Funny Mistranslations around the World

Funny Mistranslations

When traveling, translation is important because it removes linguistic barriers and helps tourists get around. Quite often, people will notice funny mistranslations in their native language. Most of them are translations of signs in hotels, restaurants, and other public places where tourists spend time. Let’s laugh at a few examples!

  • Note in the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: “You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday”.
  • Menu in a Swiss mountain inn: “Special today – No ice-cream”.
  • Sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:  “It is strictly forbidden on our Black Forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for this purpose”.

Some mistranslations have actually affected an entire country’s customs. For example, in Japan there is a beautiful Valentine’s Day tradition that started due to a mistranslation. In the fifties, chocolate compafunny mistranslations, localization services, translation of websitesnies began encouraging Japanese people to celebrate this day of love by giving their partner chocolates. However, a mistranslation stipulated that women should give chocolates to men. To this day, this is exactly what happens on February 14th! A single mistranslation created a whole new nice tradition which brings happiness to so many Japanese people. Men in particular!

Just imagine how many wonderful mistranslations you can find not only travelling around the world, but also walking around your own neighbourhood. If you see some, or your country celebrates a custom because of a mistranslation, don`t hesitate to share them with us on the LingoStar Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you!

If you need to translate a serious document or a website, and you DON’T want it mistranslated, contact LingoStar! We cooperate with professional translators all over the world and provide translation and localization services in over 100 languages. For more information, call us today at 604-629-8420 or send us an email at