May 232012

Wo bu ming bai zhongwen. Guoren pengyou fanyi ge wo de.

According to my friend and guildmate Stanley, it means “I do not speak Chinese.” It also means “I had a friend type this for me” because (again according to Stanley) telling someone that you do not speak Chinese using Chinese is an invitation: now they will speak even more Chinese to you to see what you do understand.

I understand none. Zero. Nada.

Normally this is not an issue. I live in rural North Carolina. I am far more likely to encounter someone I cannot understand speaking Boomhauer* than anyone speaking Mandarin. Or typing Pinyin.

* And believe me, deep South Boomhauer is as undecipherable as Klingon. I just nod and smile and hope whoever it is I am speaking to did not ask me a question …

Except, sometime back in 2008, the DDO China servers closed down and all of the Chinese players had to find their own way to the US servers. Most of them chose Sarlona. It was a huge boost to the population, but better, it turned us into a truly 24-hour server.

I wake up and there are Chinese players doing prime-time raids. By the time the Chinese gradually log off, European and then US gamers are putting up LFMs. There is no real down time on Sarlona.

There have been the occasional style clashes. And many more communication errors. Sometimes you have the Chinese guy running off and solving/killing/messing up/winning all by him/herself while the rest of the team yells at him/her fruitlessly over voice chat. Other times it is the English-speaking fly in a Chinese soup. Sometimes the communication errors are not accidental at all.

I spend a lot of time in the morning as the silent foreigner in a series of Chinese adventures. It works out, I know the quests, and generally know what to do without being asked. I hang back and play conservatively – if someone wants me to kite/tank/whatever they have to ask – but otherwise I just plug on, buff everyone, and try to help without getting in the way. I can’t count the ToDs I’ve run without speaking or typing a word.

I can save Xendrik
without even using words
silent but deadly

On the off chance someone does address me, I am ready: “Wo bu ming bai zhongwen. Guoren pengyou fanyi ge wo de“.

I hope Stanley was honest with me and that doesn’t really mean something like “you momma so fat when she sits around the table, she really sits around the table”. No one has broken into a ragestorm tirade yet so there’s that anyway …

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  10 Responses to “I do not speak Chinese: Playing on a multi-lingual server”

Comments (10)
  1. When my French class took a ski trip to Quebec once, my teacher made sure all of us were well versed in at LEAST “Parlez-vous Anglais?” (Ideally, we could all converse in French. Realistically, we pretty much had a crib sheet for the important questions, such as “Where’s the bathroom?”)

    Which struck me as utterly absurd because if they speak English, then you can ASK in English… and if they don’t, it hardly matters.

  2. This really makes my curious nose itch πŸ˜‰
    i happen to contact chinese people for my work and i’ll ask them if they recognize something in that line.
    Will let you know if i get an aswer.

  3. Its rare that I actually ‘Laugh out Loud’

    “I am far more likely to encounter someone I cannot understand speaking Boomhauer”

    And a joy when I actually do. πŸ™‚

  4. “I can save Xendrik
    without even using words
    silent but deadly”
    Haha. That made laugh. Yeah, I dont speak any other languages. Or at least none that matter anyway. Chinese is confusing. They speak it so fast!

  5. From Google Translate*, I got:

    “I do not understand Chinese. Extraordinary friend translated.”

    *Had type check “allow phonetic typing, then actually type it in – cut and paste did not work. Then had to choose one of several possible Chinese characters, but was able to come up with the above using only the first or second character.

  6. On a side note I had to follow your Boomhauer link. Made me laugh too. That was one of my favorite shows and he was definetly my favorite character in it.

  7. I (wo) do not (bu) understand (ming bai) Mandarin (zhongwen). Chinese (guoren) friend (pengyou) translated (fanyi) for me (ge wo de).


  8. πŸ™‚ I’m one of those ppl who get annoyed when ppl in the pug write in “not English” in the chat. I’ve had that a few times. But, I was very proud of myself one time when I recognized Portuguese πŸ™‚ It looks a bit like Spanish, ‘cept I don’t understand any of it (‘cept a few words maybe). I also get annoyed when ppl don’t seem to understand English. I will not complain if non-English speakers have their own guilds and run e.g. all Spanish raids, but when you pug on an English server, I don’t think knowing at least basic English is too much to ask?

  9. Thanks for the translations! Although I kind of secretly wish it really had been a Yo Momma joke because that would have been really funny πŸ™‚

  10. Oh and @Micki – on a multi-lingual server like Sarlona, in a world-wide game like DDO, yes it is too much to ask. IMHO anyway.

What do you think?

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