12 City Names in Chinese 😂 The Funniest Literal Translations

City Names in Chinese 😅 Funny Chinese Translations

Ready for some hilarious city names in Chinese direct translations?

Chinese to English translations sometimes make little to no sense! Although Chinese is an incredibly logical language to learn we can’t help but enjoy some of the city names in Chinese when translated literally!

Below we look at 12 different city names in Chinese, and what they literally mean when translated character by character.

City Names in Chinese – London

City Names in Chinese – Dublin

City Names in Chinese – Baton Rouge

City Names in Chinese – Kazan

City Names in Chinese – Athens

City Names in Chinese – Bangui

City Names in Chinese – Goa

City Names in Chinese – Seattle

City Names in Chinese – Fez

City Names in Chinese – Nassau

City Names in Chinese – San Marino

City Names in Chinese – Yerevan

Before we start, check these place names out in Chinese…

London – 伦敦 lún dūn – Logical Grain Storage.

London, the famous capital of the UK is a large city, so it is only logical that it should have some sort of grain storage.

Dublin – 都柏林 dū bó lín – Entirely Fathers Forest

The capital of Ireland isn’t known for it’s forests, maybe father is keeping it a secret?

Funny Chinese Translations - No sign of any forests in Dublin
Funny Chinese Translations – No sign of any forests in Dublin

Baton Rouge – 巴吞鲁日 – bā tūn lǔ rì – Wish to Swallow Stupid Sun

The state capital of Louisiana in the US, what can you say, it gets hot there and swallowing the sun is as good a solution as any.

Kazan – 喀山- kā shān – Vomiting Mountain

We have to be fair to the Russian city of Kazan.

After all it is the capital and largest city in Tatarstan, 喀 kā doesn’t actually mean to vomit, but it is rather the sound of vomiting.

Athens – 雅典 – yǎdiǎn – Elegant Law

Spot on

94 Countries in Chinese 🌏 What Are Their Literal Translations? Thumbnail

94 Countries in Chinese 🌏 What Are Their Literal Translations?

Discover how to say 94 country names in Chinese and what the literal translations are. There are some funny ones!

Bangui – 班吉 – bān jí – Team Lucky

In a previous article on country names in Chinese, we found out that African countries often got… unfortunate translations.

Not so much for Bangui in Central African Republic which is considered team lucky by the Chinese!

Bangui translates to Team Lucky. We can see why

Goa – 果阿 – guǒ ā – Fruit Ah!

Yes, we know, Goa is a state in India, and not a city, but there is still something charming about a tropical paradise being named after someone shouting FRUIT!

Seattle – 西雅图 – xīyǎtú – Western Elegant Picture

No wonder so many Chinese people go to Seattle, it is after all, the very image of Western Elegance.

Fes – 菲斯 – fēi sī – Not This

If not this city in Morocco, then what?

Nassau – 拿骚 – ná sāo – Hold a Giant Rope

Not a bad name for the capital of the Bahamas, which used to be a stronghold for pirates back in the day.

San Marino – 圣马力诺 – Shèng mǎ lì nuò – Holy Horse Power Promise

This micro state is only a few hours away from Italy’s famous fast and expensive car manufacturers, horse power promise indeed.

Funny Chinese Translations : Yerevan - Dirt Village Warm? We don't think so
Funny Chinese Translations : Yerevan – Dirt Village Warm? We don’t think so

Yerevan – 埃里温 – āi lǐ wēn – Dirt Village Warm

This is very unfair towards the Armenian capital, which is not dusty, nor a village.

It can get warm though!

Let’s take our studying further, with the names of buildings in Chinese!

That’s our list of 12, think you can better any of these with your own?

If you enjoyed this then we think you’ll also love to discover our guide to the country names in Japanese too! Japanese is another fascinating language that actually has many ties to Mandarin… you’d be surprised

Comment below and let us know what your funniest literal City translation is.

Now you’ve cracked some of the cities in Chinese, how about the countries next?

City Names in Chinese – FAQ’s

What is Beijing in Chinese characters?


What is Shanghai in Chinese characters?


What is London in Chinese characters?


What is New York in Chinese characters?


What is Rome in Chinese characters?


What is Paris in Chinese characters?


What is Berlin in Chinese characters?


What is Hong Kong in Chinese characters?


What is Taipei in Chinese characters?


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  1. Jacky

    都柏林 means Capital of Cypress Woods

    1. Max Hobbs

      Yes indeed, we’ve gone with the direct literal translation of each character here though Jacky 🙂