我是纹身师gogo - "老外"纹中文。为什么?What made tattoos in foreign languages a trend?

in tattoo •  last year

Before starting to talk about this question. Let me ask myself first.
Why am I in this trend too?

在开始讨论这个问题之前,我想先说说:
为什么我也为不属于自己母语的字符纹身所着迷?

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我的拉丁文纹身。Carpe Diem。我其实也可以纹 及时行乐 还是 活在当下。但是我的母语是中文,当我看见正体汉字的时候并不会有特别赏心悦目的感觉。

My Latin quote tattoo. Carpe Diem. In fact, I could also tattoo Chinese characters "及时行乐" or "活在当下", the meaning of which is very close to Carpe diem. But my mother tongue is Chinese, so when I look at normal Chinese characters, I don't really have that particular feeling of queer excitement.


gogo.tattoo/gogo/tattoo/life_journey

但是也许非汉语母语的朋友们看见汉字会觉得很酷。因为他们也许在意的只是汉字作为图案的意义,这样方方正正的象形文字充满了中国神秘的历史色彩。

I suppose non-native Chinese speakers find it cool to look at Chinese characters. Because they may not only care about the meanings of those characters, but also see them as patterns. These cool square hieroglyphics are filled with Chinese mysterious historical peculiarities. That is why this Italian girl chose to have Chinese characters in her tattoos, I assume.



gogo.tattoo/gogo/tattoo/bu_pa

像这位来自德国的客人,他找到我的修改纹身的时候,手臂上已经有了一个汉字“不”。
当时他告诉我,这个纹身是他在德国的时候得到的。当时他为了这个“不”字的形状而着迷,而并没有了解作为文字的意义。

他的纹身师说这个字是特立独行,独一无二的意思(也许是因为这个字的形状吧,像个带着斗笠穿着披风的人)。
而当携带了这个纹身两年的他来到中国,中国的朋友们告诉他,“不”只是意味着“No”,他都快要崩溃了。但是这个纹身跟随了他整整两年,他确实喜欢中国文化和这个字的形状,不想激光洗纹身,也不想覆盖掉这个字,便找到了我。

所以就有了这个“不怕”纹身。

通过这个实例,我可以猜想为什么这位非中文母语的客人会想要拥有汉字纹身。

Just like this client from Germany. When he found me for a tattoo, he already had a Chinese character tattooed on his arm: "不(No)".
He told me that this tattoo was made when he was in Germany. He was fascinated by the shape of the "不" and didn't understand the meaning of the word.
The tattoo artist told him that the word means "one of a kind"(perhaps, it is because the character looks like a man wearing bamboo hat, I don't know).
And when he came to China two years ago with the tattoo, his Chinese friends told him that "不" just means "No", nothing special at all.
He told me when he realized that he tattooed such a word, he was about to break down. But the tattoo was with him already for two years. And he is a Chinese culture lover; plus he is fascinated by the shape of "不". He didn't want to remove his tattoo, neither was he looking forward for a tattoo cover.

Now there's this "不怕(no fear)" tattoo.

Through this example, we can guess why a non Chinese native speaker would want to get Chinese characters tattooed.


gogo.tattoo/gogo/tattoo/chinese_letters

因为在他的眼里,汉字是漂亮的图案,就像那些扭曲的图腾和不知所云的装饰线条。
方方正正的汉字,不但象形,而且富有神秘悠远的历史。

至于他懂不懂汉字字面里藏着的深层含义,我觉得他不一定懂,但也不可能完全不懂,或者说也许他并没有必要去懂。

但是有些客人已经决定了想要纹一个内容,却偏偏放弃选择母语纹身的权利,而使用不熟悉的语言来翻译内容,并纹到身上。

Probably he sees Chinese characters as beautiful patterns, like those distorted totems and unintelligible decorative lines.
The Chinese characters are not only pictographic, but also mysterious and distant.
I don't know whether he knows the deep meaning hidden in the literal Chinese characters. Hmm.. I don't think he really understood at that time, but I can't say that he completely didn't understand, or maybe he doesn't need to understand cause for him they are just some patterns.
However, some clients have decided to tattoo text on them instead, but asked to tattoo it not in their mother tongue.


gogo.tattoo/gogo/tattoo/hater_antipode

那天这个意大利的女孩找到我,说想要一个可以体现爱哽咽在喉无法说出的感觉得纹身。
我首先提议纹一颗爱心在喉咙口,毕竟图形是最容易被辨识的。但她并不赞同,只想要文字。

首先,我们尝试了好一会儿意大利语,但是她说意大利语达不到她想要的感觉,所以既然我们身处中国,就试了一下中文字。

她一下子就爱上了这个设计,并决定就把中文繁体的“爱”纹在喉咙口了。

That day, the girl from Italy found me and wanted a tattoo that could reflect that "love choke in the throat".
I would like to commence by suggesting that a tattoo of a tiny heart on the throat could be it. Cause I thought graphics are the easiest to recognize after all. But she didn't agree with it, she hoped that could be in a human language.
First of all, we tried "L'Amore" for a while, but she said that Italian characters could not reach the feeling which she wanted.
Since we were in China, we came to decide that must be "爱".
She fell in love with the design at the first sight and decided to put the Chinese character on her throat.

为什么她也拒绝了自己的母语纹身,却选择了一个不熟悉的语言呢?

其实这是有科学解释的:

对于我们不认识的文字,大脑会自动将其当做图形处理,这是脑功能的认知机制。
在不熟悉中文的人的眼里,汉字都也许只是漂亮工整的神秘图案而已。已经被中国的文化所诧异,又高兴中国有美丽的文字刚好解释了她想要纹的意义。何乐而不纹呢?

So why did she refuse to tattoo her native language and chose an less familiar language instead?
In fact, there is a scientific explanation:
For words that we do not know, our brain will automatically treat them as graphic, which is the cognitive mechanism of brain function.
In the eyes of people who are not familiar with Chinese language, Chinese characters may be seen as some neat mysterious patterns.
She was surprised by China's culture, and was happy that we could find a beautiful character which matched her tattoo require. So why not tattoo it?


gogo.tattoo/gogo/tattoo/lion_kissing_deer

这个福建女孩平时使用的是简体字。但是在纹身里的“阿门”,她仍然倾向于使用繁体字。也用英文写出了她最喜欢的歌词章节。

在中国虽然英文还算普及,几乎每个学校都开展英语课程,每一个字母都应该是认识的。
可是毕竟英文不是我们的母语,当看见不是非常熟悉的英语单词的时候,仍然有依稀的陌生感吧?

让我用一个最简单的例子举例说明。很多在中国的设计公司都要求产品包装上有中英文对照,据说是因为觉得这样显得国际范儿,看起来高大上。
这样的设计的确是更能够提起中国买家的购买欲的,为什么呢?中国买家又不读英文。

This Fujian girl usually prefers simplified Chinese characters. But in the tattoo "阿門(amen)", she still tends to use traditional characters instead of "阿门". She also wrote her favorite lyrics in English.
In China, although, English is fairly popular, almost every school has an English course, and each letter should be understood by Chinese people.
But, after all, English is not our mother tongue. When we see English words which are not very familiar, we still can feel the strangeness.
Let me illustrate with a simple example. Many design companies in China require the product description on the package in both Chinese and English. It is said that it is because it feels more international and looks fancy.
Such way of design is indeed more capable to ignite the desire of Chinese buyers, despite the fact that most of the Chinese buyers do not read English on the package. Why?

timg (2)_副本.jpg

如果你是中国人,看到一个包装盒上简洁明了的用了汉字装饰,也许你会觉得并无设计感,没有意思,甚至有一点觉得其低端的感觉。

If you are Chinese and see a package with simple and clear Chinese characters, you probably would not feel any sense of design, or would even get a bit bored looking at it.

timg (2)_副.jpg

但如果加上一行简洁明了的英文,你也许会觉得的有点意思了。

这种感觉对于中国人来说,实质就是让原本只有文字本身意义的中文,被具有图案意义的英文修饰,从而产生的设计感。(也许这也是为什么我觉得《我是纹身师gogo》很高大上,因为中英文对照,看起来漂亮(^_^))

同样的道理,为什么中文设计一旦用了书法字就会觉得很高大上?

But if we add some English letters on the bottom, you might find it interesting.

When there were just Chinese characters, the essence for Chinese native is to make the original character meaning of the text itself only. When these English characters were added, it looked like decorated by some familiar curves for Chinese natives on the first sight, resulting in a sense of design.
(That is probably also why 我是纹身师gogo looks cool, coz' it is in both Chinese and English(^_^))
With the same reason, why normal Chinese characters not cooler than calligraphy Chinese characters?

ma_副本.jpg

左边的是黑体“马”,右边是书法字繁体“馬”。

On the left is normal Chinese character “马”, and on the right side is traditional Chinese calligraphy “馬”.


gogo.tattoo/gogo/tattoo/calligraphic_horse

这个是更加图像化的“马”,是不是看起来更加有趣呢?

Is this a more visual "馬" and does it look more interesting?

因为书法字都是衬线字体,简单来说,就是经过修饰的。其本质是将文字进行艺术加工,从而产生设计感。

就像这个纹身,这位美国的客人喜欢中国的书法字体。正好他的属相是马,便纹了这个个毛笔字的马。在设计时,我将已经修饰过的毛笔汉字继续进行艺术加工,弱化字的感觉,加深图案的感觉,让这个字看起来更像是内容本身的含义。他非常满意这个纹身,因为它看起来更有设计感更高大上了。相比起母语的“horse”来说,汉字显得更艺术化了。汉字作为图案的意义的确是不容小视的。

让我继续扩展下话题,不只是不熟悉的语言,如果试着把文字予以变形,那也会从而显得高大上,这也是对上述原理的进一步应用。

The calligraphy characters are in serif fonts, have less feeling of a character but a more modified picture. Its essence is to carry on the artistic part of the text, thus produce a kind of feeling of well designed work.
Just like the tattoo above, this American client loves Chinese calligraphy and his zodiac is a horse, then he decided that he want a calligraphy "馬".
Calligraphy brush style font and a picture of a horse have been modified in this tattoo design to carry out the picture graph feeling, at the same time weakening the feeling of the character as language. Now that character looks more like the content itself.
He was very satisfied with the tattoo because it looked more artistic compared to normal Chinese character "马".
We can not overlook that, Chinese characters if seen as patterns do have meanings.

Let me continue to expand on the topic.
Not just unfamiliar language, if you try to deform the text, it will also look designed, which is the further applied to the above principles.

未命名.jpg

白纸黑字,TATTOO,看起来真没意思。

Boring right?

未命名_.jpg

同样是白纸黑字,将“TATTOO”中的“A”变形成为形状略相似但是意义截然不同的“4”,看起来有点意思了!

Same way of displaying, this one looks more artistic just because the "A" was replaced by "4".

因为,越是需要时间去识别的图案或者文字,我们的大脑越会认为它是高级的。
而一眼就能够看明白的东西,大脑会认为它是低级的。

我们总是在大街上看见TATTOO的招牌,习以为常,觉得无聊。
但如果换成我“T4TTOO”,你会觉得有点意思,因为“T4TTOO”的识别要慢于“TATTOO”。

在我遇到的这些客人中,不少都觉得花体单词比正体单词看起来逼格更高,所以当他们想要英文纹身的时候,大部分会选择那些稍微不端正较难识别的字体。

The harder to recognize the characters, the more our brain thinks it is advanced.

We always see TATTOO signs on the street and get bored of it.
But if you change it into "T4TTOO", you'll find it interesting, for our brain recognizing "T4TTOO" is slower than recognizing "TATTOO"; the brain has to make more micro efforts.

I have encountered some clients, many of them feel that cursive words looks better than traditional words. So when they want to get an English lettering tattoo, most of them choose those cursive letters which is a little bit more difficult to identify than the normal font.


gogo.tattoo/gogo/tattoo/it_sucks

从认知心理学的角度分析,产生这一现象的主要原因是:非母语语言字符形式与使用者的母语心理词汇的表征不相符,与人脑中的图式不匹配,在较短的认知时间内,被提取和激活相对困难,所需时间较长。

简单一点来说,母语的字体形式作为一种图式在大脑里已经构成了一定的认知结构,在我们看见母语字体的时候,大脑在运用识别词汇的模式,从记忆中恢复该词的词汇表征,而不是图像表征。而在选择纹身字体的过程中,看见了想纹内容的花体形式,或是其他语言的内容样式之后,大脑会总是有选择性将眼前的内容自动在脑内与母语字体形式相比较然后进行认知加工,从而完成信息从输入到存储再到输出的过程。

这个过程在选择字体的时候起着举足轻重的作用。因为母语的字体已经被我们的大脑存储为词汇表征,而别的语言字符会被我们的大脑定于为图像。当然既然需要纹到身上,客人们总是觉得,图像是比词汇好看的。

Analyzing the perspectives of cognitive psychology, the main reasons for the phenomenon are these:
The non native language character form does not correspond with the representation of the native mental lexicon, does not match with the brain's cognitive schema. In a relatively short period of time, extraction and activation is relatively difficult, the longer time required.

A simple, native font form as a schema has formed certain cognitive structure in the brain, when we saw the native font, the brain will turn on vocabulary recognition mode, restoring the lexical representation of the word from memory, rather than imagining representation.

In the process of selecting tattoo fonts, when the client saw the content with the cursive style, her brain started to compare the cursive font as a picture to the basic font as a vocabulary, thus completing the information from the input to the storage and output of the process.
This process plays a pivotal role in choosing tattoo fonts. Because native language fonts have been stored as lexical representations by our brains, other language characters are scheduled to be images of our brains. Of course, since it needs to be tattooed on the body, clients always feel that images are better than words.


gogo.tattoo/gogo/tattoo/depend_yourself

说实话,这串英文是很难被识别的,可是这位上海女孩就是喜欢上了这个字体的难以识别,觉得像好看的曲线。

To tell the truth, these characters are kinda difficult to identify, but this Shanghainese girl really liked this font merely because it is harder to identify. She told me that it looks like a pretty curve.

有些非中文母语者会在身上纹中文,因为就他们而言,他们看不懂中文,看中文时会觉得像在看图案,识别很慢,所以他们他们的大脑认为这个词汇是高级的。

正如现代追求美的纹身者很少有人纹正体母语词汇,因为花体和其他语言的内容,在他们的脑内都已经被定义为更高级的词汇了。

这就是原因了!

Some non Chinese speakers love to get tattoos in Chinese, because as far as they are concerned, they cannot read Chinese. When they look at the characters, the process of character recognition is very slow, so their brains like to think of that pattern is as advanced as a vocabulary.

First of all, as a comment in
In the modern pursuit for beautiful text tattoos, very few clients like to get it done in regular font of their native language. Because in their brain, all these foreign language fonts and cursive fonts have been already defined as more advanced vocabulary.

That's why!

@warrenvee在他的文章里的请求一样,我们乐于为Steemit社区里的每个纹身爱好者解决疑惑,甚至有机会亲身到当地纹身展制作纹身。

Just like in the comments of @warrenvee's article. We would love to help tattoo lovers solve tattoo problems or even meet up for tattoo with conditions.
Leave comments below.

All the tattoos above are documented on gogo.tattoo offical Steemit. An awesome tattoo/IT project.

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This article is featuring some older works. Haha.
The first image doesn't even have a watermark yet ;-)

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Ohhh yes. You were working very hard on it at that time.

纹身很酷,但是怕疼

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那我的下一篇文章会描述纹身的疼痛!不用害怕啦,纹身的疼痛都是在忍耐范围之内的。

nice job~ followed u as well~ I got an TATTOO which is an Egypt queen~
look forward ur following as well, pls

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Sure thing! That is a pretty cool idea to tattoo an Egypt queen! Any reasons for it?