Say What Now? 40+ English Translations That Are Comically Wrong
Although English is widely spoken all over the world, not everyone in the world speaks the language, so sometimes, people have to resort to translation software or online translation services to help them. However, they don’t always work the way they’re supposed to. A lot of things get lost in translation, so instead of something that can be easily understood, a lot of people end up with funny translation attempts.
To make your day brighter and to put a smile on that face, we have compiled 45 of the funniest English translation fails on the Internet. From signs about hurting yourself gracefully to ones about not disturbing tiny grass that is dreaming, we guarantee that these signs will leave you confused and laughing out loud.
#1 We’ll make sure we hurt ourselves carefully
If you’re gonna fall flat on your face, you might as well do it with absolute grace and dignity. You can’t be flailing your arms around with your mouth open wide; that’s just the wrong way to do it, at least according to this sign.
Being careful while slipping and falling is a little difficult to do, so you might need some training for this. Allow yourself at least an hour on the weekends to practice. Seriously though, the sign must have meant that you need to be careful or else you’ll slip and fall.
#2 This happens when you’re ‘bussy’
We’re not sure if this belongs here, as some people pointed out that what is printed on the shirt has something to do with autism. This isn’t a badly translated sign but since we’re on the topic, let’s discuss that a bit further.
Badly translated signs are common in countries where English isn’t the first language. Why? Because sometimes, instead of translating the whole message or thought of a sentence, some people translate word by word. This skews the message and makes the result funny.
#3 Don’t put your shoes on my face
Another confusing sign translated into English is this warning seen on a grassy area. We’re guessing that what they want to say is “Keep off the grass,” but somehow, somewhere the message got lost and transformed into something completely different.
This grass likes the smile of passersby, but it doesn’t like being trampled upon or when people put their shoes on its face. We’ve tried to explain it the best way we know, so hopefully, people understood it. Poor grass, though.
#4 Don’t eat the carpet, folks!
Of all the things you can eat at the airport, why would you want to put a filthy carpet in your mouth? This is a very good example of why you should never translate messages word for word. Do you have an idea what they were trying to say?
Airport authorities were probably trying to say that people are not allowed to eat in carpeted areas because it’s such a big trouble when food particles drop down on the carpet. They find their way into the fabric, and sweeping won’t be enough to clean it.
#5 Throwing the toilet is prohibited in Bratislava
We reckon that throwing the toilet is prohibited everywhere in the world, but it is especially prohibited in Bratislava. This sign was seen in a toilet there, and well, some ladies must have gotten more than a few laughs after reading it.
Any woman would know what it means; no need for a rocket scientist to decipher the message. It’s prohibited to throw things in the toilet, including but not limited to paper towels, wet wipes, wine corks, unpaid invoices, and unsupported relationships. Wait, what relationships?
#6 Why is chicken involved here?
Although it’s good to know that this gamepad is compatible with all kinds of hand games that involve chicken, we’re uncertain as to how poultry somehow found its way to computer games. As far as we know, chickens can’t play computer games.
Or should we be bracing for a future where chickens are playing computer games and we humans are consuming chicken feed? Perhaps this has something to do with the phrase, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner.” We’d like to believe so, or else we’re in big trouble.
#7 Oh lord, what happened to Paul?
This translation has gone way off and has resulted in Paul dying. What do meatballs (we reckon those are some type of meatballs) have to do with someone named Paul losing his precious life? But even in death, Paul still looks pretty fine to us.
This international hotel better hire competent English speakers to make translating their menu a lot easier and less scary. No one wishes to consume parts of the dead unless they are cannibals. This sign is going to drive their customers away.
#8 Well, darn you!
First, Paul died, and now this mouse has been condemned to damnation! What is the world coming to? This is not going to help propel the sales of the mouse to sky-high figures. Blame it all on whichever confused soul designed the box.
They must have tested the mouse, and the results must have been dismal, hence the damnation of the mouse. Well, if it’s any consolation, electronics don’t last forever, so darn them! They’ll need replacement after a few months, and if you’re lucky, maybe they will last a couple of years.
#9 What products are they even selling?
This ad is as puzzling as it gets. At first glance, you won’t be able to tell what product or products are being sold. Is the ad for the wire or the water? Or is it the tube-like things that are supposed to get our attention?
This is a lesson of what not to do in advertising. Not only is the picture unclear, but the words also aren’t of much help too. If you want to lose money and if you want people to stay away from your product or service, this is the best way of doing it.
#10 We don’t want mutants in our food
Granted, most raw food sold today is genetically modified. However, we still do not want to shove mutant food down our mouths. Take this gelatinous coconut in syrup, for instance; what if it suddenly grows tentacles while in our stomachs?
We don’t want it drilling a hole through our tummies, getting out, taking the shape of gelatinous coconut in syrup, and claiming another victim. We’re going to stick to the whole foods section from now on. This is getting out of hand.
#11 But we don’t want to get rid of our dog
This is hilarious and tragic at the same time. What’s supposed to be a product that helps remove stray hair from dogs has become a product that removes the dog itself. Wonder how dog owners are going to feel about this one.
We’re not dog owners ourselves, but we love canines; they are some of the most amazing, loyal, and loving creatures on Earth, and we don’t want to say goodbye to them. We only want to get rid of dog hair that finds itself anywhere and everywhere.
#12 Impregnate how?
Pregnancy is something most women welcome, especially those who are eager to start a family with their spouses. However, we can’t say the same thing about towelettes. We are not sure if they will be pleased with such life-changing news.
Although the term impregnate is correct, it is an odd word choice when describing moist towelettes with 75% alcohol. They must have meant that the wipes are infused with alcohol. Hopefully, the company will get its act together and reprints the label for its products.
#13 Wonder what a therapy door is
This is the first time we’ve come to know that there is such a thing as a therapy door. Is that the kind used by psychiatrists and therapists? Does anyone need any help deciphering this confusing message on the door?
This is our very best effort: the sign is saying that people should use the other door because of the ice outside. If you insist on using the door with the ice, you need to watch your back. They must be experiencing a harsh winter over there.
#14 So, are they for sale or not?
If you’re going to sell something, you might as well make up your mind and avoid going back and forth with your decision. Doing so will only confuse your customers and drive them away to other shops that are decisive.
Don’t be like this store which says that the goods for sale are not really for sale and that you need to ask the cashier at the counter first. Seriously though, we think they meant that those on display are only samples, so you need to ask the cashier.
#15 Daddy issues
There are some daddy issues right here. This is the menu of a restaurant that is probably in a Spanish-speaking country. It looks harmless enough, but if you look at the very bottom item, you’ll be alarmed. What in the world are they selling daddy meat for?
Is that human meat they’re selling? This is reason enough to go vegan. Folks, if you have been contemplating going down that route for the last few months, this is the clincher that will motivate you to commit to plant-based food.
#16 They’re not joking
The engine room is a serious place, so no laughing and no clowning around is permitted. Everyone must have a poker face as soon as they step through the engine room door. Funny antics or a healthy sense of humor will not be tolerated.
We’d hate to work in such a place. Life is already too serious as it is, and we need laughter to make things lighter and better. Shenanigans and tomfoolery are both welcome, or else we’re all going to go crazy.
#17 So, do we need a wire or not?
One of the most common problems when it comes to translating non-English signs to English is confusion on the part of the reader. This wireless charger is advertised as wireless free, which begs the question if it’s wireless or not.
A charger can’t be both wireless and wired, right? Or have they come up with something new that lets you do both? Don’t even get us started on the “put charging and take using” part because it’s making our heads ache.
#18 In case people want to escape
This is a sign we want to put in our homes during Thanksgiving and other important family holidays and see what people’s reactions are. Family reunions are already bad, and this sign is just going to drive the point home to family members.
This Russian sign is the equivalent of various American signs that include No Exit, Dead End, Exit Only, and Rear Exit. Since this photo was taken in Russia, it makes us wonder if it was the Russian mob trying to threaten someone.
#19 The marketing take on this one
When selling a product, oftentimes, brands tend to exaggerate to get people’s attention. It’s a normal practice in business. However, when it comes to medicines or medical devices, you can’t make unfounded claims, or else you could get in trouble.
We assume that in China, they practice the same thing. What you see in the photo is probably a product that has to do with the eyes or the eyelashes in particular. We are questioning why God has to be involved with people’s eyelashes.
#20 Winner, winner, chinken dinner
We’re itching to go to this restaurant to taste the chinken they have on offer. We don’t know what it is quite yet, but it must be great. How else would it gain such a prominent place on the restaurant’s menu board?
This shows the importance of proofreading before going into production. No one wants to put up an embarrassing sign on their shops misspelling something as simple as chicken. Don’t waste your money; proofread more than once to avoid silly errors.
#21 They forgot to put the tourist sign
Whoever translated this sign over there in Guangzhou must have already lost their job. They were supposed to put nice tourist signs in the area but instead put a sign that says “Nice Tourist Sign.” Hilarious, but we pity the person who got the ax for this fiasco.
A Chinese person on the ‘net pointed out that the sign in Chinese says “Excellent tour guide logo Guangzhou Municipal Forestry Bureau.” Now we know what the source of the problem is. Hope it was the right person who got axed for this.
#22 It all started with a glass protector
All this person wanted was to get a tempered glass protector for his mobile phone, but he got more than what he bargained for, and now he is left questioning what happened to the friend that had been taken on an airplane ride.
Did they both survive? Did something happen? Did the plane crash on a secluded island, and did they have to live off coconut water and the bounty of the sea for the rest of their lives? We are also curious to know if there was a happy ending to the story.
#23 Who’s Jim anyway?
We have so many questions about this badly translated sign, and one of them is about the horse funeral. We have heard of horses passing away before or horses being put down, but we have never come across a horse funeral. How is that even done?
Secondly, we’d like to know who Jim is and why his return is so important that it must be announced and celebrated. Is he a prodigal son of some sort, and that is why a banquet must be held in his honor when he shows up?
#24 Should we throw in the lower air?
This sign was seen at a hotel in China, and it’s telling guests not to throw at the upper air. Duly noted but are guests perfectly allowed to throw at the lower air? We don’t see any sign telling guests not to do so.
If we are to interpret the sign, perhaps they are telling consumers on the upper floors not to throw any trash from their windows. What do you think? Are we right, or did we get it completely wrong? How do you interpret the sign?
#25 This is clearly Vincent’s fault
Darn you, Vincent, this is all your fault. We’re scratching our heads as to what is happening and the reason behind the need to close the door for 10 minutes. Granted, 10 minutes isn’t that long, but plenty of things could happen.
Did somebody spill something that must be cleaned off the floor right away? Did they need to locate a missing employee? What in heavens could be happening back there? We know only one thing, Vincent is to blame for this.
#26 Have we just been cursed?
We feel like we have stumbled across something we shouldn’t have with this next sign. The small font and the ominous writing make it look like some sort of curse. Perhaps it is a curse that helps your bones grow?
One can only wonder what product was being sold here and what on Earth the company was trying to say. The best we can come up with is that “Phoneix” is the name of the product. We have no idea what the blood or the pavilion refers to. Creepy!
#27 Do nothing? Yes, please!
Now, this is a sign we can get behind. Perhaps we should petition to have this sign put up at work? Or better yet, in the gym. Signs are always instructing us to perform some task, but one that tells us to stop and take a break? Yes, please!
In all seriousness, this sign was probably telling passersby to not go any further or to not touch something. While the image of the hand does help people decipher what is going on here, these sign makers would have benefitted from better translation software.
#28 Endless options
Don’t you just love it when a restaurant offers varied food options? This is especially convenient when going out with a group of people. Everyone has different food preferences, so it’s nice when you find a place that caters to everyone.
Like this restaurant, they have french fries and french fries and…some more french fries. Apparently, none of these menu items are actually french fries. Perhaps they wanted to trick some picky eaters into ordering something different. We wonder if any unlucky tourists were bamboozled by the sign.
#29 Kooching Available
English is the most spoken language in the world. As such, it is the language that many people use to conduct business. With this in mind, it is easy to see why people will pay to have a professional help them with getting a better grasp of the language.
However, if you’re looking to improve your language skills, make sure that the person you’re paying to teach you also knows the language. These English “kooches” might be scamming their customers. Though, customers should have known that something was dodgy when they saw that the location of these services is near a petrol pump.
#30 Simply the best
This friendly reminder was seen somewhere in China, and it outlines a few situations when people can be considered as being “the best.” Sure, we understand that protecting public property, flushing timely, and saving water might make you a good person.
But we are wondering how urinating in the pool makes a person good or “the best.” We’d like to speak to the manager of this establishment because we’re afraid that this might encourage people to urinate in the pool wantonly.
#31 That’s pure speculation
This menu translation in China is hilarious and has got us rolling on the floor laughing. Where else can you find a place that sells toothpicks meat, fish-flavored shredded pork, onion explosion meat, pure belly clearance, and pure speculation meat?
Whoever translated the menu deserves a raise for making English speakers laugh, but the restaurant and servers might not appreciate their staff getting called over many times to explain the dishes. But do you know what the real winner is? The fish mother!
#32 Okay, we’re taking the stairs
It won’t take a lot of convincing to get us to take the stairs if we see this sign near the elevator. The elevator must be so broken and beyond repair, and we wouldn’t want to risk our safety, our sanity, or our limbs!
This Finnish sign says “valitettavasti hiss on rikki” which means “unfortunately, the elevator is broken,” but somehow there’s a lot of confusion during the translation process, and now the elevator is so broken. We pity the thing. Perhaps it needs therapy.
#33 What a generous offer
We haven’t heard of or come across a restaurant that’s more than eager to please its customers as much as this one is. They’re telling their customers to refrain from touching themselves and not to hesitate to ask them for help.
Will you be taking up their offer of this flirty establishment? We certainly do hope that they keep their hands to themselves. This is another way of saying that customers shouldn’t touch the items on display and to ask the staff if they need help or have any questions.
#34 Poor abandoned creatures
Abandon may not be the correct word, but they have a way of making it look so cute; perhaps it’s because of the little penguin’s face. We’re waiting for another sign that finishes the phrase and says, “all hope ye who enter here,” but we’re not in Dante’s inferno, so we’ll forget about that.
We’re thinking about what they want to communicate and what’s the more appropriate word instead of abandon, but we can’t think of any. Can you? It would have been a lot better if they just left the penguin face alone and didn’t put any word there at all.
#35 Caffeine disorder
If there ever was a severe case of a caffeine use disorder, this would be it. People in this place have been abusing the coffee machine for so long that it’s no longer working. We can only hope that somebody helps the coffee machine pronto!
Try being in the shoes of the coffee machine for once. These things are lucky to get a thorough cleaning weekly. We only have one thing to say to this coffee machine, aim for retirement so that you don’t have to put up with customer demands anymore.
#36 When all you needed was to eat Indian food
This Dutch translation to English for an Indian, Tibetan, and Nepalese restaurant has got people on the ‘net debating. As you can see in the photo below, it says that they greet customers with bending in the name of God.
The restaurant might not be a religious place, but we think they meant respecting the customers and showing courtesy, at the very least. One person pointed out that the Dutch language has many words with more than one meaning, hence the confusion.
#37 Wet, wet, wet
The best translations are produced by humans because there might be cultural differences that software won’t be able to discern or determine. Words, oftentimes, reflect the culture and the society that uses them. Translation software might be convenient and fast, but they don’t often do a good job.
What you see in the photo above is most likely the result of using translation software. This was found on a printer box. It’s easy to see that what they mean is the printer should never be subjected to moisture, or else it will end up getting damaged.
#38 Almost did a good job
The phrase “Star Wars” didn’t have to be translated because there is no Chinese equivalent for it. However, the person who did the design for this package still managed to mess it all up. What was once Star Wars became Star Wart.
The only thing we have to say is that we can’t wait for Revenge of the Zit to come out. Clearly, this is Star Wars merchandise, but people on the ‘net can’t help but make fun of it still. They’re asking if it’s a wart in the shape of a star.
#39 Finding a rabbit can drive you insane
We’re never tried this before, so we can’t attest to the veracity of this statement, but it seems that finding a rabbit can drive you insane. This was found in a dog jacket, so we’re not even sure why rabbits need to be involved somehow.
Or, perhaps it’s trying to explain the behavior of the dog when it just wouldn’t stay still or when it’s chasing after something. Human, please know that your dog is completely fine; it just found a rabbit to chase after.
#40 This translator has got to be the laziest
Although there are numerous good translating tools online today, some people are still too lazy to do a good job. Whoever did the translation and proofreading for this and whoever gave the green light for production need to be sacked pronto.
This fellow must have thought that his smasdash translating job would go unnoticed but lo and behold, here we are, and here is his work. Instead of translating the sentence into Spanish, all he did was repeat the word “Spanish” countless times.
#41 Would you like to go to the Helthe club?
Because of the letters, we’re pretty sure that this sign was somewhere in the Middle East or somewhere where Arabic is the first language. This Redditor saw this in the hotel elevator and thought it would be a great idea to share this on social media.
The translation isn’t as bad as some of the others on the list, and a little spell check would have come a long way in making this elevator directory better. People ought to start using all the wonderful things technology has to offer.
#42 The translation service could not be bothered
This is one of the reasons why you should never ask someone who doesn’t have a basic knowledge of English to translate something into English using the software. They wouldn’t be able to tell if the translation is the tiniest bit correct or if they are getting an error message from the software.
Because of the pair of scissors on the sign, we can only assume that this is a hair salon or a barbershop. However, people won’t be able to know or recall the shop name as the translation service couldn’t be bothered to translate it.
#43 We’re not going anywhere near this laundry room
The need to always keep the workplace or the home clean has never been emphasized more than during the lockdown. People are advised to always wash their hands with soap for at least 60 seconds to ensure that they don’t make each other ill.
This laundry room, however, is taking it to the extreme. They are not sanitizing their premises but Satanizing it, and they’re doing it for 2 hours, mind you. We’re not going anywhere near this place, even if we don’t have fresh new clothes to wear.
#44 Darn it, we were using our toe pulps!
So, this is why we’re not having much success using our tablet. We have been using our toe pulps all along when we’re meant to be using our finger pulps. Now that we’re aware, our finger pulps should be ready to do a lot of work.
This underscores the importance of having professionals translate whatever you put on your packaging or marketing materials. You don’t want to look like a newbie or an unprofessional business that doesn’t even have the budget to do a decent translation job.
#45 Sweet dreams, tiny grass
People better not be disturbing the tiny grass that’s sleeping here. Grass needs its beauty sleep, too, just like us humans. We’re fervently hoping that the tiny grass has sweet dreams every time it closes its eyes and drifts off.
Badly translated as it may be, this is such a cute sign because it treats the tiny grass as it is, a living being that needs rest. Dream on, tiny grass; we will do our very best not to disturb you. We hope that people who disturb you pay a fine.