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Explosive dog

12 times translation went really wrong

At eric we’re firm believers in getting your content not just translated but transcreated. We only use in-market experts: linguists, translators and copywriters to ensure your message gets across as originally intended. Here, our localisation manager Maria Panagiotidou offers up 12 examples of people who definitely didn’t use our service…

  • dogging
    01Canine or carnal?
    This German translation does seem to have confused things somewhat. That said, having watched Eurotrash once or twice, it could easily be some kind of role-play action.
  • Jam jar
    02Mmm, musty…
    Just the addition of an apostrophe and an ‘s’ would have saved this one, instead we’re left with a vision of a child chowing down on some bread topped with a heady mix of mints, mothballs and Avon perfume.
  • grass sign
    03Sleepy grass
    Not all poorly done translations are bad. For instance, who doesn’t love the idea of tiny little blades of grass having a sleep while the protective mummy and daddy grass hisses ‘shhh’ at every passer-by?
  • bollywood
    04Romance isn’t dead
    Bollywood movies are all about romance, and this one was no exception. But while the intention was to say ‘you’re one in a million’, it didn’t quite come across that way in English. We’re sure the girl feels super special either way though.
  • server down
    05Server’s down again
    It could, of course, be a vision from a dystopian future in which the world is controlled by a giant computer and this is simply a minor messaging malfunction from the overlord to the people. Or maybe not.
  • menu
    06Eat your words
    Wikipedia truly is a global internet phenomenon, providing us with everything we could ever want to know about the world around us. Plus it’s good with peppers and noodles, too.
  • erection sign
    07Hard act to follow
    Good on these folks for letting us know, and for those who don’t quite ‘get it’ the handy positioning of the cross helps to clear things up. We’ll definitely keep away.
  • hammer massage
    08Hammer time
    Being the sporty green fella he is, eric loves a good, solid sports massage that leaves you crying out in pain, but even he knows his limits. A hammer massage is where it stops.
  • shock sign
    09Shocking behaviour
    Don’t you hate those horrible electric shocks, the kind delivered by fences, train tracks and when you drop your toaster in the bath. But a ‘nice’ electric shock, now that we can get on board with.
  • parking sign
    10Fool me once warden…
    A missing letter or a crafty traffic warden? Either way, we wouldn’t risk it, despite the temptation offered up by this sign to park our car wherever we damn well like.
  • zoo sign
    Now, this could be perfectly okay. It could in fact be a collection of rescued liquids gathered together. Liquids ‘Fairy’, ‘nitrogen’, ‘gold’ and even ‘assets’ could live here. Or it could be an aquarium.
  • do not enter
    12He who enters here…
    … is probably a bit confused. Especially if they’re Spanish. Good to see the English having a go though, it’s a bit like Steve McLaren speaking Dutch or Joey Barton’s French.

To ensure your messages get across no matter what country you’re delivering them to, contact eric’s localisation manager Maria Panagiotidou.

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