14 November 2019

Lost in translation or the real McCoy?

Who in heaven’s name is The Dragonslayer?

Hong Kong netizens are trying to pin him down after a Facebook post by a young Dutchman stirred a social media storm.

Headline Daily is reporting that it’s really a language conundrum with unintended consequences.

It seems that a certain Dutch national named Boyan Nijpels wanted a Chinese name when he applied for a Hong Kong ID and had asked his employer to come up with the appropriate Chinese characters.

When an excited Nijpels posted an image of his new Hong Kong ID complete with his Chinese name, netizens reacted to its English translation — Mclovin The Dragonslayer.

Dragonslayer is a 1981 movie about, well, a dragon slayer, and is also mentioned in a popular martial arts novel by the venerable Chinese author Jin Yong.  

Commenters began having fun with it, with some saying Nijpels might have been sent to Hong Kong to fight demons.

Others mocked his “nonsense” attempt at localization because half of the Chinese characters he used is meaningless.

In a subsequent post, Nijpels said he meant no such fuss about his name and all he wanted was something close to Mclovin The Dragon Slayer.

He did not say if he is fan of a certain sandwich, a certain movie, or a certain novel.

And although his name may be out of this world (his real name sounds like a combination of a young male and part of the human anatomy), he is of this realm.

Nijpels is 26 years old and has been working in a local food delivery service for nearly two years.

In case he has a change of heart, he can take a cue from barrister Albert Luk.

Luk said all Hong Kong residents can change their Chinese names if they want to, “as long as the new name is no more than six characters long and is consistent with the registration of persons regulations, have no political implications, does not contain foul language or insult”.

But if that sounds like a lot of work, Nijpels can pretend the internet frenzy over his name didn’t happen. 

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