January 2007 Archives

My previous translation postings, all involving German to English mistranslations, were quite amusing. However, those examples simply cannot compare to the Chinese to English translation I'm presenting you today. Have a look:

Funny Chopstick Package

You can click on the image to enlarge it, but the text reads:

Welcome to Chinese Restaurant.
please try your Nice Chinese Food With Chopsticks
the traditional and typical of Chinese glorious history.
and cultural

Let's sum up what's wrong here:

  • The lack of an indefinite article (a) before "Chinese Restaurant."
  • The second sentence starts with a lowercase 'p', but for some reason "Nice", "Food", "With", and "Chopsticks" are capitalized. There should also be a comma before the second half of the sentence.
  • The third line never mentions what the adjectives "traditional" and "typical" are describing! My guess is that "utensil" is the missing word here!
  • The random "and cultural" in the fourth line, all by itself!

The word "glorious" and the random "and cultural" line are in a different font, which might indicate corrections were attempted to be made!

These chopsticks are generic, and thus can probably found at a Chinese restaurant near you! This package was discovered at the Chinese/Japanese Buffet on Erie Boulevard in DeWitt, a suburb of Syracuse.

But then there was also the fortune in the fortune cookie:

Fortune in a Fortune Cookie

Bayer Low Dose AspirinThis is off a label of Bayer Low Dose "Baby" Aspirin. There's nothing wrong with this label, as each tablet only has 81mg of aspirin, perfect for people who just want to take an aspirin daily to prevent artery clogging or whatever other positive effects aspirin has.

The funny part is that you can safely take 48 of these daily! You have to imagine someone who has real pain and/or fever and who doesn't have regular full-strength aspirin around. Also, imagine someone overdosing with this dose. The maximum daily dose isn't even in one of these containers, as they only hold 36!

Translation at a Düsseldorf International Airport BistroThis is without a doubt the most obscure and just plain horrible translation I've found so far for my Lost in Translation Series. What sets this translation, found on a card at a Düsseldorf International Airport bistro, apart, is that I can't see how the translation came about! Some translation program or reference book must have translated "Ausgabe" to "version!" To give the translator credit, or perhaps simply pity, the standard translations of this word won't work for this usage.

When I entered "Ausgabe" into my translation widget, it spit out "output." Altavista Babelfish gave me "expenditure." Yet another site gave me "issue." None of these come close to what the sign is trying to say, namely that warm food and "snack meals" (hahah, didn't even notice that!) are available at the counter where food is served.

Wow, just about everything is wrong with translation! There's an "eating version" that serves "snack meals" and the sentence starts with "You get," which you might find at a small Southern U.S. airport as well!

Happy New JearAhhhh, the Wiener Linien... Perpetrators of two out of the three sightings involved in my "Lost in Translation" series so far. Here's the third, and possibly worst one! "Happy New Jear"!? Everyone knows this... Come on! You could have given all eight million plus Austrians a multiple choice quiz on this one and I bet you at least six million would have done a better job than the operators of the Wiener Linien's departure monitors!

There's not more to say about this one... Simply enjoy!

Oh wait... There is one more thing to note... The Wiener Linien have over 8,000 employees, and, together with its parent organization, Wiener Stadtwerke Holding AG, there are over 14,000 employees. Yep, it's quite an embarrassment that they don't have a qualified English language proofreader!

Photo Credit: Josef N Patoprsty

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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