German shepherd pie, anyone?

hot marxism

WHEN YOU’RE IN THE language biz, there usually isn’t much to laugh about. Sure, your colleagues may tell you the odd joke about various bizarre interpreting and translating situations they’ve encountered, but mostly you simply spend your days processing other people’s words. So on a day when you are faced with translating, say, a fifty-page brochure on local public transport in France, you can use all the laughs you can get. That’s when translators start exchanging images of amusing examples of their trade collected all over the world. These gems not only console us that there is still plenty of demand for competent translators around the world, but also that our foreign colleagues regularly face challenges that go far beyond anything we ever enounter in our working lives. I’ve included several examples below, in case anyone else feels the need for a moment’s comic relief on a slow Friday afternoon. Of course, weirdly translated signs can be found in any country, although the Chinese with their “Chinglish” inscriptions are undoutedly the world’s leader – probably due to sheer volume.

But now, sadly, word has reached me from China that the authorities there are sending thousands of language students into the nation’s cities to purge and replace embarrassing translations. Personally, I believe this represents a devastating loss of cultural diversity, not to mention a targeted attack on practically the only humor people like me are exposed to on any given day. Anyone care to join me in a “Save the Chinglish”? campaign? Maybe we can get UNESCO on board…



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