So our kitchen sink was broken, and my task was to go to the building management people and ask for a repairman to fix the faucet, which is no longer attached to the sink.
I thought to use my handy “Pleco” translation app on my iPad. So I looked up the words, “kitchen sink.” Here are the suggestions: “guotai: the top of a kitchen range; wei zhe zhuan: to be tied to the kitchen sink;” “wo bu xiang dang jiating funu, yi beizi wei zhe ~ zhuan: I don’t want to be a housewife slaving away at a hot stove all my life.”
Well, okay then. Now there’s nothing wrong with these statements, but I’m trying to imagine announcing that to the baffled building management folks.
So I looked up the word “sink.” The translation: “aoxian: cave in; sink;” “dimian: the ground caved in;” “shuang jia: have sunken or hollow cheeks.”
Oh, China. You’re so dramatic.
Finally, I found the word for your basic noun for sink: “xidicao: washing tank.” Close enough. And the girl at the management office, while she didn’t understand what I was saying in English, did understand that. And promised to send a workman in an hour.
Now I have no idea if he’ll show up with lightbulbs or dumplings to help me with my sunken cheeks, but at least it’s a start.
Update: not only did the workman show up and fix my sink in about 3 minutes, but he spoke English and didn’t charge a single RMB. Thank you, China.