Mistranslation - Urinal as drink

Urinal – An Unfortunate Choice for the Name of a Food Supplement

Strictly speaking, this is not a mistranslation. It is either a funny circumstance or a pathetic choice of name for a food supplement drink. The original Slovak says:

  • Urinal
  • Nutritional Supplement
  • Comprehensive care of the urinary tract

It should be noted that the Slovak word for the English “urinal” is “pisoár” although there are other synonyms that might be better translations for the word.

For an English-speaking foreigner traveling through Slovakia, finding this health supplement drink in the supermarket would be a funny occurrence. However, this was not what the manufacturers had intended. The Urinal brand of health drink for the care of the urinary tract most probably was not intended to be sold outside of the country. You would have to go there in order to get a taste of this drink. Or you can order online, if you can find a vendor.

Having weird product names is going to be a very common occurrence in years to come. Besides the Internet, where a lot of things can be shared on social media, foreign trade has also become much easier. Foreign products with familiar sounding names but different meanings would become more common. These things have happened before. Having a grasp of a foreign language, or an understanding of a second or third language can be a great help in anyone’s career, or life in general. It would help prevent these kinds of mistranslations.

The name “Urinal” however may have started out from a misunderstanding of what the word meant. The word might have been researched by someone who did not know what it meant. It can also mean “pertaining to urine.” Definitely, the Urinal brand of urinary tract care health supplement does pertain to urine.

Words and their uses have evolved from their roots. Even the simple rules of affixes (suffixes and prefixes, as well as infixes) can connote a different meaning. Over time the words and their meanings evolve, which is a trait of a dynamic living language. An appreciation and an understanding of different languages would be even more helpful for everyone in the near future.

Image credit – via Fanboyreport

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