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Off topic: Why do labels often have such hilariously bad translations?
Thread poster: Claudia Vale

Claudia Vale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Jul 26, 2007

And who gets paid to provide these translations, I wonder? How about this one, as seen on a plant wrapper:

"With my Intenz (sic) purple plumes I do not only grow in the tropical parts of Afica, Asia and South America, I can also let my plumes blow richly in the wind on your terrace or spread them gracefully in a splendid house.
My magnificent display of colour takes you to times long gone, provided that my noble roots are refreshed with water in a timely manner. Then I will grow to a height of 30cm. Use me for decoration only, not for consumption."

Poetic, eh? ;o)


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 09:28
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Thats just the first try, one could do even better... Jul 26, 2007

And who gets paid to provide these translations,?

There's a proverb, floating around in Southern Europe (author and his nationality unknown) stating that "...nobody can pay me so little, that I could not work less".

I would guesstimate this "poetry" cost between two and three cents a word.

[Edited at 2007-07-26 21:34]


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 09:28
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Pork pies in Spain Jul 26, 2007

Original: May contain traces of nuts

Label: "Puede contener trazas de tuercas"

Yummi.

Andy

[Edited at 2007-07-27 09:22]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Worth much more Jul 26, 2007

Absolutely beautiful. Such a translation is worth many times 3 cents a word.

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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:28
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Better poetic than wrong Jul 27, 2007

Ah well, you know how the story goes: Little boy's uncle travels the world and brings back a book of poems. He gives the book to his nephew who is fascinated by his uncle's stories and the book he brought from that country across the seas. The boy treasures the book, uses it to teach himself English and grows up to become a translator. The rest is... err, poetry.

The more likely version, though, is probably that it's all intentional (and to be honest I can't see what's wrong with a little poetry on a plant wrapper).

Anyway, just recently I saw a gross mistranslation on tags attached to office machines (copiers or fax machines or something like that). When they came out of the box they had little cardboard tags attached in different places (presumably for protection during transport). The text on those tags said "Remove this attachement". The German translation underneath statet "Dieses Zusatzgerät entfernen" ("Remove this add-on device").

I was imagining people with screwdrivers trying to figure out which part of the machine is the "add-on device" which needs to be removed...

[Edited at 2007-07-27 00:09]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:28
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Traces of nuts Jul 27, 2007

Andy Watkinson wrote:

Original: May contain traces of nuts

Label: "Puede contener trazas de tuercas"

Yummi.

Andy

[Edited at 2007-07-26 23:07]


I know it's off the point, but I've seen "May contain traces of nuts" written on packets of ... nuts.
Oh, good.
Love,
Jenny.


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Melzie
Local time: 09:28
French to English
+ ...
rail and chocolate Jul 27, 2007

what gets me in this day and age is the fact that as much official organisations as big agro-food corporations are incapable of going out and having a look at original versions. All they have to do is send out a gofer from their office in the country in question to just have a look at (not even buy one really) the ingredients on a choc bar and there you have it, FREE CORRECT translation. I'm thinking of the notices in public transport too here.

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Mandy Williams  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:28
German to English
Probably do it themselves Jul 27, 2007

Some time ago I was asked to translate some labels for food products. As there was "no rush" and I was off to England, I told the client I would look at similar products in English supermarkets to get some ideas. They said that was fine.

When I got back and called them they told me they had done it themselves. I would suspect that happens a lot.

Best,
Mandy


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Michael Deliso  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:28
Italian to English
+ ...
Lighter side of trans/inter Jul 27, 2007

You think that's hilarious, these are true signs found in places around the world:
English Around The World

The following are examples of genuine English found around the world on signs, notices etc. Most of them have mistakes.

University Campus, India:
NO TRESPASSING WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Hotel bedroom, India:
GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED.

Doctor's surgery, India:
SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.

Hotel, India:
WOMAN'S ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN BAR.

Hotel, India:
THE MANAGER HAS PERSONALLY PASSED ALL WATER SERVED HERE.

Hotel, Moscow (opposite Russian Orthodox monastery):
YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY.

Hotel airconditioner instructions, India:
COOLES AND HEATES: IF YOU WANT CONDITION OF WARM AIR IN YOUR ROOM, PLEASE CONTROL YOURSELF.

Zoo, India:
PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUITABLE FOOD, GIVE IT TO THE GUARD ON DUTY.

Poster, USA:
ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO, WE CAN HELP.

Restaurant, India:
OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, AND WEEKENDS TOO.
Automatic hand dryer in public lavatory, USA:
DO NOT ACTIVATE WITH WET HANDS.

Maternity ward, India:
NO CHILDREN ALLOWED WITHOUT PERMISSION.

Cemetery, India:
PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES.

Restaurant menu, Germany:
OUR FOOD LEAVES YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.

Tokyo Hotel, Japan:
IS FORBIDDEN TO STEAL HOTEL TOWELS PLEASE. IF YOU ARE NOT A PERSON TO DO SUCH THING IS PLEASE NOT TO RED NOTICE.
Shop in Majorca
ENGLISH WELL TALKING
HERE SPEECHING ENGLISH
T
emple, India:
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN EVEN A FOREIGNER IF DRESSED AS A MAN.

Hotel bedroom, India:
PLEASE DO NOT BRING SOLICITORS OR OTHER SIMILAR WOMEN INTO YOUR ROOM.

Hotel brochure, India:
THIS HOTEL IS RENOWNED FOR ITS PEACE AND SOLITUDE. IN FACT, LARGE CROWDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD FLOCK HERE TO ENJOY IT.

Hotel lobby, Bucharest:
THE LIFT IS BEING FIXED FOR THE NEXT DAY. DURING THAT TIME WE REGRET THAT YOU WILL BE UNBEARABLE.

Hotel bedroom, India:
YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID AT ANY HOUR. SHE ALWAY'S HAPPY TO HELP IN ANY WAY

Black Forest, Germany:
IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.

Newspaper, India:
A NEW SWIMMING POOL IS RAPIDLY TAKING SHAPE SINCE THE CONTRACTORS HAVE THROWN IN THE BULK OF THEIR WORKERS.

Hotel, Berlin:
BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF HAVING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE BED, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED

Laundry, India:
LADY'S, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME.
T
ourist agency, Czech Republic:
TAKE ONE OF OUR HORSE-DRIVEN CITY TOURS. WE GUARANTEE NO MISCARRIAGES.

Advertisement for donkey rides, India:
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?
Dentist's advertisement, India:
TEETH FILLED AND EXTRACTED BY THE LATEST METHODISTS.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:28
English to German
+ ...
So we can collect them, Jul 27, 2007

Put them in a time-capsule and send them into space. This way we can ward off malicious aliens, who would consider such instructions as evil spells, meant to destroy their spaceship.

)

Example:

http://www.snopes.com/humor/misxlate/tounge.asp


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:28
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Ears and lamps and vacuum cleaners Jul 27, 2007

Michael Deliso wrote:

You think that's hilarious, these are true signs found in places around the world:
English Around The World

The following are examples of genuine English found around the world on signs, notices etc. Most of them have mistakes.

University Campus, India:
NO TRESPASSING WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Hotel bedroom, India:
GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED.

Doctor's surgery, India:
SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.

Hotel, India:
WOMAN'S ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN BAR.

Hotel, India:
THE MANAGER HAS PERSONALLY PASSED ALL WATER SERVED HERE.

Hotel, Moscow (opposite Russian Orthodox monastery):
YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY.

Hotel airconditioner instructions, India:
COOLES AND HEATES: IF YOU WANT CONDITION OF WARM AIR IN YOUR ROOM, PLEASE CONTROL YOURSELF.

Zoo, India:
PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUITABLE FOOD, GIVE IT TO THE GUARD ON DUTY.

Poster, USA:
ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO, WE CAN HELP.

Restaurant, India:
OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, AND WEEKENDS TOO.
Automatic hand dryer in public lavatory, USA:
DO NOT ACTIVATE WITH WET HANDS.

Maternity ward, India:
NO CHILDREN ALLOWED WITHOUT PERMISSION.

Cemetery, India:
PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES.

Restaurant menu, Germany:
OUR FOOD LEAVES YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.

Tokyo Hotel, Japan:
IS FORBIDDEN TO STEAL HOTEL TOWELS PLEASE. IF YOU ARE NOT A PERSON TO DO SUCH THING IS PLEASE NOT TO RED NOTICE.
Shop in Majorca
ENGLISH WELL TALKING
HERE SPEECHING ENGLISH
T
emple, India:
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN EVEN A FOREIGNER IF DRESSED AS A MAN.

Hotel bedroom, India:
PLEASE DO NOT BRING SOLICITORS OR OTHER SIMILAR WOMEN INTO YOUR ROOM.

Hotel brochure, India:
THIS HOTEL IS RENOWNED FOR ITS PEACE AND SOLITUDE. IN FACT, LARGE CROWDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD FLOCK HERE TO ENJOY IT.

Hotel lobby, Bucharest:
THE LIFT IS BEING FIXED FOR THE NEXT DAY. DURING THAT TIME WE REGRET THAT YOU WILL BE UNBEARABLE.

Hotel bedroom, India:
YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID AT ANY HOUR. SHE ALWAY'S HAPPY TO HELP IN ANY WAY

Black Forest, Germany:
IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.

Newspaper, India:
A NEW SWIMMING POOL IS RAPIDLY TAKING SHAPE SINCE THE CONTRACTORS HAVE THROWN IN THE BULK OF THEIR WORKERS.

Hotel, Berlin:
BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF HAVING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE BED, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED

Laundry, India:
LADY'S, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME.
T
ourist agency, Czech Republic:
TAKE ONE OF OUR HORSE-DRIVEN CITY TOURS. WE GUARANTEE NO MISCARRIAGES.

Advertisement for donkey rides, India:
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?
Dentist's advertisement, India:
TEETH FILLED AND EXTRACTED BY THE LATEST METHODISTS.





Fabulous! Made me laugh out loud all by myself.

I've also seen, in a department store in London:

EARS PIERCED WHILE YOU WAIT.

And on the menu of my local Indian restaurant:

PIECES OF LAMP MARINADED IN OUR CHEF'S SPECIAL SAUCE.

(goes nicely with the stuff that contains traces of nuts and bolts).

The instructions for my Dyson vacuum cleaner contain no words at all - only incomprehensible pictograms, presumably to avoid the translation problem altogether, with the result that I can't work out how to attach the hose appliances and can only use it upright.
Regards,
Jenny.


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Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:28
German to English
Special declaration Jul 27, 2007

Here in front of me now I have a cooker manual littered with dense jargon and unintentionally hilarious gibberish. After eight pages, ostensibly in English, comes (drum roll...)

"Special Declaration: For any mistakes and omissions in printing or misunderstanding of the contents, the company keeps the right of interpretation."

(...clash of cymbals, or more appropriately in this case probably symbols)

I often find (especially with English manuals) that far from being examples of poor translation, they are written from scratch in a language that their authors genuinely believe is standard and will be comprehensible throughout the English-speaking world.

DB


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:28
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Indian Origin Jul 27, 2007

Michael Deliso wrote:

You think that's hilarious, these are true signs found in places around the world:
English Around The World

The following are examples of genuine English found around the world on signs, notices etc. Most of them have mistakes.

University Campus, India:
NO TRESPASSING WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Hotel bedroom, India:
GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED.

Doctor's surgery, India:
SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.

Hotel, India:
WOMAN'S ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN BAR.

Hotel, India:
THE MANAGER HAS PERSONALLY PASSED ALL WATER SERVED HERE.

Hotel, Moscow (opposite Russian Orthodox monastery):
YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY.

Hotel airconditioner instructions, India:
COOLES AND HEATES: IF YOU WANT CONDITION OF WARM AIR IN YOUR ROOM, PLEASE CONTROL YOURSELF.

Zoo, India:
PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUITABLE FOOD, GIVE IT TO THE GUARD ON DUTY.

Poster, USA:
ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO, WE CAN HELP.

Restaurant, India:
OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, AND WEEKENDS TOO.
Automatic hand dryer in public lavatory, USA:
DO NOT ACTIVATE WITH WET HANDS.

Maternity ward, India:
NO CHILDREN ALLOWED WITHOUT PERMISSION.

Cemetery, India:
PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES.

Restaurant menu, Germany:
OUR FOOD LEAVES YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.

Tokyo Hotel, Japan:
IS FORBIDDEN TO STEAL HOTEL TOWELS PLEASE. IF YOU ARE NOT A PERSON TO DO SUCH THING IS PLEASE NOT TO RED NOTICE.
Shop in Majorca
ENGLISH WELL TALKING
HERE SPEECHING ENGLISH
T
emple, India:
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN EVEN A FOREIGNER IF DRESSED AS A MAN.

Hotel bedroom, India:
PLEASE DO NOT BRING SOLICITORS OR OTHER SIMILAR WOMEN INTO YOUR ROOM.

Hotel brochure, India:
THIS HOTEL IS RENOWNED FOR ITS PEACE AND SOLITUDE. IN FACT, LARGE CROWDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD FLOCK HERE TO ENJOY IT.

Hotel lobby, Bucharest:
THE LIFT IS BEING FIXED FOR THE NEXT DAY. DURING THAT TIME WE REGRET THAT YOU WILL BE UNBEARABLE.

Hotel bedroom, India:
YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID AT ANY HOUR. SHE ALWAY'S HAPPY TO HELP IN ANY WAY

Black Forest, Germany:
IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.

Newspaper, India:
A NEW SWIMMING POOL IS RAPIDLY TAKING SHAPE SINCE THE CONTRACTORS HAVE THROWN IN THE BULK OF THEIR WORKERS.

Hotel, Berlin:
BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF HAVING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE BED, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED

Laundry, India:
LADY'S, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME.
T
ourist agency, Czech Republic:
TAKE ONE OF OUR HORSE-DRIVEN CITY TOURS. WE GUARANTEE NO MISCARRIAGES.

Advertisement for donkey rides, India:
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?
Dentist's advertisement, India:
TEETH FILLED AND EXTRACTED BY THE LATEST METHODISTS.





Here's the link to your post...

http://members.fortunecity.com/palmedia/Frankys/Joke073.html

only these are not of Indian origin.

P.S.:
More links to similar translations:
http://www.primepuzzle.com/leesfunnies/genuinet.htm
http://www.angelfire.com/oh/rajneeshraina/English.html




[Edited at 2007-07-27 08:58]


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Claudia Vale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's so funny! Jul 27, 2007

[quote]Thomas Pfann wrote:
The text on those tags said "Remove this attachement". The German translation underneath statet "Dieses Zusatzgerät entfernen" ("Remove this add-on device").

Yes, you can just imagine it all going horribly wrong and people ending up with dismantled machine parts all over the place.


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Claudia Vale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Excellent! Jul 27, 2007

Original: May contain traces of nuts

Label: "Puede contener trazas de tuercas"


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