Many years ago, before the Soviet Union fell apart, I worked as an interpreter of Russian for a social service agency in Boston. I took people to the doctor, helped them to get housing, got them enrolled in classes. I was acutely aware of how easy it was to make a small mistake with huge implications.
I’ll never forget the look of horror on the face of an elderly Russian woman when I told her that the doctor wanted to take some blood to measure how much potassium was there. It took a few minutes for me to figure out that I had said кал instead of каль. By mispronouncing one sound, I told the poor woman that she needed to find out how much sh*t there was in her bloodstream.
Luckily, I am not alone in having made a hilarious mess up while going from one language to another. And it looks like translating Chinese to English is a serious challenge. These signs from around the world will prove my point.
1. Well, not exactly…
You think the translator meant an “open heart?” Me, too!
2. So are they advertising immortality?
I don’t know if they mean many people in one room, or that you get an extra life for every night you spend there!
3. Hold your nose and eat?
4. No fun allowed here.
I guess this might have come from an amusement park ride, huh? Don’t fool around, kids, you’ll get hurt.
5. Now that’s a creative menu.
6. I know some people do talk to their plants, but, really?
7. Whoah. Be careful what you feed them.
My dogs get like that sometimes, too.
6. Whatever you do, “don’t overfreigh”!
That’s a lot of stipulations, especially for the psychopaths among us.
9. I wonder what it does for them?
And what the heck is in it?
Well, at least I’m feeling a little better about that blood test mix up.
Featured image via 9gag.com