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Holiday Translation Fails

Travel is a big part of going on holiday – some of us will take a flight to a faraway land, some will rent a car while abroad to have a bit more freedom, while others like to get into the spirit of things and join the locals on public transport. Hopefully the signs you encounter on your holiday will make a bit more sense than these ones…

Airline ticket office in Copenhagen: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

Road sign in Australia: Take notice: when this sign is under water, this road is impassable.

Car rental brochure in Tokyo: When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigour.

Tram in Prague: Do not expect on floor. Do not make speech with man makes tram go.

Bus stop in Sri Lanka: MOTOR BUS HALTING PLACE

Japanese ticket office: You are available at next ticket office.

Once we’ve got to our destination, it’s time to check into our accommodation! Hotels offer all kinds of services – sports facilities, spa facilities, room service, laundry service… The list is endless and sometimes we need a little help navigating our way around where we’re staying. Would you be able to make sense of these hotel signs?

Hotel lobby in Bucharest: The lift is being fixed for the next day. during that time we regret that you will be unbearable

Hotel in Yugoslavia: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

Booklet about using hotel air conditioning system in Japan: Cooles and heates; if you want condition of warm air in your room, please control yourself.

Tokyo hotel’s rules and regulations: Guests are requested not to smoke or do other disgusting behaviors in bed.

Hotel in Japan: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

In a hotel in Munich: In your room you will find a minibar which is filled with alcoholics

Hotel room notice in Chiang-Mai, Thailand: Please do not bring solicitors into your room.

Notice sent to rooms in a Beijing hotel: The glass exterior window will be cleaned tomorrow. As our Visual Enhancement Team is a bit shy please keep your curtains closed.

Hotel in Mexico: For a better confort for you and other guests, please try not to make any mad noices or faights or close the door strongly.

So now we’re all checked in, it’s time to think about our activity plans! There’s always plenty of tourist attractions to see when we’re away – maybe some of these would tickle your fancy:

Lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. if you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

Germany’s Black Forest: It is strictly forbidden on our Black Borest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for this purpose.

Tourist agency in what was Czechoslovakia: Take one of our horse-driven city tours. We guarantee no miscarriages.

Paragliding site near Beijing: Site of jumping umbrella.

And after a long day exploring the tourist sights, it’s definitely time to experience some of the local cuisine! If you’re feeling adventurous, you could give some of these a try:

Slovenia: Bored meat stew

Beijing: Government abuse chicken

Greece: Thigh with spit

Iran: Lame kebab

Madeira: Grilled sideburn of pork

India: Ham sand witches

Tenerife: Turdey slices

Mozambique: Restless eggs

And some restaurants like to provide a little extra information for their guests:

Menu in Italy: Offering my honored guests delicious meals is my endeavor. Every readiness and efficiency to obtain this target is essential. Kindly assist me in this task by taking at least one meal at my place where my specialty is pig.

In a Swiss Mountain inn: Special today – No ice-cream.

Menu in Poland: But be warned – if you eat too much of this, you risk becoming more fluffy!

Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

Menu in Poland: Salad a firm’s own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten in the country people’s fashion.

Nairobi restaurant: Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.

New Zealand restaurant: Open seven days a week, and weekends too.

You might come across translations like these more often than you realise when you’re on holiday! Keep your eyes peeled and let us know if you spot any!


Charlie Croker: Still Lost in Translation: More Misadventures in English Abroad  

Isabella Fink

Isabella Fink

I am native Austrian and studied Linguistics and Literature at the University of Innsbruck and in Manchester, so language and translation has always been a passion of mine. Before joining Tongue Tied, I have worked as a Translation Assistant and in Customer Services and Purchasing.

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