Mistranslations - Wiretransfer

Translation Should not be Done Word for Word

Professional translation means grasping the meaning of the source language and conveying it properly into the target language. It is not possible to do word-for-word translation because there the meaning will not be the same. While some of the mistranslated signs and menus we have...

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Mistranslations - Italianization

Mistranslations or Reinterpretations? When Italianization Confuses

Disney songs are so popular that they have become the go-to options for parents who want to expose their youngsters to music. They carry a universal appeal. They even get translated in different languages. Generally, it’s difficult to find issues in them. They are written...

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Mistranslations - Age of Ultron

Age of Ultron: Initial Chinese Subtitles are Hilarious but Frustrating

Chinese-speaking fans of the Avengers recently witnessed how troublesome erroneous human judgment can be – and it’s not about Tony Stark’s error in judgment in secretly creating Ultron. Disgruntled and disappointed – this was how several cinemagoers in China felt after watching the opening of...

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Mistranslation - Medium Cooked Steak

A Literal Translation Misses the Point

There are just two words in the tiny red flag to be translated – “al” and “punto”. “Al” which is a combination of the preposition “a” and the article “el” means “to the” or “at the.” “Punto” on the other hand has several...

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Mistranslation - Computer Confusion

Confusion on the Use of Computers

This sign is telling patrons that there is a limit to the use of the computers each day. If the Spanish instruction were to be translated directly into English the translation would be “A limit of 30 minutes on the equipment once a day.” So...

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Mistranslations - Donkey and Beautiful

In Lindsay Lohan’s Arabic, Donkey is Beautiful

The beautiful Lindsay Lohan attempts to show off some progress in her effort to learn Arabic and commits a mistake. It all started when she posted a photo bearing two lines of words. The first line was in Arabic while the second line (right below...

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Mistranslation-Confusing pictographs

Feman? Male Man? A Mistranslation that Has Genders Mixed Up

Pictographs are meant to make signs easier to comprehend. These signs are supposed to be self-explanatory and not subject to cultural barriers. They could easily be understood by anyone from any part of the world. It is when mistranslations appear under these pictographs that confusion...

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Mistranslation - Shower Etiquette

A Not so Bad Sign that Could Have Been a Lot Better

For clarity and to leave no room for misinterpretations, signs have to use words that are familiar to people who will read them. This sign in Malay says that you can take a shower in the area. That is clear enough. It also says that...

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Mistranslation - Country becomes Turkey

An Amusing Mistranslation that Names a Bird and not a Nation

Translating words that have 2 or multiple meanings can be tricky. Choosing the right translation for a word as it is used in a sentence or phrase is critical and should be done with care and diligence or else confusion will arise. This shirt label, like...

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