Mistranslated Tattoos—Zoë Kravitz

Arabic tattoos are on the rise in the fashion world. Movie stars, sportsmen, singers and other celebrities are flaunting them– just do a simple search on your favorite search engine and you’ll pull up hundreds upon hundreds of images.

Arabic writing is exceptionally unique and very mysterious. Being a literary language for over 1500 years, the calligraphy of writing Arabic is an art of writing. Everyone can recognize the gorgeous script, but only a few will know what it means. Unfortunately for Zoë Kravitz, her tattoo artist certainly does not.

While the tattoo may look pleasant, it is grammatically incorrect. When it is translated literally, it reads: “let the love the rule”. However, “rule” can also translate into “camp, or base”.

I’m guessing that the tattoo was meant to read as “let love rule”, a title of one of her father’s songs. In its current form, the Arabic writing doesn’t make any sense, as “qaeda” does not have the same meaning as “rule” in the sense of ruling over a country. A better translation would have been: دع الحب يسيطر

Remember, when you’re tattooing a foreign language that you don’t understand, don’t trust a machine with your translation, use a professional translation service!