Off topic: A translation failed... not in the usual way
Thread poster: Taija Hyvönen

Taija Hyvönen
Local time: 22:50
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Mar 6, 2009

A funny shot I stumbled upon...

I think I can reconstruct the events that lead to this and I think the words "please translate this free of charge immediately" are involvedicon_biggrin.gif

[Edited at 2009-03-06 06:50 GMT]


Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:50
English to German
+ ...
Beautiful!!! Mar 6, 2009

Thanks for the laugh, Taija! I am still giggling...



Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:50
English to Dutch
+ ...
Old one Mar 6, 2009

This one has been posted here at least three times before. But never mind.

What happened was, the local council sent a translation request to their usual translator's office. They were not in, so the automatic system sent an 'out of office' message. Thinking the translators were really prompt this time, the local council assumed this to be the translation.
No free translation involved, but a very painful misunderstanding.


Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:50
French to German
+ ...
... but good one! Mar 6, 2009

I wonder how many times a year that kind of misunderstanding actually happens... and has some consequences!

Laurent K.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:50
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Consequences Mar 6, 2009

ScottishWildCat wrote:
I wonder how many times a year that kind of misunderstanding actually happens... and has some consequences!

Often laughter.

A training film/video distributor over the years found several films/tapes externally labeled as:
- Universal Picture Header
- Film Starts Here
- Eastman Kodak Co.
- Stop Here and Discuss


RieM  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:50
English to Japanese
+ ...
I wish I could show you the pic! Mar 6, 2009

But I cannot locate it any more. It was circulated before the summer Olympic game last year - it may have been shown here, I guess.

In China, a restaurateur eager to attract an international clientele decided to display the restaurant’s English name on the storefront next to its Chinese name. Unfortunately, the machine translation application he chose to perform the task was not working at the moment, and his restaurant now bears the English name “Translate server error.”

You find more blunders here. I'm sure some of you are already familar with them. My favorite: “It takes a hard man to make a chicken affectionate.”



Natalia Pedrosa (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
I have another one Mar 7, 2009

While I was at University, the teacher told us of some mistranslations, but the best one I ever found was in a Spanish restaurant explaining the menu:

"Rape Fishermen's Style"

How about it?


Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 21:50
German to Serbian
+ ...
funny Mar 8, 2009

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

"Rape Fishermen's Style"

ha ha


Taija Hyvönen
Local time: 22:50
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Why I posted this sign Mar 8, 2009

Menus and such full are of translation mistakes ranging from hilarious to embarrassing, I'm sure we all know countless examples.

This sign, though, is far funnier, I think. It's not just yet again someone not quite up to it trying their best to translate and missing the target. José Henrique found some similar examples - I remember reading a newspaper and seeing a headline saying "Headline goes here".

Maybe it's just me... but I find these much more entertaining than the usual translation errors. It's like a catching a glimpse of how stuff works, and what happens when it doesn't work.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

A translation failed... not in the usual way

Advanced search

SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »
WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search