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Translation Bloopers

Translation Bloopers

Speaking to foreign markets is serious business. You wouldn’t want to go viral for the wrong translation – Mosquish instead of Halal, perhaps! We invite you to enjoy a laugh at this collection of translation bloopers. Be sure to learn from them though — because bloopers and business don’t mix.

  • A client sent us some brochures in Chinese and English that had been translated, typeset, printed and distributed. After some funny feedback, they thought something was wrong. Unfortunately, the company that did the translation sent on the wrong files — the Chinese versions that were printed had placeholder or dummy text in position — presumably to give the client an idea of what it would look like. How careless was the translation company in their project management? What cost not just in dollars, but reputation for distributing nonsensical information to potential buyers?
  • In an arbitration in the Melbourne County Court, the interpreter engaged by the court continually interpreted 'Department of Customs' into 'customer department'. Don't let the court appoint your interpreter!
  • 'Nursing home' became 'accommodation house for nurses' in the hands of an interpreter from overseas, unfamiliar with Australian practice.
  • General Motors' Nova car was marketed in Central and South America; unfortunately, ‘No Va’ means 'it doesn't go' in Spanish.
  • Clairol's Mist Stick in English (a curling iron) became a 'manure stick', as 'mist' means ‘manure’ in German.

These are just a few examples of why it’s worth using professional and experienced translators who get the job done right.

Click here to see more funny translation bloopers.

Chin Communications Pty Ltd

Phone 1300 792 446 or +61 3 8602 6300
Fax 61 3 9670 0766

Suite 403, Level 4
221 Queen Street Melbourne
Victoria 3000 Australia