All translations are not equal. A good translation is one that conveys the same meaning as the source text and sounds natural in the target language (if that is the desired outcome of the translation). Some do just the opposite. Here are some of the greatest blunders found in translation, taken from a book titled Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World, published by Perigee Trade. We hope you enjoy them.
If you come across funny mistranslations, feel free to share them with us.
- Funerals on schedule
A sign in the lobby of a hotel in Moscow located across from a Russian Orthodox monastery reads ‘You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday’. It’s the undertaker’s day off.
- Skinny look?
A Swedish furrier put up a poster on his shop window promising ‘Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin’. It’s bound to make you look skinnier!
Did you know that in Rome, Italy you could consult with a ‘specialist in women and other diseases’? One has to wonder whether this gynaecologist is very popular among women who understand English.