Chinese Tattoos Gone Wrong

Many people feel that tattoos are a creative way to express their personality, remember a key moment in their lives or use it as a way to demonstrate their love or commitment by having a name of a loved one or a poignant proverb permanently etched into their skin. However, when these tattoos go wrong it can be a life-time's disaster ruining what should be a special symbol that has personal meaning and significance behind it.

Chinese characters are popular tattoos because they are fashionable and exotic, however many people who get these tattoos cannot speak or read Chinese characters so they are placing a lot of trust in their artist to translate their names or sayings correctly. For example Vince Mattingley wanted to tattoo his name onto his chest in Chinese characters and asked the waiters at his favourite Oriental restaurant to write his name in Chinese symbols. He then took this to a tattoo parlour and had it tattooed onto his skin. 18 years later on holiday in Thailand a local barman asked why he had Coca-Cola tattooed on his chest. It was only at this point that Vince realised he had been at the butt of a "cheeky waiter's" joke for almost a quarter of a century and a walking advert for Coca-Cola! In a similar scenario a boy asked for "Love, Honour and Obey" to be tattooed on his arm but actually end up with one that read "At the end of the day...this is an ugly boy".

Another woman asked for a tattoo of the word "family" written in Arabic. Although the symbols were correct they had been written left to right instead of the Arabic way right to left.

It is vital that you research all your options before getting any sort of permanent tattoo as there are many risks involved including contracting life-threatening blood borne infections as well as the artist making a mistake. If you are getting a tattoo in a foreign language it might be best to look up translations yourself, ask any friends you know who can read or speak that language, as well as asking for professional advice and your tattoo artist for translations to check that they all tally up and that nobody is playing a practical joke and making you a laughing stock.

However tattoo artists can also make mistakes so that your design ends up wonky, asymmetrical, off centre, missing detail or even contains incorrect detail. For example one lady wanted a pair of detailed wings, which she had designed herself, tattooed across her back. When she went to the parlour she deliberately gave them only one wing so that they would be symmetrical, because they were so large they had to be done in separate sessions. Once they had both been completed she took a photo and realised that the second wing was much smaller and some of the detailing was either wrong or missing.

In some cases mistakes can be covered up, for example colours can be made brighter or corrected with touch ups. Some artists actually specialise in doing touch ups where they go over outlines to make it neater or clearer, or they add or correct detail to make the tattoo symmetrical or more central by adding detail to one side. They can also add backgrounds or more detail to hide the mistakes or to incorporate them into new designs or backgrounds. Therefore if you have a tattoo that goes wrong removal is not your only option. It is advised that you use a different tattoo artist to correct mistakes as you cannot trust the first artist's ability to correct it. Before you get a tattoo you should do some research on which artist to use, ask to see their previous work, get a tour of their parlour so you can check out whether they are registered and follow all health and safety guidelines to ensure the conditions are hygienic and sanitary. Also many artists specialise in specific designs such as Chinese characters, Celtic designs, birds, flowers or portraits so it may be worthwhile using a specialist to minimise the risk of mistakes. Also get recommendations of friends or family as word of mouth can be the best way to find a good tattooist. If a mistake is made the same research should be done to ensure another mistake is not made and that your tattoo is actually improved and not made worse.

If you feel that removal is the option for you, or tattoo artists do not think that they can rectify the damage, you will require laser treatment. This is extremely expensive and painful because it involves burning away the stained dermis or skin: the dermis is the lower layer of skin and does not flake away which is why tattoos are permanent. By burning this away you will get scars that may be more unsightly than your bad tattoo. Also laser treatment is not guaranteed to remove your entire tattoo; it may only fade it or partly remove it as some tattoo dyes resist laser removal and some dyes are too deep Black dyes absorb all laser wavelengths so they are most easily removed while other colours such as red can only absorb certain lasers such as selective green laser light making lasers less effective for these tattoos. Also different lasers work on different colours so you may need several visits to remove the different colours in your tattoo. You will probably need at least 4-6 visits anyway depending on the size and colours of your tattoo.

However if you have suffered mistakes similar to those described above such as incorrect symbols or designs, asymmetrical tattoos, tattoos that are off centre or wonky or tattoos that don't resemble the designs you desired you could be entitled to compensation towards any extra treatments that you require either to repair, touch-up, cover-up or even remove your tattoo and towards any discomfort or embarrassment that you felt while you were recovering.

Have you suffered injury as a result of an accident or somebody else's wrong doing? If so, and it wasn't your fault we can help you make a compensation claim for your physical, psychological and financial losses

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