UH-OH mistakes and how to avoid

Avoid Embarrassing Advertising Translations with Professional Services

by Chad Richardson

Have you ever seen embarrassing translation mistakes on signs or advertisements as you walk around? It’s particularly common if you’re in a foreign country, or looking at advertising or copy from a product being imported from a non-English speaking country. Often, these translation errors bring all kinds of laughter – and unwanted publicity – to great products.

Recently, The Sun wrote about a new series of signs written in English with translations that are at best, hilarious, and at worst, just confusing. Some examples include:

“Do not disturb. Tiny grass is dreaming.” – Posted on fresh green grass, this sign most likely attempted to ask patrons not to walk on the grass, but instead just inspires laughs.

“Dying right here is strictly prohibited.” – Written on a restaurant menu, this bizarre message has no discernible meaning in English.

“Hand grenade.” – Posted just above a fire extinguisher, this sign is more than just a tad misleading about the best uses for this device.

“Free toilet paper. Please cherish the use.” – Posted in a bathroom, this sign has probably caused amused laughter from patrons in the stall.

“Our sweet ass.” – Written below a picture of a restaurant meat dish, this description doesn’t exactly conjure up images of delicious food to native English speakers.

Want to avoid these mistakes with your own marketing, advertising or business communications? The best way is to work with a professional translation company. While your employees might claim to be fluent in a second language, often conversational speakers make errors when it comes to grammar, syntax, and common regional slang and vocabulary. To get your translation right, contact us to consult with experienced professionals.

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