Where Did The Translation Go Wrong? Part I September 17, 2008Posted by Fantastic Four in Cultural Diversity, Funnies, Translation.
Over the years I have worked not only as a translator but also a proofreader. I have come across some outrageous translations. There were more than a few times when I had to re-translate the whole thing myself since trying to correct the errors would have taken much longer than starting from scratch.
In this first instalment of my “Where did the translation go wrong?” series, I present to you signs and notices from different countries. I am sure some will make you cringe, some laugh perhaps with a whoa here and there. Many of these have been circulating all over the net bouncing back and forth amongst us, the translators. The ones down below are my personal favourites and they are quite popular on the net.
Bangkok ~ In a dry cleaner’s:
Drop your trousers here for best results.
Bangkok ~ In a temple:
It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.
France ~ In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.
Greece ~ In Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. daily.
Hong Kong ~ Outside a tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
Hong Kong ~ In an advertisement by a dentist:
Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
Hungary ~ In a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
Italy ~ In a laundry in Rome:
Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.
Japan ~ in a Tokyo hotel:
Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.
Japan ~ In a Tokyo bar:
Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
Japan ~ In an information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner:
Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.
Japan ~ In a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.
Mexico ~ In an Acapulco hotel:
The manager has personally passed all the water served here.
Norway ~ In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.
Poland ~ On the menu of a hotel:
Salad a firm’s own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people’s fashion.
Rhodes ~ In a tailor shop:
Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.
Romania ~ in a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.
Russia ~ From the Soviet Weekly:
There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.
Russia ~ In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
Serbia ~ In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.
Switzerland ~ On a menu:
Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
Switzerland ~ In a Zurich hotel:
Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
Yugoslavia ~ In a hotel:
The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
AND, one that shows us how some products should never make it to another country promoted with the same name:
Australia To Spain ~ The Mitsubishi four wheel drive marketed in Australia as the “Pajero” was the cause of great embarrassment in Spain where “Pajero” means “masturbator”.
Naturally, when the cars didn’t sell they changed the name to Montero…
I say Pajero you say Montero…
On a box;
Thanks for the warning…
Next instalment: The most common mistakes – I have observed – Turkish people make when they speak or write in English language. It mostly points to the differences in the sentence structures and the parts of speech between the two languages. Stay tuned!