We've been in China now about 10 months, and I've been studying Mandarin for about 7 of those. Here's a check-in
Remember this sign? It's for the foot massage place that is a 30 second elevator ride from our front door. Here was my assessment last March after about a month of study:
"Let me translate the top row of characters of the sign for you - "something, ren, lin, zhong, something something something zu something". Another step, again, character by character - "something, people, forest, middle(i think), something something something foot something"
Now, in November, starting with the dark green sign on the top, character by character:
still don't know, ren, lin, zhong, yi, know it but forgot it, jian, zu, liao something, people, forest, chinese, medicine, still haven't remembered it, health, foot, therapy/cure
And finally in full-on English, we're starting to get somewhere: Something, people, forest - My live-in Chinese translator says this is a name, so it will never make sense. Continuing on: Chinese medicine health foot treatment
Bottom green sign: (Oh feeling pretty good about this one.) 1st line: Zhong, yi, jian, fei, bu,forgot, don't know mian, fei, ti, yan, yi (easy), ci Chinese, medicine, lose, fat, not, don't know, don't know exempt, cost, experience for oneself, one, time
You can probably guess the English (I'm guessing a little bit myself here and looked up a word): Chinese medicine weight loss does not come back. Try it free once.
2nd line: er, shi, si, xiao, shi, nei, jian, don't know wu, don't know, tui, haven't learned it yet 2, 10, 4 (24), xiao shi is hour, within, see, don't know No, give back And finally, the translated English: Within 24 hours, see results. No results, money back.
And to the right of the door: mei (duh - it's part of my name, and the word for America), jia beautiful, add (although translator has clarified that this is actually an abbreviation for fingernails). So we have "Beautiful Nails 25"
So my translation isn't quite right (or the sign is wrong) because I think it says try the weight loss treatment once for free and if it doesn't work within 24 hours, get your money back. But that doesn't make sense and I have too much pride to ask my personal translator for clarification right now so I'll just have to keep studying.
In the end - It's a little rough but essentially we not only have a foot massage place next door, but they guarantee their miracle weight loss treatment. And I can get my nails done for under $4. The things one learns when one learns to read.