October 18, 2008

Joe the plumber in Chinese

In the news right now is "Joe the plumber." In Chinese culture, a plumber is usually an electrician too, so the Chinese name for a plumber is literally a "water-electricity worker." The newspaper I was reading used this same title for Joe the plumber, despite the fact that "plumber" in English does not imply any electrician duties. So, I decided to check the frequency of some of the translations of "Joe the plumber" into Chinese, all using the strange but traditional transliteration of Joe as "Qiao".

Here are the search results from Google:
27,700 results for "水管工喬" (shuiguangong Qiao)
1,700 results for "水管工人喬" (shuiguan gongren Qiao)
938 results for "水電工喬" (shuidiangong Qiao)
59 results for "水暖工喬" (shuinuangong gong Qiao)

So, the top two translations of "plumber" are literal translations of plumber: "water-pipe worker" (shuiguangong and shuiguan gongren).

The third most popular translation is the more common Chinese word for plumber, "water-electricity worker" (shuidiangong).

The forth most popular translation, with 59 results, is "shuinuangong". This is literally a "water-heat worker."



  • Interesting...
    See my post at

    By Anonymous 金伯恩, at November 03, 2008 7:03 AM  

  • Very funny post. :) Chinese is an interesting language.

    Side note: Notice that Americans are basically called Joe (if you don't know their name).

    By Blogger 宝茹, at November 23, 2008 3:30 PM  

  • I started my Plumbing career at 17 in the Navy working on the monster super heated boilers and decided this was the career I wanted .. That was in 1965 and I still am learning everyday something new and still look forward to actually working with my hands.

    By Blogger Netai Biswas, at June 18, 2013 1:57 PM  

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