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 the first) spells out what was supposedly the translation of the first line. “You’re beautiful” – this was what the Arabic line meant according to Lohan’s post.

However, somebody knowledgeable in the Arabic language pointed out that Lohan got it wrong. What was supposedly an innocent and inspirational Instagram post turned into an embarrassing little mistake. Blogs and showbiz sites wasted no time feasting on the embarrassing moment, trying to amplify the non-issue everybody would tend to commit every now and then.

Donkey ≠ Beautiful

The Arabic line Lohan posted literally translated to “You Are a Donkey” or “You’re an Ass.” Well, “ass” could be very slightly close to desirable, like the informal term used as a synecdoche for sex appeal, but not in the context of “Lohan’s Arabic.” The Arabic term for donkey also does not have that different “ass” used on humans for a synonym. After followers and other Instagram users called Lohan out for the gaffe, the 28-year-old actress decided to remove the post, a logical move to avert further embarrassment.

Of course, this is not to say that donkeys are not beautiful creatures. It’s just that technically, Lohan was wrong. The mistranslation was particularly uncharacteristic for someone who is trying to learn a second language and supposedly making progress with it. Lohan would have posted something close to accurate, albeit awkward, if she at least verified her Arabic with Google Translate or BabelFish.

Lohan’s Excuse

After the actress removed the embarrassing Instagram post, people thought the little issue would have already gone away. However, Lohan unwittingly dragged it a bit further. On Thursday, she came up with a defense by saying that it was an “inside joke.”

In a succeeding Instagram post, the former Disney child star said that it was funny how things went, claiming that she posted the embarrassing “You’re Beautiful” photo to test her Arabic without Google translation. She tried convincing those who view her Instagram posts that she already knew it was wrong. To keep things light, she dropped a side comment relevant to the bag photo that went with her defense post: “I love @maisonvalentino.”

Of course, not many would be willing to believe her claim. After all, the Internet is hardly a place for restrained opinion and bashing. The littlest issues will always be amplified. To be fair, though, that little gaffe is too petty to be given attention. Lohan may even deserve a praise for knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re.” Well, it’s just a funny little error, at least more entertaining than some exploitative reality shows shown on TV, and worth writing about on this blog about mistranslations.

Image credit – Screengrab of Lindsay Lohan’s Instagram post

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