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Classic but Funny Mistranslations

Translation - The more you know - Translation Errors - Food for thought

Have you ever come across a translation that seemed too hard to believe or was funny? Many funny mistranslations have led to confusion and misinformation because of issues with the language, context, or grammatical structure in which they were presented.

Translation has existed since the 2nd century BC and has been used to pass messages and ideas to people irrespective of their language or culture. Translation nowadays is big business, and when done correctly employs professional talent and expertise. When business skip using translation experts and head to Google Translate, they are guaranteed to get strange and comical copy. Have you ever Google translated a social media post or email yourself? How did it look? Pretty bad, right? Imagine doing the same for an international brand running a marketing campaign!

We’ll lighten your day with a collection of some of the most strange and funny mistranslations we could find. Here are some classic but funny mistranslations!

1. Dead Slow Children Playing

Reddit Funny Mistranslations 1 Dead Slow Children Playing

The above translation makes our list of the top ten funny and strange translations. In an attempt to inform vehicles driving down the road to slow down because of children playing around the neighborhood, a sign was placed at the side of the road Arabic for safety. Now, here comes the strange and funny part.

Whoever placed the sign wanted ensure locals and travelers might be able to read it; hence it was translated into English. The intention was good, but these folks forgot that words in English also have very specific contextual meaning, which may be far different from their literal meaning.

They translated the words to mean “Dead Slow Children Playing”. Sounds creepy right? We bet no one would want to drive around that neighborhood to avoid seeing dead slow children playing. If you think this translation is strange or funny, wait until you see our next funny translation.

2. Perfumery and Gifts

Reddit Funny Mistranslations 2 Perfumery and Gifts

How is that for a funny translation? What do you think was going through the mind of the perfume store owner when he placed that sign in front of the store? We guess they were trying to say that the perfume smells nice and when the word “smell” was translated to English, the word “anus” popped up as a synonym.

We wouldn’t blame the owner for translating the Arabic words to English, but we guess they did it wrong the wrong way. Too funny…now one to the next one!

3. Enjoy your life, our dear Customers!

Reddit Funny Mistranslations 3 Enjoy your life our dear Customers

One of the biggest grammatical blunders you can ever find on a customer service card was committed by this particular company. Most of their customers would not be able to comprehend what the company is saying at all.

The writing is absolutely incoherent, and the punctuation marks are incorrectly placed. One obvious thing about this particular customer service card is that the words are used out of context. Would you patronize a company that makes such a translation blunder on their customer service card? Doesn’t instill too much confidence, right? Let’s check out more hilarious funny translations.

4. The Hippocratic Crush

Reddit Funny Mistranslations 4 The Hippocratic Crush

We all know that Hippocrates was an ancient Greek physician regarded as the father of medicine. That said, here is what makes this translation find itself on out top funny translations list.

A Chinese movie producer thought of a title for his medical-related movie and dubbed it “On Call 36 hours”. However, to reach out to English viewers, the title was translated literally to mean “The Hippocratic Crush.”  Let’s hope the film is better than this gibberish title.

5. Turn on the Vacuum cleaner when using the shower

Reddit Funny Mistranslations 5 Turn on the Vacuum cleaner

Does this particular translation sound funny to you? Let’s dissect it to see why it’s on our funny translations list. Maybe the hotel wanted their guest to turn off the faucet when using the shower to increase the water pressure in the showerhead, or they meant something else by turning on the vacuum cleaner in the bathroom? Either way it might best to stay away from this hotel…

Who puts a vacuum cleaner in the bathroom anyway?

6. Anyone obeying the swimming pool regulation may be forced to leave.

Reddit Funny Mistranslations 6 Anyone obeying the swimming pool

Here is another epic translation fail that will deliver some laughs. A swimming pool placed a sign up that warned anyone who obeys its regulation to be expelled from the pool. Well, we never knew that there is a punishment for obeying rules…

7. Gangster ATM

Here is an inscription on a First Bank ATM that refers to the automated teller machine as a gangster. What makes it even weirder is the translation emphatically warns the user that the gangster may use the English operation interface to cheat.

What does that mean anyway? We have no idea.

Reddit Funny Mistranslations 7 Gangster ATM

8. Adulteress meat and Adulteress Vegetables

Reddit Funny Mistranslations 8 Adulteress meat and Adulteress Vegetables

Here is our final funny translation. Food items can’t avoid the wrath of bad translation! Would you love to buy adulteress meat or adulteress vegetable? Of course, you wouldn’t.

Use Professional Translations

These funny and strange translations come as a result of a lack of understanding of the risks that can happen with bad translators or online translation tools. These errors can negatively affect your brand permanently. In healthcare, legal or emergency settings they can also lead to the loss of lives or put people at severe risks.  

So be sure to connect with Ad Astra before you even think of opening Google Translate! We offer you excellent translations that are devoid of errors and capable of showcasing your brand to different cultures worldwide.