A Mistranslated Sign Makes an All-time Favorite Dish Totally Unappetizing

Translations if not accurate can lead to chaos especially if the mistranslation involves steps in a process like teaching martial arts like Taekwondo. When it comes to mistranslations related to food, a wrong word used in a restaurant’s signage or menu may make prospective diners have second thoughts about trying what the restaurant offers.

A wrong word advertising a specialty dish may dampen diners’ appetites instead of tickle their taste buds or arouse their curiosity. “Legitimate Barbecue” does not sound appetizing at all precisely because the word legitimate refers to something conforming to law or rules or something that can be defended by logic or reasoning. It is an obvious mistranslation. It is too serious a word to describe an international delight like barbecue.

The appropriate word is “authentic.” Think of the many diners that would queue in a restaurant to have a taste of anything authentic. Advertising that you serve authentic barbecue is telling the world your barbecue is done the traditional and original way. Others may serve barbecue too but yours is the real thing. This is a sure come on, a far cry from the lack of appeal of legitimate barbecue.

Authentic barbecue = Legitimate barbecue is a typical example of mistranslations from Korean to English. This misuse of English by Koreans is now what is referred to as Konglish. Bad Konglish has been a cause of concern especially in the area of tourism. Mistranslated signs, directions, brochures or websites will create a problematic situation for tourists who might end up in far-off destinations not part of their travel plan. It is said that when the Incheon Airport was first opened to serve flights from all over the world, 49 signs were found to have mistranslations. Imagine the confusion, misunderstanding, and possible loss of business the signs might have caused.

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