5 Funny Translations Found Whilst Travelling

We have all heard the term ‘lost in translation’, and not knowing the lingo (unless you do) is always a humorous but sometimes taxing element of travel experience. Whether you’ve said ‘shubadigunk’ (is not a word) instead of ‘entschuldigung’ (excuse me/sorry) when bumping into someone in Berlin or said something even more embarrassing like when my friend described herself as frigid instead of just being cold, learning a new language and using it verbally or written, there are always going to be some mistakes and errors, at least to begin with. So let us view some funny translations that not only are incorrect in the context in which they are used, but mean something completely different.

5) Over in Switzerland a menu read “our wine leaves you nothing to hope for”.

Aside from excelling in advertising the deliciousness of their wine, it seems that the after effects of consumption span further than just an awful hangover, a perfect translation error to kick off a list of humorous and incorrect translations. Of course what I presume they mean is that their wine is so taste-bud friendly that their customers would not be left unsatisfied, or it could really just mean that the combination of the taste and the post-consumption come down really is terrible.

4) In Paris, someone noted that a hotel lift instructed guests to “please leave your values at the front desk”.

So it appears that Reception would be swamped with morals, values and views, however diverse or diplomatic. Pigeonholes filled with varying beliefs would make work behind the reception desk incredibly hard, though of course this is not what the hotel intended. Leaving valuables at the front desk is much more fitting, though I suppose it depends how valuable a person’s values are, perhaps they should leave them at the desk too like instructed..

3) If you were walking down a street in Hong Kong and saw the sign “ladies may have a fit upstairs”, would you be encouraged to go in?

Unless twinned with a doctors surgery or general hospital, a place encouraging women to have fits is definitely a new one. Naturally, knowing the context of the mysterious place being in fact a tailor shop ladies walking around looking for clothes and tailor shops can breathe a sigh of relief, and make their way up to browse until their hearts were content.

2) We are encouraged to be polite and thank the cleaning staff, and so we should, but it is rare to be invited to “take advantage of the chamber maid”.

I’m very glad they did write this translation error because then it would not have featured on this list. Instead of giving tips or money to the chamber maid, taking advantage of them could end with a completely different set of outcomes, which may not include money. Instead, taking advantage in the correct (and hopefully intended) way could mean expressing your appreciation of their work or just to make use of the service they essentially provide; cleaning.

1) Sticking with a similar theme, it is rare to see a dress shop in Paris advertise their line of “dresses for streetwalking”.

While there may be different dresses for various occasions, I do not see any high street shops bragging about their latest streetwalking collection any time soon. Street walking? Even if the store envisaged a dress to wear walking down the street, but in a different context, I still struggle to imagine what kind of dress this may. Perhaps I should leave it to the owners of the shop and look for some more funny phrases…

If you’ve enjoyed these phrases take a look at some other funny translations.

Written by GYE contributor Clare Dyckhoff. She relishes exploring the world and writing pieces that encourage others to do the same. An online writer and published author, Clare is keen to continue writing about topics she loves; namely travel and world experience.

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