While doing research yesterday I landed on the website of HiSilicon, which "provides" chips "and solutions"¹ for communications and digital-media companies. On the About Us page I slipped on a truly odd patch of prose:
HiSilicon Technologies Co., Ltd. was established in October 2004. Her former, ASIC Design Center of Huawei Technologies, was founded in 1991. With her headquarter in Shenzhen of China, Hisilicon has set up design divisions in Beijing, Shanghai, Silicon Valley (USA) and Sweden.
Let's break it down:
Name of company spelled two ways, HiSilicon and Hisilicon.
Company referred to with feminine pronoun her.
Adjective former used without a corresponding noun.
Headquarters missing its final s.
Needless of between city name and China.
Of all these quirks, the one that most baffles me is the feminine pronoun, which substitutes throughout the web content for the company name. Another example, also from About Us (About Her?): "She always aims to provide high quality chip solutions with good services and quick response to customers' request." Yep, she's quite a gal!
I've read quite a few Mandarin-to-English translations, and I've seen plenty of examples of Chinglish, but I've never come across this sort of genderfication. Can anyone explain? Is it equivalent to calling a ship she? Or does it result from a specific misunderstanding of English grammar rules?
There's more odd prose on the Human Resource page (singular, like "headquarter"), which offers creative spelling ("recruitement"), suspicious enthusiasm ("Now there are dozens of vacancies waiting to be filled!"), and familiar verbosity ("With the guidance of our company's vocational qualification standards, the drive of the qualification authentication and the support from the training platform, our employees can continuously improve their working competencies and realize their career dreams step by step.")
There's also a link for something called Social Recruitment that turns out not to be a link at all (ha! fooled you with the blue type!) and whose name made me wonder whether there'd been a company-wide party to which I hadn't been invited. Then I clicked on "Job Titles" and was delivered to a page titled Society Recruitment. That sounded even better than a party invitation! Can't you picture Mrs. Snoot-Lockjaw turning to Mr. Snoot-Lockjaw and saying, "Darling, that Lowborn couple seem awfully nice. Shall we sponsor their membership in the country club?"
Alas, it turned out to be just a bunch of job listings for various types of engineers. Not only is that not Society, it's hardly—with all due respect to the engineers reading this—even social.
¹ I'm sure you've noticed that to stay in business nowadays everyone has to "provide solutions." Not make, not sell: provide. How philanthropic! And not stuff: solutions. I picture a buffet table laden with bowls of brine, simple syrup, soapy water, and Tabasco. Chips in solutions: mmmm. Alternatively: oh noes, my chips has dissolved!