Now That’s Political Name Calling

The Justice Department has asked Boston election officials to translate candidates’ names into Chinese characters for ballots in precincts that have a large Chinese population. Since a name generally can’t be translated, they have to find characters that closely match the sound of each syllable. So while it might sound right, it could mean something very different. Depending on the characters used, Mitt Romney can be “Sticky Rice” or “Uncooked Rice.” Fred Thompson is “Virtue Soup.” And Barack Obama becomes “Oh Bus Horse.” Best is Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s name, which can be read as “Sun Moon Rainbow Farmer”, “Imbecile”, or “Barbarian Mud No Mind of His Own.” How confusing. Aren’t those last two the same name most politicians already have?

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