Wednesday, 8 December 2010

English Signs from Around the World

My cousin Pauline regularly sends me jokes and other funny stuff. Since it can be very difficult for Polish translators in getting the nuances of English right, I particularly appreciate examples of minor translation errors altering the entire meaning.

Here are some:
  • In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman, even a foreigner, if dressed as a man.
  • Cocktail lounge, Norway: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.
  • Doctors office, Rome: Specialist in women and other diseases.
  • Dry cleaners, Bangkok: Drop your trousers here for the best results.
  • In a Nairobi restaurant: Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.
  • In a City restaurant: Open seven days a week and weekends.
  • In a cemetery: Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.
  • Tokyo hotel's rules and regulations: Guests are requested not to smoke or do other disgusting behaviours in bed.
  • On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
  • In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
  • Hotel, Yugoslavia: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
  • Hotel, Japan: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.
  • In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and soviet composers, artists and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
  • Hotel, Zurich: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
  • Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?
  • Airline ticket office, Copenhagen: We take your bags and send them in all directions.
  • A laundry in Rome: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.
OK, I suspect the last one was intentional, but I wonder how many people who translate into English here would understand what is wrong for all of these. The Moscow cemetery example particularly reminds me of translations of complex Polish sentences, which can become completely incomprehensible without radical reordering or splitting into two (or more).

It should go without saying, but just in case: I could not do half as well.


TEFL SecretAgent said...

'Hotel, Japan: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.'

Ok will do! very entertaining to read!

Sylwia said...