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, gathered from the Web. We hope you enjoy them.
If you come across funny or appalling mistranslations, feel free to share them with us.
- The many lives of humans
A backpackers in Xinjiang offers good rooms at very cheap prices. It also gives guests the opportunity to ‘have three human lives’ or even ‘four human lives’, in other words ‘many human lives’. Like cats, humans staying at that place will have 9 lives!
- Susie of Arabia
American blogger Susie has been living in Saudi Arabia for 7 years now and keeps track of funny translations, and ‘Saudinglish’. One example is a restaurant’s menu offering an appetising ‘Itch salad with bourghul’. Perhaps this is to warn guests that the dish is spicy?
- You cold-hearted pedestrian
As in many parks, a sign in China asks pedestrians to refrain from walking on grass. That particular patch is ‘tender and fragrant’ so it is of special value and should be cherished. The sign warns ‘How hardhearted [it would be] to trample them’.