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Off topic: Have you ever seen a translation so bad it made you cringe?
Autor de la hebra: Didi18

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brasil
Local time: 16:04
portugués al inglés
+ ...
Film Aug 12, 2020

I remember in a film hearing 'I'm going to sue my boss' and the subtitle 'Vou suar com o chefe' which literally means 'I'm going to sweat with the boss'.

marijaflora
 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 11:04
Miembro 2006
noruego al inglés
+ ...
Ambiguity in language Aug 12, 2020

Rachel Fell wrote:

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

Didi18 wrote:

I recently came across this one:

"Serve a child-size portion" translated as "Serve a portion of children"

Have you ever seen a translation so bad it made you wonder if the translator actually knew the target language?



In your case, the source is also not really convincing. I think a portion of the size of a child would be quite a serving.

And I have often seen source texts where I wondered if the author actually knew the source language.


It's just English, and a not uncommon expression.


Semantically ambiguous, but usage and common sense provide the correct interpretation.



[Edited at 2020-08-12 17:30 GMT]


Didi18
MollyRose
writeaway
Sarah Maidstone
 

Didi18
Estados Unidos
Local time: 10:04
Miembro 2020
inglés al español
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
Thanks for sharing and thanks for the laughs Aug 13, 2020

Thank you for sharing these lovely mistranslations. They were so funny I couldn't stop laughing.

In the US, we say "child-size" to describe the size of something that is smaller than the normal, adult-size version. (The adult-size version is not the size of an adult, by the way). We know what it means and we don't make the mistake of thinking it means something else. However, not everybody in the world uses "child-size" to describe something that is "of a size suitable for a child".
... See more
Thank you for sharing these lovely mistranslations. They were so funny I couldn't stop laughing.

In the US, we say "child-size" to describe the size of something that is smaller than the normal, adult-size version. (The adult-size version is not the size of an adult, by the way). We know what it means and we don't make the mistake of thinking it means something else. However, not everybody in the world uses "child-size" to describe something that is "of a size suitable for a child". So, if translated by someone who doesn't know how to translate the meaning (and only translates the words) the result can be hilariously horrifying.

I can't imagine a world without translators.
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MollyRose
expressisverbis
 

Aimee Chen
Australia
Mistranslation Aug 13, 2020

Didi18 wrote:

Thank you for sharing these lovely mistranslations. They were so funny I couldn't stop laughing.

In the US, we say "child-size" to describe the size of something that is smaller than the normal, adult-size version. (The adult-size version is not the size of an adult, by the way). We know what it means and we don't make the mistake of thinking it means something else. However, not everybody in the world uses "child-size" to describe something that is "of a size suitable for a child". So, if translated by someone who doesn't know how to translate the meaning (and only translates the words) the result can be hilariously horrifying.

I can't imagine a world without translators.




That's true. I totally agree with you.

[Edited at 2020-08-13 07:33 GMT]


Didi18
expressisverbis
 

Veronika Hoffmann
Alemania
Local time: 19:04
inglés al alemán
Futurama Aug 13, 2020

Futurama was notorious for its terrible translation. At the very beginning of the very first episode, the translator translated "Doomsayers cautiously upbeat" with "Weltuntergangspropheten behutsam verprügelt" (Doomsayers beat up cautiously). They did fix that later on the DVDs, though.

Didi18
 

Arabic & More  Identity Verified
Jordania
árabe al inglés
+ ...
Hostility Aug 14, 2020

A local hospital has a "Hostility Services" department (instead of Hospitality).

Didi18
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
expressisverbis
Andy Watkinson
Fatine777
 

MollyRose  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 12:04
Miembro 2010
inglés al español
+ ...
Fire plan Aug 14, 2020

Years ago I saw a Spanish "fire plan" sign at the health department that was horrendous! I don´t remember much of it now, but almost everything about it was wrong except for the drawing and arrows. I sure am glad they´ve never had to use it.

Here is what I remember:

The title was Fire Plan: Plan de Disparo (Shooting Plan)
They translated the names of the intersecting streets, telling patients to go out to Alta Calle instead of High Street.
Sala de Bañ
... See more
Years ago I saw a Spanish "fire plan" sign at the health department that was horrendous! I don´t remember much of it now, but almost everything about it was wrong except for the drawing and arrows. I sure am glad they´ve never had to use it.

Here is what I remember:

The title was Fire Plan: Plan de Disparo (Shooting Plan)
They translated the names of the intersecting streets, telling patients to go out to Alta Calle instead of High Street.
Sala de Baño (Bath Room)
They used something crazy for fire extinguisher, using the word "disparo."
They never used a correct word for "fire" on the whole thing.

I couldn´t stand it, so I kindly asked for permission to retranslate it for them because "it had some errors and Spanish speakers would not understand it." They said ok, and I painstakingly made a photocopy, covered the words with white paper and tape, made a few copies of that, redrew some lines that I had to cover, and then redid it as neatly as I could with a correct translation. After I gave it to them, I never saw it up on the wall. They just kept the stupid old one! I don´t know what they did with mine. They should have put it up because they knew that I could communicate well in Spanish. I think whoever did it just looked up the words in a bilingual dictionary.
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Didi18
expressisverbis
 

James Plastow  Identity Verified
Reino Unido
Local time: 18:04
Miembro 2020
japonés al inglés
From Japan Aug 14, 2020

This is probably my favourite example from Japan, from a car rental brochure

"When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigour."

Quite a nice collection here
https://www.alphadictionary.com/fun/mistranslation.html

A power strip in
... See more
This is probably my favourite example from Japan, from a car rental brochure

"When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigour."

Quite a nice collection here
https://www.alphadictionary.com/fun/mistranslation.html

A power strip in Japanese is literally called "Octopus legs" and I have actually seen it translated that way...

[Edited at 2020-08-14 23:42 GMT]
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Didi18
expressisverbis
Marina Taffetani
writeaway
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 02:04
Miembro
chino al inglés
+ ...
Cringe Aug 15, 2020

I have never cringed at a translation. I have been shocked, I have laughed, but usually it's "ugh", sigh, look at the camera and say, "It's a living."

Didi18
 

Didi18
Estados Unidos
Local time: 10:04
Miembro 2020
inglés al español
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
Another Spanish horror translation Aug 15, 2020

MollyRose wrote:

Years ago I saw a Spanish "fire plan" sign at the health department that was horrendous! I don´t remember much of it now, but almost everything about it was wrong except for the drawing and arrows. I sure am glad they´ve never had to use it.

Here is what I remember:

The title was Fire Plan: Plan de Disparo (Shooting Plan)
They translated the names of the intersecting streets, telling patients to go out to Alta Calle instead of High Street.
Sala de Baño (Bath Room)
They used something crazy for fire extinguisher, using the word "disparo."
They never used a correct word for "fire" on the whole thing.

I couldn´t stand it, so I kindly asked for permission to retranslate it for them because "it had some errors and Spanish speakers would not understand it." They said ok, and I painstakingly made a photocopy, covered the words with white paper and tape, made a few copies of that, redrew some lines that I had to cover, and then redid it as neatly as I could with a correct translation. After I gave it to them, I never saw it up on the wall. They just kept the stupid old one! I don´t know what they did with mine. They should have put it up because they knew that I could communicate well in Spanish. I think whoever did it just looked up the words in a bilingual dictionary.


I saw a preschool flyer that was from Spanish to English, and one paragraph was about not bothering the children during nap time. Unfortunately, in Spanish "to bother" is "molestar", so it was translated as "don't molest the children when they're sleeping".


Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
expressisverbis
Sandra & Kenneth Grossman
Chris S
writeaway
 

Sorana_M.
Rumania
Local time: 20:04
inglés al rumano
Me too Aug 16, 2020

LEXpert wrote:

-"Always give an unconscious victim fluids by mouth".
Actual meaning: *Never* give an unconscious victim *anything* by mouth.



I've had this one in an EN to RO project where I was supposed to only translate the new entries (old entries = locked segments).

I did inform the client about it, and about others like it.


Didi18
 

Sorana_M.
Rumania
Local time: 20:04
inglés al rumano
Fire exit Aug 16, 2020

A couple of years ago, my daughter was admitted to a hospital in Bucharest, Romania, for a week, and I accompanied her. While pacing the halls, I noticed the fire exit diagram, the instructions were bilingual, English and Romanian. Except "beams" had become "beans"...

Also, I have seen this note stuck on the window of a local mini-bus (now they've replaced them with regular buses): "price of calatory". "calatory" was supposed to mean "fare" or "ride".

And there has been
... See more
A couple of years ago, my daughter was admitted to a hospital in Bucharest, Romania, for a week, and I accompanied her. While pacing the halls, I noticed the fire exit diagram, the instructions were bilingual, English and Romanian. Except "beams" had become "beans"...

Also, I have seen this note stuck on the window of a local mini-bus (now they've replaced them with regular buses): "price of calatory". "calatory" was supposed to mean "fare" or "ride".

And there has been a time when I was in Selgros with my daughter, looking for olive oil. And there was this label on one of the bottles, I'm so sorry I didn't keep the picture, the text was a mishmash of Italian and Romanian, like two words in Italian, three in Romanian, and so on.
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Didi18
expressisverbis
 

WS McCallum
Nueva Zelanda
Local time: 07:04
francés al inglés
East and West Aug 17, 2020

Yes, I have seen many over the years. Here are two:

The translation of a leaflet from English by a Japanese translation agency for a scenic flights company that was sent to the NZ translation agency I worked with for checking (and layout work, as I recall). We had to contact the aviation company and tell them why their leaflet's heading "Take a walk at 23,000 feet" would not be very appealing to anyone except possibly members of the Yakuza looking for cheap body disposal.

... See more
Yes, I have seen many over the years. Here are two:

The translation of a leaflet from English by a Japanese translation agency for a scenic flights company that was sent to the NZ translation agency I worked with for checking (and layout work, as I recall). We had to contact the aviation company and tell them why their leaflet's heading "Take a walk at 23,000 feet" would not be very appealing to anyone except possibly members of the Yakuza looking for cheap body disposal.

And a famously arrogant Frenchwoman in Wellington I had to work with who translated "Best Western Hotels" as "Les meilleurs hôtels de l'ouest" and then simply would not listen when I told her it was the name of a hotel chain, not a trade description. She tried to put me in my place in front of the director of the translation company we worked for at the time. My reply: "Well, there's a Best Western Hotel on Willis Street - it's 5 minutes' walk from here. You can go and have a look if you don't believe me."



[Edited at 2020-08-19 09:01 GMT]
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Didi18
expressisverbis
Fatine777
 

expressisverbis
Portugal
Local time: 18:04
Miembro 2015
inglés al portugués
+ ...
Try not to cry: Sep 5, 2020

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbKsR-Nq8KU



I wonder if these recipes as well as their texts are real! I mean written for fun only. It's unbelievable!

[Edited at 2020-09-05 15:38 GMT]


Chris S
Philip Lees
Mervyn Henderson
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Reino Unido
sueco al inglés
+ ...
Lol Sep 5, 2020

expressisverbis wrote:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbKsR-Nq8KU



I wonder if these recipes as well as their texts are real! I mean written for fun only. It's unbelievable!

[Edited at 2020-09-05 15:38 GMT]


If you visited that restaurant, would you order whatever (and the rest) just to find out? I know I would.


expressisverbis
Mervyn Henderson
 
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