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Video:How to Check Tattoo Language

with Jonathon Stewart

There's not much worse than mistakenly getting a tattoo that says what you don't actually think it does. Learn how to check tattoo language before you get inked.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Check Tattoo Language

Once taboo or reserved for those in the military or others attached to special cultural meanings, tattoos are now in the mainstream for everyone from young adults to business people to athletes. Whatever design or symbol you choose, though, you want to make sure you know what it says for sure before it becomes a permanent part of you.

How to best Check Tattoo Language

A good place to start in verifying the true meaning of the tattoo you want to get is the library – down the street or the virtual one found through your Smartphone or computer. Offline or online libraries contain a wealth of information on symbols and their meanings. There are even books and websites online dedicated to tattoo designs as their popularity has grown, including those that feature explanations for Kanji and tribal symbols.

More Information on How to Check Tattoo Language

Don't assume that the person schooled in doing your tattoo is necessarily schooled in what your tattoo means. While they may share an interest in your design, just be sure to do your own homework and leave the artistry to them. Beyond websites and books, it's also important to ask someone who speaks the native tongue of the tattoo symbol you have in mind. Words and symbols, especially among Chinese and Japanese cultures, have subtle differences or multiple meanings that may change between regions or over time.

Tips for Checking Tattoo Language

Find a native speaker in your local community, such as at an urban cultural center, or connect with others online through social networking groups where the language is spoken.You'll find that most people are very willing to help you with your language dilemma. They most likely will respect that you are taking the time to ensure you respect the word, symbol, or phrasing. Even better, they may have a way to improve upon what you are trying to express through your tattoo.Be sure to also double- and triple-check the order of the symbols in terms of placement vertically or horizontally. For instance, with Kanji characters, reordering the symbols leads to an entirely different meaning. So, even if you had the right symbols, the overall order to their design is imperative to verify before the process of inking begins. Of course, thanks to the magic of technology and lasers, every tattoo can become a redo. But, it will save you time, money, and, more importantly, a little pain if you verify the tattoo language first.

I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.
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