It’s the holiday season and a perfect time to bring lots of good cheer. What follows are blissfully mistranslated slogans, posts and signs from around the world. You won’t want to miss! What we can learn from this article is the importance of getting translation letter perfect. In the interim, we can have a good laugh at how good intentions can run afoul if we are not careful.
In “40 Most Bloodcurdling Chinese Mistranslations Ever! Warning: You Will Laugh to Death!” (http://www.seenox.com/2014/05/29/40-bloodcurdling-chinese-mistranslations-ever/), the author highlights that even though English and Chinese are languages that can be regarded as world languages, translations between the two seem to be much more difficult than expected, as noted in this article.
In “Engrish,” (http://www.engrish.com) you’ll catch a bunch of ridiculously mistranslated signs and their English equivalent.
In “6 Famous Mistranslations and What We Can Learn from Them,” (https://blog.rosettastone.com/6-famous-mistranslations-and-what-we-can-learn-from-them/), the Rosetta Stone team takes a look at a few mistranslations that have had far-reaching consequences. See what lessons these famous blunders have to offer language learners trying not to get lost in translation.
In “When Signs Go Bad – Mistranslated Posters From Around the World,” (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/29/mad-bad-funny-comedy-pictures-signs-rude-fail-best_n_1118541.html), Fecility Morse shows us how posters from around the world take mistakes to a whole new level! As she says, “These misunderstood, mad and dangerous to read signs include rude shop names, advice against washing yourself and some unintentional toilet humour.”
In “45 Most WTF Foreign Signs,” (https://www.buzzfeed.com/fjelstud/45-most-wtf-foreign-signs), we could read these funny signs all day. Some are so funny you would think they were done on purpose.
In “Funny Mistranslations from Around the World, (https://linguagreca.com/blog/2013/02/funny-mistranslations-world/), the authors feature mistranslations they found on websites. They emphasize the importance of professional translation services to avoid such (sometimes grave) mistakes.
In “Funny Slogan and Brand Mistranslations,” (http://www.languageconnections.com/wp1/funny-slogans-from-around-the-world/), Natalie Jung compels us to “localize, localize, localize!” She makes her point by challenging us with “what happens if you use machine translation instead of a professional translator? You might be safe if you’re just trying to say “hello” in Italian, but businesses expanding into foreign markets often mistranslate with confusing and hilarious results.”
In “15 Google Translate Fails That Will Make You Never Trust Computers Again,” (https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/15-best-google-translate-fails), Steph Koyfman shares a few of the Internet’s best translation gaffes. She goes on to say, “The autotranslate feature never fails … to fail (and be hilarious).
In “Favorte Mistranslations from Around the World,” (http://www.protranslationgroup.com/3/post/2013/05/favorite-mistranslations-from-around-the-world.html)m members of The Professional Translation Group share some of their favorite mistranslations. For example, Josephine Bacon shares: “My own favo[u]rite is when a translation agency in British Columbia asked me to check a set of questions that the police would ask suspect motorists in Hebrew. In one question they meant to ask “are you carrying a weapon?” but what the translator, who had clearly not learned Hebrew beyond first grade Sunday School had written was “will you give me a kiss?” The difference between “neshek” weapons and “neshika” kiss!”
If these are not enough to give you a good belly laugh, try a Twitter search with the hastag @Mistranslations (https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mistranslations?src=hash) and you will be rolling on the floor with laughter. And while you are laughing on the floor, let me offer you one more from BBC on what they claim are the greatest mistranslations ever: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150202-the-greatest-mistranslations-ever
Meanwhile, don’t let customers, colleagues, suppliers, employees or anyone else who matters to you and the growth of your business get seriously lost in translation because translation matters.
©2019 Laurel J. Delaney. All rights reserved.