Badly translated street signs point to confusion

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Friday, August 10th, 2012 In Blog, Fun stuff By Carolin

Translated street sign

Welsh seems to be on the top when it comes to incorrect translations of bi-lingual street signs in English and Welsh. A translation incident which gained a lot of laughs was a bad translation on a street sign in Swansea. The sign was meant to warn supermarket customers not to enter the car park with a heavy lorry. However, the Welsh translation said, “I am currently out of office”, the content of the automatic reply when the translation from English to Welsh was requested! The contents of the automatic reply were then printed on the sign without being double-checked. Meanwhile, in the Welsh capitol of Cardiff, street signs are causing some confusion. On a bicycle lane, English cyclists are requested to “look right”, while their Welsh counterparts are invited to “look left”. On a bicycle lane in Cardiff, cyclists are wondering about a sign that reads “inflamed blister” in Welsh, while the English words request the cyclist to dismount. The Welsh are not the only ones to be lost in translation. In Germany, bi-lingual translations in the area of Bautzen didn’t match. In this area, street signs are required to be in both German and the Slavic language of Sorbish (the language of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority within Germany that speaks perfect German!) After years, the district finally decided to check the translations on the signs. The result: 78 street signs badly translated! The total damage amounted to €5,000. If one day you find yourself lost in translation and need some help translating street signs, documents, content and so on, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are your SEO and translation agency!

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