Bloopers and boners

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The following mistranslations have been drawn from this collection:

"50 Times Signs Were So Hilariously Translated, People Just Had To Share Them Online", Liucija Adomaite and Justinas Keturka, Bored Panda (about a week ago)

Of the fifty items collected here, I've already dealt with more than half of them in other posts, and another portion are too lame to worry about.

Here goes:

Forgot to turn on the Spanish translator.

No exit.

I'd better stay away from you.

Lots of interesting choices here, but in light of our recent discussion on how to refer to different kinds of meat, I'll opt for the "Pure speculation".

This one is easy; it comes from Chinese pà shuǐ / shī 怕水 / 濕.

In a local Filipino grocery.

Remove one "a", add an "i", and move the letters around a bit, and it'll be all right.

Bing Translate didn't really say that.

Infinitely damn.

Forgot to turn off the "French fries" translator.

The Finnish means "unfortunately the elevator is broken".

You'll never know when you might need one of these diary stickers.

They say it's a Cambodian drink.

We do it all. Cf. "'English will not be longer problem for your!'!" (3/17/15)

In a Slovak bathroom in Bratislava.

Engrish potpourri.

This one is dangerous, because the bìngfēi 并非 construction is an emphatic negative:  "is definitely not; is by no means".

Selected readings

[Thanks to Mark Metcalf]


  1. Mike Grubb said,

    February 3, 2023 @ 9:32 am

    Regarding image #4, the menu, I'm pretty sure I had a cup of the "Pure Belly Clearance" the night before my colonoscopy. Perhaps I'm oversharing. Sorry.

  2. Coby said,

    February 3, 2023 @ 11:22 am

    The Slovak one, as far as I can tell, is correct except for the missing preposition in the heading.

  3. Kenny Easwaran said,

    February 3, 2023 @ 12:26 pm

    "Gelatinous mutant coconut" is actually a standard term for macapuno in English – it describes the fruit precisely.

  4. Andy said,

    February 3, 2023 @ 1:35 pm

    For me and many other speakers of British English the title of this post is as funny as some of the mistranslations…

  5. Philip Anderson said,

    February 3, 2023 @ 1:39 pm

    I like the “diary stickers”, which appear to be translated proverbs, I guess from Spanish. Some are difficult to interpret, the tequila one is perfect (and better than making lemonade), and “every pig getting its St Martin” just requires you to know that St Martin’s Day is November 11th, the month when pigs were traditionally killed before winter (Blotmonath in Old English, Tachwedd (slaughter) in Welsh.

  6. Alex said,

    February 3, 2023 @ 4:46 pm

    Philip, I'm pretty sure you're right. The "From Guatebad to Guateworse" sticker is a pun in the original Spanish: "De Guatemala a Guatepeor".

  7. Peter Taylor said,

    February 3, 2023 @ 5:21 pm

    @Philip Anderson, definitely from Spanish. "Go to fry asparagus!" is a strong hint in that direction, the references to Cuenca and Alicante reinforce the diagnosis, and "From Guatebad to Guateworse" is unmistakeable (and suggestive of a human hand, albeit all the rest suggest an unsophisticated computer translation tool). But I would consider most of them to be idioms rather than proverbs.

  8. Victor Mair said,

    February 3, 2023 @ 7:32 pm


    "the title of this post is as funny as some of the mistranslations…"

    Intentionally so.

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