We followed the bird shit – Learn English with this Taiwanese kid’s magazine

Here’s something I wasn’t expecting when one of my Taiwanese students ran over earlier this week, eager to show me the magazine that her parents had bought her to learn English (Issue 252 of Top 925 magazine). I had a flick through and was immediately drawn to the page below.

Follow the bird shit

In this Taiwanese re-working of Hansel and Gretel, rather than become lost in the woods, the children find their way home by “follow the bird shit“. Whoever wrote this shouldn’t be working for a children’s publication and neither should the editor who not only let the swear word slip through, but also didn’t correct the tense of “follow”. There was also an accompanying CD with audio of the stories, but unfortunately I didn’t have an opportunity to listen.

For the record the Mandarin translation for that sentence was:

gēnzhe xiǎoniǎo de dàbiàn huílái de a

  • Haha, that’s great!

  • Haggis McBaozi

    Brilliant!!!! ^_^ 哈哈哈
    You are right, there are far too many ‘cowboy translators/ editors / ‘english’ teachers’ out there.

  • Harun

    I think the problem is with the story itself, which is not the translator’s fault exactly.

    They could have used the word poop though. I am guessing the translator was not a native speaker, because that kind of “kiddy” word for shit may not be learned by adults who learn English later in life.