Living and traveling in countries whose main language is not English does not mean one will not see English on a daily basis. As I mentioned in a previous post, the level of English in some of these places is astonishingly high. And even when it’s not perfect, a translated menu or sign can provide a great deal of solace for a weary traveler or a homesick expat.
Some of these translation mishaps, along with “novelty English” (the use of random or excessive English words in a seemingly unnecessary context, just to seem “cool”), can give us a good laugh. Here is a sampling of some that I’ve seen so far.
What is fried coffee?
These rules at The Forum, despite being hilarious in content, include the following: It’s forbidden to “go every barrier beyond.”
This sign outside a restaurant wants tourists to know that they don’t close for the Italian version of siesta. “Open NO STOP” is not perfect English, but it gets the point across.
Pizza and rest. I like both of those things.
Maybe I’m wrong here, and this bar, called Laboratorio, really provides entertainment in the form of science experiments. It seems more likely, however, that they were going for “experiences” and got mixed up with the Spanish word “experimentar” (to experience)
Why did they erase the ‘e’ in “are”? They had it right the first time. “Banking” is kind of hanging at the end by itself, but even without punctuation or a complete sentence, the graffiti is easily understood. And accurate.
Although this “yogurt soap” menu was sited in Turkey, it must have been translated by a Spaniard, because the confusion between the Spanish word for soup (sopa) and soap can be quite tricky.
“Sundae” has become “Sandy” in Spain’s BKs. My students had lots of questions when the hurricane hit.
I purchased these kids’ towels in El Corte Ingés, Spain’s main department store chain, because they were on sale. In case there’s any doubt about whom they’re intended for, they have the word “children” embroidered all over them.
Here we actually have a very creative play on words. The Spanish words “en” (in), “guay” (slang for cool, awesome) and “si” (yes) are put together to sound like NYC at this supposedly authentic pizza joint.