Please translate these chinese characters for me
April 11, 2013 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Please translate these chinese characters for me. We got this cute clothes as a gift for our firstborn daughter, with a pair of chinese characters on them. What do they say?
posted by jgwong to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's Japanese. The characters are 侍愛, which are the characters for "samurai" and "love". They don't really make sense together like this. I cannot find this term in my Japanese or Chinese dictionaries either as 侍愛 or 愛侍.
posted by Tanizaki at 4:16 PM on April 11, 2013

Best answer: They're (nominally) Japanese "kanji":

侍 = samurai
愛 = ai (love)

This is not a Japanese word (you can't just mash together two unrelated characters, although I suppose people do it all the time when they name their children).

Even though 侍 is typically a suffix (ie, it doesn't normally form the first part of a two-part word) I guess you could use the the reading "JI", which is prefix (used in words like "chamberlain", "court physician" etc - samurai technically means "retainer") and "AI" (the native reading of 愛 is "itoshii", but it doesn't work well in a name) and create a new name called "JIAI".

JIAI, using a different character for JI, actually means to "take care of oneself", so I suppose it could sorta be a name, except you have Samurai in there, which is a male thing (and I don't think it's a naming Kanji, although people name their kids surprisingly stupidly these days in Japan, just like anywhere else) and AI is a girl thing (AI is not uncommon in girls' names).

So, JIAI. But it's a totally stupid and unlikely kanji combination (but, then again, parents these days), and I'm guessing was created by someone with no knowledge of Japanese. It reminds me of the names of Chinese-owned sushi restaurants in Vancouver (a new one in my neighbourhood is called "Itami Sushi". Itamu = rotten (food) in Japanese.

Interesting, JI with a slightly similar kanki (the radical is different) --> 痔 means hemorrhoid .
posted by KokuRyu at 4:30 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

These characters mean "serve/wait upon" and "love" in Chinese, but don't really mean anything together that I understand.
posted by skewed at 4:37 PM on April 11, 2013

Response by poster: Bummer, I feel disappointed.

Thank you, mefites!
posted by jgwong at 5:00 PM on April 11, 2013

I think it may actually be a misprint. If it were 特愛 (the first character has a different radical) then it would mean "special love".
posted by mukade at 5:01 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Asked my Taiwanese mom and she said another misprint option for the first character could be 傳 (traditional) / 传 (simplified), which means 'to spread' in Chinese. So '侍愛' is only a wiggle away from "spread love", which is pretty nice!
posted by brieche at 5:06 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

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