Off topic: Funnier than the average translation
Thread poster: Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:00
French to English
+ ...
Nov 26, 2003

I just saw a short list of unbelievably bad translations. Very poor work, but they are good for a laugh:

"In accordance with your Instructions I have given birth to twins in the enclosed envelope."

"By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling better."

"I am enclosing my marriage certificate with three children. One of then is a mistake as you can see when you look into it."

"The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1983."

"Will you please send someone to mend the garden path. My wife tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant."


Andy Watkinson
Local time: 13:00
Catalan to English
+ ...
Not so much translations....more urban myth (unfortunately) Nov 26, 2003

Legend: Humorous list is compiled from genuine comments submitted by welfare applicants.

Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2000]

I am forwarding my marriage certificate and 6 children. I had seven but one died, which was baptized on a half sheet of paper.

I am writing to the welfare department to say that my baby was born two years old. When do I get my money?

Mrs. Jones has not had any clothes for a year and has been visited regularly by the clergy.

I cannot get sick pay. I have six children . . . Can you tell me why?

I am glad to report that my husband who was reported missing is dead.

This is my eighth child. What are you going to do about it?

Please find out for certain if my husband is dead. The man I am now living with can't eat or do anything until he knows.

I am very much annoyed to find that you have branded my son illiterate. This is a dirty lie, as I was married to his father a week before he was born.

In answer to your letter, I have given birth to a ten-pound son. I hope this is satisfactory.

I am forwarding my marriage certificate and my children, one of which was a mistake as you can see.

My husband got his project cut off for two weeks and I haven't had any relief since.

Unless I get my husband's money soon, I will be forced to lead an immortal life.

You have changed my little boy to a girl. Will this make any difference?

I have no children as yet, as my husband is a truck driver and works day and night.

In accordance with your instructions, I have given birth to twins in the enclosed envelope.

I want my money as soon as I can get it. I have been in bed with the doctor for two weeks and he doesn't do me any good. If things don't improve I will have to send for another doctor.

Origins: As is typical with such humorous lists of supposedly "real-life" examples, the howlers are written by women, a circumstance which invokes the widely-believed stereotype of illiterate welfare moms and thus makes the compilation appear more believable. Could these have come off real social assistance applications? Anything is possible, of course, but we can only note that this list has been circulating in various forms for decades, with new entries being added and old ones dropped off while various attributions have been added and subtracted throughout the years. For example, the entry about the woman who hasn't had any relief since the husband's project was cut off appeared in a collection of funny letters circulated since the 1930s, in which it was headed: "Dere Mr. President." Likewise, the entries about the unclothed Mrs. Jones who is visited regularly by the clergy, a mother irate that her son has been labeled an illiterate, the bus driver who works day and night to get his wife pregnant, the twins born in the envelope, and the child who was a mistake all appear in a 1967 Reader's Digest collection identified as "Troubles at North Dakota State Welfare Headquarters." (Included in that list but not part of the Internet version quoted above is: "Please send my money at once as I need it badly. I have fallen into errors with my landlady.")


Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:00
+ ...
Very funny Nov 27, 2003

Thank you both for the laugh.

I love this one:

I am very much annoyed to find that you have branded my son illiterate. This is a dirty lie, as I was married to his father a week before he was born.

[Edited at 2003-11-27 01:29]


R. James
United States
Local time: 07:00
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Really, Nov 27, 2003 gotta love Snopesicon_biggrin.gif


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:00
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Newspaper headlines (at least some of them are genuine) Nov 27, 2003

Eighth Army Push Bottles Up Germans
Legless VC opens pub
Prostitutes appeal to Pope
Dealers will hear car talk at noon
Milk drinkers are turning to powder
12 on their way to cruise among dead in plane crash
Killer sentenced to die for second time in ten years
Astronaut takes blame for gas in spacecraft
Quarter of a million Chinese live on water
Include your children when baking cookies
Old school pillars are replaced by alumni
Lawmen from Mexico barbecue guests
Lack of brains hinders research
Red tape holds up new bridge
Squad helps dog bite victims
Children's Stool Great for Use in Garden
Stud Tires Out
Stiff Opposition to Casketless Funeral Plan
Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case
Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
Queen Mary Having Bottom Scraped
New Housing For Elderly Not Yet Dead
12 On Their Way to Cruise Among Dead in Plane Crash
N.J. Judge to Rule on Nude Beach
Chou Remains Cremated
Chinese Apeman Dated
Hershey Bars Protest
Deer Kill 130,000
Complaints About NBA Referees Growing Ugly
Man Eating Piranha Mistakenly Sold As Pet Fish
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say
Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
Safety Experts say school bus passengers should be belted
Survivor of Siamese twins joins parents
Farmer Bill dies in house
Is there a ring of debris around Uranus?
Panda mating fails; Veterinarian takes over
Soviet virgin lands short of goal again
British left waffles on Falkland Islands
Eye drops off shelf
Teacher strikes idle kids
Shot off woman's leg helps Nicklaus to 66
Enraged cow injures farmer with axe
Plane too close to ground, crash probe told
Miners refuse to work after death
Stolen painting found by tree
2 sisters reunited after 18 years in checkout counter
Never withhold herpes infection from loved one
If strike isn't settled quickly, it may last a while
Enfield couple slain; Police suspect homicide
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Sneak Attack by Soviet Bloc Not Foreseen
War Dims Hopes for Peace
Blue Skies Unless it's Cloudy
Bankrupt Association Termed in Poor Shape
Food is Basic to Student Diet
Lack Of Water Hurts Ice Fishing
Cookies With Condoms Fail Family Taste-Test
Condom Firm Stretches Product Line
White Flower Two Day Sale-(Friday ONLY)
Toxic Waste Tour Planned
Grandmother of eight makes hole in one
Deaf mute gets new hearing in killing
Two convicts evade noose, jury hung
William Kelly was fed secretary
Organ festival ends in smashing climax
Nicaragua sets goal to wipe out literacy
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
Man is fatally slain
Death causes loneliness, feeling of isolation
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy
Arson Suspect is Held in Massachusetts Fire
Ban On Soliciting Dead in Trotwood
Lansing Residents Can Drop Off Trees
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing
Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing
Air Head Fired
Steals Clock, Faces Time
Prosecutor Releases Probe into Under-Sheriff
Bank Drive-in Window Blocked by Board
Hospitals are sued by 7 foot doctors
Some Pieces of Rock Hudson Sold at Auction
Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training
Larger Kangaroos Leap Farther, Researchers Find
Court Rules Boxer Shorts Are Indeed Underwear
Biting nails can be sign of tenseness in a person
How we feel about ourselves is the core of self-esteem, says author Louise Hart
'Light' meals are lower in fat, calories
Fish lurk in streams
Alcohol ads promote drinking
Malls try to attract shoppers
Official: Only rain will cure drought
Study Finds Sex, Pregnancy Link
Whatever Their Motives, Moms Who Kill Kids Still Shock Us
Teen-age girls often have babies fathered by men
Man shoots neighbor with machete
Tomatoes come in big, little, medium sizes
Dirty-Air Cities Far Deadlier Than Clean Ones, Study Shows
Wachtler tells graduates that life in jail is demeaning
Free Advice: Bundle up when out in the cold
Economist uses theory to explain economy
Discoveries: Older blacks have edge in longevity
Bible church's focus is the Bible
Clinton pledges restraint in use of nuclear weapons
Dr. Ruth to Talk about Sex with Newspaper Editors
Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal Again
Reagan Wins on Budget, but More Lies Ahead
Juvenile Court Tries Shooting Defendant
NJ Judge to Rule on Nude Beach
Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
Safety experts say school bus passengers should be belted
Survivor of Siamese twins joins parents
'Man struck by lightning faces battery charge'
'Local High School drop-outs cut in half'
Kids make nutritious snacks
Red tape holds up new bridges.
Two sisters reunited after 18 years in checkout counter.
Survivor of Siamese twins joins parents.
Diet of premature babies affects IQ.

[Edited at 2004-01-13 17:01]


Ivan Petryshyn
English to Italian
+ ...
The reason Nov 28, 2003

The reason for such misinterpretations is simple - bad knowledge of both lexics and , what is more tragical ,- complete incompetence in the syntax .
Funny - yes ! , but very sad for the customers , too .
Sincerely , P. Ivan


Local time: 07:00
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Misplaced modifiers Nov 30, 2003

the one I remember from grade 7 : We watched the parade go by on the roof.

Fropm an auto accident insurance claim I read while working in England :
We driving home with plants from the nursery when suddenly a hedge blocked my view


Gordon Darroch (X)
Local time: 12:00
Dutch to English
+ ...
I saw this one Dec 4, 2003

in the Dundee Courier, a legendarily bad Scottish daily newspaper, above a report of a Fatal Accident Inquiry:



Alexandru Pojoga
Local time: 14:00
Japanese to English
+ ...
Priceless, Jack! Jan 13, 2004



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