Lost in Translation

Nope, you can not buy black babies at this shop outside of Arusha, Tanzania. But the sign sure gives you a different idea!

Where virgins in Arusha, Tanzania must go to get their dry cleaning done? Or is it where virgins are dry cleaned?

No, I’m not talking about the Bill Murray movie. I don’t have much to say about it, having never seen it! I’m talking about those moments when you chuckle to yourself because your menu offers “sauteedtatoes” and pizza with “becon”, or other linguistic errors or mis-translations make you giggle. There’s a menu in Zanzibar, at a restaurant named La Fenice that I wish I had snapped a picture of, or taken some notes on as there were many amusing spelling mistakes. I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I have been talking more to my former coworker J (Congrats again on your retirement, J!! Happy travels!!) about his upcoming trip. He has been studying language DVDs, and, really, anything he can get his hands on, in order to prepare himself for his upcoming travels. Perhaps I should do the same to prepare for my upcoming trip to Bulgaria…. we’ll see if I end up having time for that, since work has been crazy and I’ve re-dedicated myself to being a better blogger! 🙂 Different languages and different cultures provide us with infinite opportunities to learn about each other, but they also provide infinite opportunities for verbal snafus that can wind up being (unintentionally) quite entertaining!

Here is some proof of my favorite linguistic snafus from my recent travels…

The holder for the TV remote control at the DoubleTree Hotel in Istanbul (reviewed at: http://wp.me/pWFid-vd) labeled "cruise control", like a car :-)

The holder for the TV remote control at the DoubleTree Hotel in Istanbul (reviewed by me at: http://wp.me/pWFid-vd) labeled “cruise control”, like a car 🙂 I’m quite fond of this one – it allows you to cruise the channels!

Meat Balla with Vegeterian Chese = Meatballs with Vegetarian Cheese..... ???

In Selcuk, Turkey a restaurant offers “Meat Balla with Vegeterian Chese” …. ??? What’s the point of specifying “vegetarian cheese” if it is on top of meatballs?

Genuine Fake Watches for sale in Ephesus, Turkey

Genuine Fake Watches for sale in Ephesus, Turkey

Looks like this store in Selcuk, Turkey caught their mistake after the sign was made!

Looks like this store in Selcuk, Turkey caught their mistake after the sign was made!

And my friend AL, recently sent me a link that made me smile. Apparently, there’s a store in Japan that may want to do a little market research into the meaning of the word “fuckin'” (pardon my language!) and how people are likely to respond to it! Check it out: http://gawker.com/5874304/japanese-department-store-may-want-to-look-up-the-word-fucking (In fact, they did figure it out after many amused internet browsers got a chuckle out of it…. see follow-up article here: http://gawker.com/5875479/mortified-japanese-department-store-cleans-up-fuckin-sale)

Also, here is another blog that documents “Engrish” (aka English mistakes or mistranslations) in Japan: http://superhappyawesome.wordpress.com/category/engrish/ – a lot of hilarious entries there!!

I’ll keep an eye out for more, especially when I go to Bulgaria & Romania this summer! Stay tuned for further adventures in translation!

2 responses to “Lost in Translation

  1. As usual, awesome work on your part. Glad to see your sticking to you blogging… Quite often it’s the highlight of my week.

    By the way, I’m going to be in South Sudan for the next few months so just in case you need to balance out your luxury vacation lifestyle… Come visit for a week.

    Looking forward to you next installment

    • I would love to!! Not sure that’ll be in the cards though. But I actually have another friend in South Sudan. I’ll have to e-troduce you both! If I find myself headed in that direction, I’ll definitely plan on a stop there. Enjoy it!! And thank you for the lovely compliment!! Nice to know someone is enjoying my blog other than me!

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