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July 8, 2008

Filed under: culture»asia»china»mandarin

Adventures in Translation: Snapple Edition

Snapple, beverage company known for its Real Facts That Aren't, has launched a new line of green tea, which touts its health benefits on the label, including the following sentences:

It's loaded with a natural antioxidant and boosts your metabolism. Scientists call it EGCG, tea farmers call it 茶, you'll just call it another reason to pop open a bottle of Snapple Green Tea.
Really? Farmers call it 茶? Sounds exotic--those wise Chinese tea farmers and their traditional knowledge of antioxidants. Wonder what that translates to?

As it turns out, that's just the character for "tea" (pronounced "cha" with a rising intonation).

Personally, I'm torn. "Scientists call it EGCG, tea farmers call it 'tea'" is most likely a mistake in the marketing department akin to bad hanzi tattoos (or, I don't know, a set of bottle caps spreading false trivia). But there's also a chance that it's a sly joke at the label's own inflated antioxidant pitch, in which case I applaud their self-awareness.

Either way, sadly, the tea itself is pretty awful.

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