Off topic: Translation Bloopers
Thread poster: Pnina
Pnina
Israel
Local time: 15:50
Italian to Hebrew
+ ...
Jun 24, 2006

Dear Translators,
Recently I gave a lecture on translation in a club of working mothers. I topped my lecture off with an amusing collection of translation bloopers that were based on misreading or misunderstanding of the source language. Would like to share with you my best one. (It demonstrates the importance of having a professional translator).
A new restaurant was opened in Jerusalem. Its owner wrote several menus in Hebrew and asked one of his acquanitances - a young lady who came to Israel from the USA as a new immigrant - to translate them into English. One of the items in the breakfast menu was croissant. The Hebrew word for this French pastry is saharon, but most Israelis are used to call it croissant. So in the breakfast menu the word croissant was written in Hebrew characters. The young lady read this transliteration and translated it into English as kerosene...


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 08:50
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Moving this topic... Jun 24, 2006

...to the Lighter Side of T&I Forum.

Nancy


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:50
Member
English to Turkish
Can you beat this? Jun 26, 2006

The best blooper I ever know is "yüz numara", which is sometimes used for "restroom" in Turkish. The literal meaning is "number one hundred" (No. 100). Guess what? About a century ago, someone just misunderstood "sans numero" in spoken French

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:50
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Russians in a hurry: bistro Jun 26, 2006

Definitions of bistro on the Web:

* Fr. A small restaurant, featuring simple fare, sometimes with entertainment.
www.hometravelagency.com/dictionary/ltrb.html

Well yes, but it originated after the Napoleonic Wars when there were Russian troops in Paris, often in a hurry to get served, so they would call out "Быстро!" ("Bystro"!) to the waiters, meaning "Quickly! Hurry up!". So a restaurant set up to satisfy them became know as a bistro, which at the time must have been the equivalent of what we call a "fast food joint". But bistros these days are not at all the same as fast food joints.


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Pnina
Israel
Local time: 15:50
Italian to Hebrew
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for sharing Jun 28, 2006

Jack Doughty wrote:

Definitions of bistro on the Web:

* Fr. A small restaurant, featuring simple fare, sometimes with entertainment.
www.hometravelagency.com/dictionary/ltrb.html

Well yes, but it originated after the Napoleonic Wars when there were Russian troops in Paris, often in a hurry to get served, so they would call out "Быстро!" ("Bystro"!) to the waiters, meaning "Quickly! Hurry up!". So a restaurant set up to satisfy them became know as a bistro, which at the time must have been the equivalent of what we call a "fast food joint". But bistros these days are not at all the same as fast food joints.


Dear Jack,
Thank you for sharing this etymological fact. Have told it to my Russian neighbours (who came from Moscow to Jerusalem 9 years ago). They like it.


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xxxmegusto
Local time: 15:50
English to Greek
pajero/montero Jan 8, 2009

A Colombian translator friend told me the Mitsubishi Pajero had to have its name changed to Montero in the Spanish-speaking world because the word means 'wanker' in Spanish.

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