Translating is not easy. Languages are so filled with inconsistencies that even a smallest mistake or typo can change the meaning totally. Translation errors are mostly annoying when you don’t understand a sign or a guide, but they can also bring joy to the world. Here are some well known examples of translation mistakes around the world. You can decide yourself whether they are funny or embarrassing or something between.

1. You can leave your values at front desk

This is a mistake that you can find in a hotel elevator in Paris. The writer actually wants to say “you should leave your valuable items at the front desk”. They probably just didn’t check from a professional translator whether they had the the right word for the valuable items.

2. We always take your bags and send all bags in all direction

This mistake is in the Copenhagen airline office. Although it sounds like a thief’s motto to say “we always take your bags”, the real mistake here is on the expression “all direction”. People should not use this word to describe “all cities around the world”. They may want to say “We can take your bags with us and we can send them to all cities around the world”.

3. Pepsi can bring your ancestor back from the dead

This is one the most well-known translation mistakes in the world. It is the bad translation for the common Pepsi headline: “Come alive with Pepsi Generation”. This mistake was done in Taiwan when Pepsi started advertising and marketing their products there.

4. Ladies have more fits upstairs

You can read this mistake in the dress shop at Hong Kong. The owner of the dress shop may want to say, “Please go upstairs to see more clothes for Ladies”. In this mistake, the owner tends to use “fits” as the replacement for the “clothes”. Unfortunately those two words aren’t direct synonyms.

5. You can take advantage of the chambermaid

This is another translation mistake that you can see on the public area. This message was found in a hotel room in Japan. The owner of the hotel may want to say, “Our professional staff are very happy to help you”. It’s likely that this mistake can bring a totally different perception to the hotel guests reading this message.

6. Fur coats that are made for all ladies from their own skins

You can read this mistake on the Swedish furrier company. I hope that the owner wants to say: “These fur coats are made for all ladies. They are made from the best skin of the animals”. However, this mistake is actually saying that the coats are made from the ladies’ skin.

7. Dresses for the street walking

This message was found in a dress shop in Paris. The owner of the shop should say that the dresses are suitable to be used for the daily activities. This message would make more sense to the customers who want to purchase the dresses.

8. Specialist in women and any other diseases

You can read this message on a doctor’s office in Rome.  Reading that translated message can cause misperception by the patients. The doctor is not specialist in women. Most likely he is specialized in treating women’s diseases.

These translation mistakes are just a tip of an iceberg. You can find more around you if you just keep your eyes open. There are too many common mistakes on the public area. That is the reason why people need pay attention to the translation quality.


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