In the age of globalization and low-cost airlines English has become what Latin used to be in the Middle Ages. It seems, however, that some countries are still in the process of language acquisition. Have you ever come across some weird translations? I’m sure you have.
Using popular online language tools may lead to very literal translations which isn’t always a good thing. A simple pork knuckle turns into ‘pig leg after old polish’, we have ‘chicken after tajsku‘ and ‘a frog of leg’. Coincidently, the Polish word for ‘dishes’ is the same as the name of the Scandinavian country in the title of this article. Ever wondered what a ‘sterilised salad’ could be? Not to mention tiny spelling mistakes turning ‘sparkling wine’ into ‘sparking wine’.
During my Erasmus exchange in Italy a Spanish friend sent us all an email inviting us to his birthday party. As he wanted to be extra nice he translated it into all languages spoken by the Erasmus students. And it was one of the funniest things I had ever read in Polish. I first got it in a university computer lab and immediately became an object of public attention as I couldn’t refrain from bursting into hysterical laughter. There is one thing I still remember from the email. I know that in Polish it didn’t really invite us to a great party but to a big creamy cheese instead.
And for those of you who speak German I enclose the German version (and the English original just in case something is unclear.
hallo jeder! mein name ist juanra. ich bin erasmus hier im l’aquila. ich habe
Ihrem email fom das traurige l’ufficio relacioni internazionali so genommen,
wenn sie nicht hier in italien sind. ich schreibe sie, weil wir eine grosse
partei im collemaggio bilden, welches das samstag, den 12. von bei 13.00 (mehr
oder weniger). wenn sie kommen möchten nehmen alles zu trinken und zu essen.
hi everybody! my name is juanra. i’m erasmus here in l’aquila. i’ve taken your
email fom l’ufficio relacioni internazionali so sorry if you’re not here in
italy. i write you because we make a big party in collemaggio the saturday
12nd of may at 13.00 (more or less). if you wanna come take anything to drink
and eat. see you