Mistranslations Can Be Embarrassing!

Mistranslations can be funny and weird, but also embarrassing—like the one in this picture.

Where do you think a mistranslation could possibly lead you? These fine Turkish men were united for a cause with nothing but goodwill, but it seems they were doomed to the dungeons of lust! All they wanted was a decent educational symposium on traditional handcraft and instead, they got much more than they bargained for.

Translating a text from Turkish into English is not easy, especially for someone who has not mastered the source or target languages. It appears that the person who translated this banner was unaware of the subtleties of the English language, and probably used an online translation app to help with the task.
Ozgur Tackin, one of our professional Turkish translators, sent us an accurate version of the Turkish banner text: “12th Traditional Handcraft Education Symposium.”

We don’t need to remind you that a huge difference separates “handcraft” from “handjob,” which is why this mistranslation is so funny—and embarrassing! For anyone who is still uncertain, “handcraft” refers to a manually made object (probably by an artisan), while a “handjob” is a sexual act involving the use of one’s hands. We might be mistaken, but we feel very comfortable in our presumption that the men in the picture were not seeking out the latter. (At least not in the context of an education symposium.)
This is yet another example of the significant and negative impact of an avoidable mistranslation upon a company or organization.

At Day Translations, Inc., we rarely discuss public relations disasters, because the reputations of our clients are paramount. We are only interested in providing you with accurate and perfect translations, each and every time. Whether you need Turkish translated into English, or translations for any other language pair, our standards are not negotiable.

Have you ever found an embarrassing mistranslation? Share it with us in our comments section, as we may publish it alongside our other #mistranslations!

Image credit: A Turkish symposium image that went viral around 2001.

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