Mistranslations - English to Balkan

Job Well Done by Hand

One of the pitfalls of the tourist trade is that of signs for everyday things, or for tourist products. The countries that formed the former Yugoslavia have their own separate languages. Those living in the region are usually fluent in at least one and maybe up to three or four languages, with English as the fourth or fifth language they learn. Suffice it to say, English as a language is still trying to make headway in the Balkan countries.

Mistranslations are fairly common, no matter the country. This particular sign seems to also have a problem with transliteration. With no other context but the words, handicraft is a passable translation, which could not go wrong. This is where the translation bends a bit, and ends up being a re-interpretation of “handicraft” and a slight leap and a jump to “hand job.” What makes this a tragedy is that it is all of two words, and a direct translation would have been handicraft, and the Bosnians have a different word for “handmade” and even for “hand job.”

This is one mistranslation, which seems far-fetched and may not have used online tools. From the looks of it, even if the sign was printed on a computer, the translation itself may have been from someone trying to play a trick on the owner, or a smart-aleck trying to impress the owner of the handicraft or tourist shop. The free part may even have been a joke on the shop owner.

Either way, a free job well done is more than welcome

Image credit – 22 Hilariously Inappropriate Mistranslations by Adam Davis via Buzzfeed

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