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Guess what? Your fancy Chinese character tattoo doesn’t say what you think it says.

Essential KanjiSome would say that if you’re one of those people who feel the need to have a tattoo on your arm, neck, lower back, calf, or other seen (or unseen) body part that is not in your native language, then you deserve what you get.

You might have asked for your initials to be displayed in Kanji, but you may end up with something entirely different and not necessarily something that you would like to have.

HANZI SMATTER is a blog dedicated to pointing out the misuse and abuse of Chinese characters in western culture.

Yes, we’re talking mainly about those really bad tattoos, but also misuses on all sorts of products or in the media.   What else could explain the Chinese characters saying “I’m a Pervert” on this toddler’s adorable t-shirt?

So as a helpful service, Web Watch would like to point to Hanzi Smatter’s handy English-to-Chinese Gibberish Translating Guides.  You know what you want to say in English – so just point out the characters on these charts to your favorite tattoo artist, and they’ll do the rest.  At least you’ll know if they’re inking what they say they’re inking.