translation is all about
understanding a culture


Some examples of not such good translation...



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Translation nightmares

The examples below may be amusing, but how badly do they reflect on these businesses? The following prove how translation is about much more than just mechanically moving words between languages. This is just a selection, and we'll keep adding to and changing it. If you've seen something amusing that you'd like us to consider including, please let us know.


Some news stories on the Internet:

Welsh road sign mix-up

Bladder alert lost in translation

Mistranslation causes diplomatic issue


Some specific examples:

"We take your bags and send them in all directions."
- sign at a Scandinavian airport

"Our wines leave you nothing to hope for."
- on the menu of a Swiss restaurant

"The lift is being fixed. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable."
- sign in Bucharest hotel lobby

"Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time."
- sign in a Rome laundry

"Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar."

- sign in a cocktail lounge, Norway

"In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the porter."

- sign in a Vienna hotel

"Specialist in women and other diseases."

- sign in a Doctor's surgery, Rome

"This hotel is renowned for its peace and solitude. In fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude."

- hotel brochure, Italy

"Please leave your values at the front desk."

- sign in a Paris hotel

"The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid."

- sign in a hotel in the former Yugoslavia

"You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists and writers are buried daily except Thursday."

- in a Moscow hotel next to an Orthodox monastery

"Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension."

- in a skiing hotel in Austria

"Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roast duck let loose; beef rashers beaten in the country people's fashion."

- restaurant menu in Poland

"Please do not bring solicitors into your room."

- sign in hotel room, Thailand

"The manager has personally passed all of the water served here."

- sign in a hotel in Acapulco


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