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Off topic: Funniest "mis" translation (It, Fr, Sp, En)
Thread poster: Matthew Holway

Matthew Holway  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:01
Italian to English
+ ...
May 14, 2007

I guess I'm strange, but mistranslations (and lets stick to literal ones) really go up (or down?) my pole at times. For example:
"open them!!" this is a funny one from "aprile" (april in Italian..)

I'd love to hear some of yours!


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Nicole Johnson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:01
Italian to English
+ ...
Who knew that pressing olives could be such solitary work? May 14, 2007

My favorite was from an incomplete translation I worked on for a producer of gourmet olive oils.

"L'unico olio" was translated as "the lonely oil" rather than "the only oil".

Those poor, desolate olives...


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Herminia Herrándiz Espuny  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Last one I came across May 14, 2007

On a videogame "rubber duck" was translated as "el pato del ladrón" (robber duck) I couldn't help but start laughing for a couple of minutes

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Tony Keily  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
Italian to English
+ ...
Sinners May 14, 2007

I was called in to clean up some computer-generated mess from French. Throughout an EU document on Social Insurance payments the programme had opted for 'French Sinners' instead of 'French Fishermen' (get it?). Their wives were Sinners' Wives.

[Edited at 2007-05-14 13:42]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Live animals May 14, 2007

I ran across one the other day. It was supposed to say, “Vaccinate only healthy animals” (Vacunar solo animales sanos) but had been translated “Vaccinate only live animals”. I thought, “Once they’re dead, it’s a little late, isn’t it?”

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Tony Keily  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
Italian to English
+ ...
another one... May 14, 2007

A very elegantly printed English language sign I saw in Barcelona some years back, in the window of a restaurant: "Food to eat here or leave."

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Mirella Soffio  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:01
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
Ostrich eggs... May 14, 2007

translated as "uova di ostrica".

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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
But there are so many... May 14, 2007

This is one of my favorite topics, here are a few beauties collected by Air France employees:

Tokyo hotel: It is forbidden to steal hotel towels. If you are not a person to do such a thing, please not read this notice.

Paris hotel: Please leave your values at the front desk. If you lose them in your room, we are not responsible.

Athens hotel: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 am daily.

Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the women who are employed to clean the rooms.

Hong Kong tailor: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

Bangkok dry cleaner: Drop your trousers right here for best results.

Paris dress shop: Elegant dresses designed for street walking.

Greek tailor shop: Because of the big summer rush we will execute customers in strict rotation. (yikes!)

Japanese hotel: If you want to condition the warm in your room, please control yourself.

Rome laundry: Ladies, please leave all your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

Copenhagen airline: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

Moscow hotel: If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it!

Norwegian lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

Acapulco hotel: We are pleased to announce that the manager has personally passed all the water served here.

Tokyo rental car: When passenger with heavy foot is in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigor.

German camp site: It is strictly forbidden on our camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married to each other for that purpose.

Keep them coming!


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:01
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Brass Gardener May 14, 2007

There is a famous statue in St. Petersburg called "Медный Всадник" (Medny Vsadnik), meaning the Copper Horseman. A colleague on a Russian course, thinking of the Russian verb to plant, (всадить = vsadit), translated this as "The Brass Gardener". He was himself known as the Brass Gardener for the rest of the course.

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Nicole Johnson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:01
Italian to English
+ ...
Teju, after that I'd like to tootle you... May 14, 2007

teju wrote:

Tokyo rental car: When passenger with heavy foot is in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigor.



Thanks for sharing that list with us. I've seen it before, but for some reason the last two were not included. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed it again, especially the Tokyo rental car piece!

Gotta run...need to leave my clothes at my Italian dry cleaners'...

Priceless!


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Have fun Nicole May 14, 2007

Nicole Johnson wrote:
teju, after that I'd like to tootle you...

Thanks for sharing that list with us. I've seen it before, but for some reason the last two were not included. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed it again, especially the Tokyo rental car piece!
Gotta run...need to leave my clothes at my Italian dry cleaners'...
Priceless!


Actually, the list was a bit longer, I included some of the funnier ones. Thanks for the tootle, and have fun after you've left your clothes at the cleaners!

teju


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Matthew Holway  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:01
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Priceless Bryson May 14, 2007

Nicole Johnson wrote:

teju wrote:

Tokyo rental car: When passenger with heavy foot is in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigor.



Thanks for sharing that list with us. I've seen it before, but for some reason the last two were not included.
Priceless!


Nicole
I'm pretty sure, if I remember rightly, it was in "Mother tongue" by the fantastic Bill Bryson (a keen linguist before moving on to higher things like travel writing..)


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eesegura  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Like in Spanish... May 14, 2007

Tony Keily wrote:

I was called in to clean up some computer-generated mess from French. Throughout an EU document on Social Insurance payments the programme had opted for 'French Sinners' instead of 'French Fishermen' (get it?). Their wives were Sinners' Wives.

[Edited at 2007-05-14 13:42]

...where the difference between a fisherman and a sinner is just one letter: pescador (fisherman) or pecador (sinner)...


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Valentina_D  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
English to Italian
+ ...
brilliant! May 14, 2007



(For those who don't understand Italian:

ostrich= struzzo
oyster= ostrica

So, the translation of 'ostrich eggs' in Italian actually meant 'oyster eggs'!)

Mirella Soffio wrote:

translated as "uova di ostrica".


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 20:01
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
My 2c May 14, 2007

I am approaching 1M words translated. Assuming a respectable 99% record, I can (sigh) expect 1% * 1M = 10.000 (i.e. ten thousand words) to be

i) mangled
ii) misunderstood
iii) mistranslated
iv) ignored
v) "its a multiple choice question": anything above plus some/a lot more

Who's the joke on? Oh well, I raise my hand.
Do you think I am proud of it? NO WAY. JOSE.
Can I do anything about it? NO I CANT, ITS TOO LATE (*)

But at least I can refrain from poking my big finger into the wounds of others. Whoever never ever made any translation error, go ahead and throw one more stone.

*"...baby, it's too late, though we really did try to make it" (sg)


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