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Off topic: When not hiring a translator can be hilarious!
Thread poster: Soledad Azcona

Soledad Azcona  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 11, 2007

A colleague sent me a fantastic list of signs from different countries written in unexplicable hilarious English. I have been laughing alone in front of the computer so much that I wanted to share the experience with you!

Here it goes…enjoy it!

In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.

In a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

In a Bangkok dry cleaner's: Drop your trousers here for best results.

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.

A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest: 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 that purpose.

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.

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

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

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

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by latest Methodists.

In the office of a Roman doctor: Specialist in women an other diseases.

In a Tokyo hotel: Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave nothing to hope for.

In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency: Take one of our horse-driven city tours we guarantee no miscarriages.

Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?

Share if you have more of these!

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Aurélie Charvet  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:42
English to French
+ ...
This is hilarious! Oct 12, 2007

And so true! And they're not even ashamed of themselves.

I recently saw a notice in a touristy area which said:

"For the safety of your vehicle, please look your door".

We had so much fun imagining that the only way for us to keep the car was to look intently at the door so that nobody could get in!

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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:42
German to French
+ ...
Oh my God Oct 12, 2007

This is excellent !!! Thanks Sole !

Here are some others I found on the web the other day - about marketing an advertising - or how to send the wrong message !

The Nova Awards in Communication

These are nominees for the Chevy Nova Award, named in Honor of the GM's fiasco in trying to market this car in Central and South America "no va" means, of course, in Spanish, "it doesn't go"

* 1. The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read "Are you lactating?"

* 2. Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer From Diarrhea"

* 3. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux"

* 4. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure.

* 5. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since many people can't read.

* 6. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.

* 7. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit Instead of "I Saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I Saw the Potato" (la papa)

* 8. Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.

* 9. The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax", depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "kokou kole", translating into "happiness in the mouth."

* 10. Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate"

* 11. When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." The company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant!"

* 12. When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its "Fly In Leather" campaign literally, which meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.

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Soledad Azcona  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Me speaks inglish Oct 12, 2007

Check this list of English humorous (un)grammatical rules!

1. Make sure each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
2. Just between you and I, the case of pronoun is important.
3. Watch out for irregular verbs which have crope into English.
4. Verbs has to agree in number with their subjects.
5. Don't use no double negatives.
6. Being bad grammar, a writer should not use dangling modifiers.
7. Join clauses good like a conjunction should.
8. A writer must be not shift your point of view.
9. About sentence fragments.
10. Don't use run-on sentences you got to punctuate them.
11. In letters essays and reports use commas to separate items in series.
12. Don't use commas, which are not necessary.
13. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
14. Its important to use apostrophes right in everybodys writing.
15. Don't abbrev.
16. Check to see if you any words out.
17. In the case of a report, check to see that jargonwise, it's A-OK.
18. As far as incomplete constructions, they are wrong.
19. About repetition, the repetition of a word might be real effective repetition - take, for instance the repetition of Abraham Lincoln.
20. In my opinion, I think that an author when he is writing should definitely not get into the habit of making use of too many unnecessary words that he does not really need in order to put his message across.
21. Use parallel construction not only to be concise but also clarify.
22. It behooves us all to avoid archaic expressions.
23. Mixed metaphors are a pain in the neck and ought to be weeded out.
24. Consult the dictionery to avoid mispelings.
25. To ignorantly split an infinitive is a practice to religiously avoid.
26. Last but not least, lay off cliches.


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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:42
German to French
+ ...
OMG Oct 13, 2007

SoleProz wrote:

24. Consult the dictionery to avoid mispelings.
25. To ignorantly split an infinitive is a practice to religiously avoid.

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Kevin Kaland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
The truth about the Chevy Nova Oct 18, 2007

Hey...I learned the truth about the Chevy Nova a while ago! All those stories are actually incorrect! The car sold rather well in Latin America, because "Nova" is nothing like "no va." The way they explained this was that it was like expecting a dining set named "Notable" to sell poorly in an English-speaking country because people would read it as "No table." Obviously not the case.

Still, I believed it when I first heard it...and the jokes remain funny As a language freak, I've read most of them before, but these are ones worth re-reading.

Thank you!

P.S. You guys should search for "funny insurance claims" too...hilarious stuff.

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Aldana Gómez Ríos  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sole's post Oct 19, 2007

SoleProz wrote:

9. About sentence fragments.
12. Don't use commas, which are not necessary.
16. Check to see if you any words out.
22. It behooves us all to avoid archaic expressions.

Those really cracked me up, especially 9 and 22!!

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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:42
German to French
+ ...
Saturday Night Laugh Oct 20, 2007

Some more.....

The lift is being fixed for the day. During that time
we regret that you will be unbearable.
(In a Bucharest hotel lobby)

When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the
horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he
still obstacle your passage, then tootle him with
vigor. If honorable horse obstacle your path, pull
over until he he pass away.
(From a Japanese car-rental firm's informative brochure)

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.
(Inside an elevator in Yugoslavia)

Please leave your values at the front desk.
(At a Paris hotel)

Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of
repose in the boots of ascension.
(At an Austrian ski lodge)

Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
(On the menu of a Swiss restaurant)

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.
(On the menu of a Polish hotel's restaurant)

For your convenience we recommend
courteous, efficient self-service.
(At a Hong Kong supermarket)

Drop your trousers here for best results.
(At a Taiwanese laundry)

Order your summers suit. Because is big rush
we will execute customers in strict rotation.
(At a Hong Kong tailor shop)

Enjoy !


[Modifié le 2007-10-20 19:54]

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Soledad Azcona  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Newspaper headlines Oct 20, 2007

I love this stuff!!:lol::lol:::lol:

These are said to be actual newspaper headlines. How far can they go to catch the reader's eye?

Include Your Children when Baking Cookies
Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case
Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents
Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?
Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms
Eye Drops Off Shelf
Enraged Cow Injures Farmer With Ax
Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Stolen Painting Found by Tree
Two Sisters Reunited After 18 Years in Checkout Counter
Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Times in 10 Years
Never Withhold Herpes Infection from Loved One
If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Deer Kill 17,000
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy
Arson Suspect Held in Massachusetts Fire
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Grandmother of eight makes hole in one
House passes gas tax onto senate
Stiff opposition expected to casketless funeral plan
Two convicts evade noose, jury hung
Milk drinkers are turning to powder
Safety experts say school bus passengers should be belted
Quarter of a million Chinese live on water
Squad helps dog bite victim
Dealers will hear car talk at noon
Lawmen from Mexico barbecue guests
Two Soviet ships collide - one dies
Autos killing 110 a day, let's resolve to do better
Smokers are productive, but death cuts efficiency
Child's death ruins couple's holiday
Blind woman gets new kidney from dad she hasn't seen in years
Death causes loneliness, feeling of isolation
Stud Tires Out
Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal Again
British Union Finds Dwarfs in Short Supply
Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing
Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing
Air Head Fired
Steals Clock, Faces Time
Old School Pillars are Replaced by Alumni
Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training

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Pablo Cañamares  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:42
Russian to Spanish
+ ...
lol Oct 21, 2007

SoleProz wrote:

5. Don't use no double negatives.


I don't see no stinkin' problem with'that, do ya?

Seriously guys, I've been cracking up laughing with this thread.

My favorite untranslation, however, comes from a Chinese Administrative building: "Question Authority"

... well, if you insist!

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SylvyN  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:42
English to Dutch
+ ...
another one Nov 23, 2007

My friend used her French card in an English shop and it told her to "Entrez votre broche" (Enter your PIN)...........

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