Here’s the original (now replaced) cover to the latest issue of MaxPlanckForschung, the flagship journal of the Max Planck Institute:

Max Planck China

 As MPF later explained,

The cover of the most recent German-language edition of MaxPlanckForschung (3/2008) depicts a Chinese text which had been chosen by our editorial office in order to symbolically illustrate the magazine’s focus on "China". …

Prior to publication, the editorial office had consulted a German sinologist for a translation of the relevant text. The sinologist concluded that the text in question depicted classical Chinese characters in a non-controversial context. To our sincere regret, however, it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning, which are not immediately accessible to a non-native speaker.

Contracts are a lot like a foreign language. There’s a whole body of interpretation — i.e. case law — of which non-lawyers are generally unaware. There are also numerous known unknowns and unknown unknowns with regard to the interpretation of a specific contract in a given factual scenario. That is, there are times when an MBA who has done a lot of contracts will, like a German sinologist, not suffice.

Language Log has a long explanation of the deeper meaning here. I’ve posted their rough translation below the fold.

With high salaries, we have cordially invited for an extended series of matinées

KK and Jiamei as directors, who will personally lead jade-like girls in the spring of youth,

Beauties from the north who have a distinguished air of elegance and allure,

Young housewives having figures that will turn you on;

Their enchanting and coquettish performance will begin within the next few days.