

This manual may have had kind intentions in the planning stages, but it came out the other side of the creation process as a patronizing pat on the head to blind, deaf, and physically different people. How so?

“The optically disabled are introverted. They have deep and implicit feelings and seldom show strong emotions.

The physically disabled… might have unusual personalities because of disfigurement and disability.”

Of course, the manual tries its darnedest to show sensitivity to those poor helpless introverted souls, asking volunteers to avoid calling the disabled “crippled” or “lame”. That’s thoughtful, see?

The Chinese blamed it on translation error (see? funny!), but the AP reports the Chinese-language version has the same sentiments. We’re not sure how this paragraph gets mangled in translation, anyway:

“For example, some physically disabled are isolated, unsocial and introspective; they usually do not volunteer to contact people. They can be stubborn and controlling; they may be sensitive and struggle with trust issues.”

We’re not sure what the limit is on Bill Belichick jokes in a single day, so we’re marking this one “catch-and-release”.