inEnglish Blog:    开眼界:神翻译不只中国有

August 24, 2019


Lost in translation: The world’s worst English language blunders revealed

It’s a running joke that us Brits are known for only speaking English when abroad – so much so that many signs are in our mother tongue.

And while locals go above and beyond to try to indulge our lack of language skills, sometimes the divide between what is said and what is meant can be huge.

Now, in a new book called Utterly Lost in Translation: Even More ­Misadventures in English Abroad, comedian Charlie Croker has brought together some of the very best language howlers he ­discovered after three years of globe-trotting.

From boarding a plane to eating out, it proves sometimes we really might be better off digging out that old phrase book…

Travel troubles…

Travelling can be a testing experience – and these very misleading signs don’t make it any easier…

An airport in China made this special request of drivers: “Please confirm your car is licked.” Surely a car wash would suffice?
中国有个机场对司机提出了特殊的要求:“Please confirm your car is licked.(请确保您的车已经舔过了。)”看来机场需要一个洗车行?

Meanwhile there was this eye-catching warning on a busy stretch of road inIndia: “Go slow – accident porn area.” Bet there were a few rubberneckers for that one…
而在印度一条繁忙的公路上有一个吸引眼球的提示:“Go slow – accident porn area.(事故色情区,请慢行。)”估计这附近看热闹的不少……

And you might get more than you bargain for on this Greek road, where a sign warns: “Parking is for bitten along the coastal road.” Ouch.
在希腊这条路上你可能会碰到不愉快的事情,因为路面标识写着:“Parking is for bitten along the coastal road.(海岸公路泊车会被咬。)”噢,好疼!

Though driving has its pitfalls, things don’t get much better on the trains. A notice on a toilet inChinareads: “Do not use toilet while train is in stable.” Where do the horses sleep, then?
虽说在路上开车有风险,坐火车也没有好到哪儿去。中国一列火车的厕所这样提醒:“Do not use toilet while train is in stable.(火车在马厩的时候,请不要使用卫生间。)”火车占了马厩,那马上哪儿睡觉去?

Don’t think about smoking if you are a fully fledged adult travelling inMonrovia,Liberia. There, a notice reads: “Dear passengers, please be tiny when using ashtrays.”
不要认为你是成年人就可以吸烟,在利比里亚蒙罗维亚市,有一条标语:“Dear passengers, please be tiny when using ashtrays.(亲爱的旅客,在使用烟灰缸的时候,请变小。)”

And at a Chinese airport you may be in for something painful at the baggage drop. They call it: “Luggage disembowel.” It may well be better to keep your internal organs and take hand luggage – just to be on the safe side.
在中国的一个机场行李提取处,你可能会遇上很痛苦的事儿,他们管行李提取叫:“Luggage disembowel.(请给行李开膛破肚。)”为了安全起见,也为了保住你的内脏,行李还是手提比较好。

Shopping slip-ups…

Fancy a spot of shopping on your hols? Be careful what you buy…

Brits abroad don’t have the best reputation but there’s no need for this sign inPratap Pura,India: “AnusEnglishAcademy– no problem.”
我知道英国人在国外的名声不是最好的,但是也没必要这样写吧。印度普拉塔普神庙一条标语写着:“Anus English Academy– no problem.(肛门英语学院——没问题。)”

A “Take free titty” notice in a women’s clothes shop in China says is bound to attract the wrong clientele.
中国一家女装店告示写着:“Take free titty.(免费乳房)”,这一定会引来“不一样”的客人吧。

And someone was clearly having a bad day at work when they framed this picture of a cat with the caption, “My dog”.
商家给一个猫咪照片相框配的文字是“My dog(我的狗)”,装订这个相框的人那天上班的状态是有多糟糕啊。

A shop selling Bavarian beer mugs in Munich,Germany, boasts “We sell beer stains”. We doubt they make much of a profit.
德国慕尼黑一家贩卖巴伐利亚啤酒杯的商店,自夸道:“We sell beer stains(我们卖啤酒染色剂)”,我们深深怀疑他们能不能挣到钱。

A tailor inDubaicalled The In Trend didn’t think it through – the labels on his garments read “TiT”.
迪拜的一家裁缝店不假思索就把“The In Trend(正当潮流)”缩写成“TiT(乳头)”,然后贴在衣服的标签上。

One French sports shoe shop inAix-en-Provencemight need to rethink its name – Athlete’s Foot.
一家位于法国普罗旺斯埃克斯城的运动鞋店名“Athlete’s Foot(香港脚)”,这店名要不要再斟酌一下?

We may talk the same language but that hasn’t stopped oneUSclothes store coming up with this gem: “Wonderful bargains for men with 16 and 17 necks.”
尽管美国人和我们一样都说英语,但是这也阻止不了一家美国服装店想出的绝妙标语:“Wonderful bargains for men with 16 and 17 necks.(便宜好货这边瞧,有16-17个脖子的男士都来看看)”

And this Kentucky store has another pearler: “Don’t kill your wife. Let our washing machines do the dirty work.”
而肯塔基州的这家商店的标语也是大放光彩:“Don’t kill your wife. Let our washing machines do the dirty work.(别杀你老婆,这肮脏勾当让我店里的洗衣机干就行。)”

A Chinese bookshop must be trying to cash in on Middle Earth in a section for “Sports and hobbits”.
一家中国书店一定在设法利用中土世界赚钱,因为他们店内的标语写着:“Sports and hobbits(运动与霍比特人)”

A Thai hotel jeweller has “Porn gems”. For the filthy rich perhaps?
一家泰国酒店珠宝商写着:“Porn gems(色情宝石)”,可能是专为猥琐的有钱人准备的?

And a Thai beauty salon offers “A relaxing foot bath where you start with a special crime”. A bit of GBH before a foot rub, anyone?
还有一家泰国美容院提供“A relaxing foot bath where you start with a special crime(放松的足浴,从特定的犯罪开始。)”,脚底按摩前先来点重伤,有人要不?

Recipes for disaster…

Eating out is one of the best parts of a holiday, unless your menu includes one of these unusual treats…

A restaurant in the Czech Republic offers: “Horses douvres.” Just say neigh.
捷克一家饭店提供:“Horses douvres.(马式餐前点心)”来,学马叫两声。

In Cadiz, Spain, “Roast Alf Partridge” is a firm favourite on the menu. Perhaps they couldn’t catch Alan Partridge.
在西班牙的加迪斯,“Roast Alf Partridge(烤阿尔夫·帕特其)”是菜单上受人喜爱的一道菜,也许是因为他们抓不到艾伦·帕特其(译者注:英国喜剧《阿尔法爸爸》中的主人公)”。

A jar of black raspberry jam in America: “Tastes Like Grandma.” We all love our grandmas but no one wants to eat her.
美洲的一种黑树莓果酱瓶身上写着:“Tastes Like Grandma.(外婆的味道)”,我们都爱外婆,可是我们不想吃掉她们。

One establishment in Beijing offers “Virgin chicken”. It’s pure meat.
北京一家店提供“Virgin chicken(童子鸡)”,其实全是肉。

Meanwhile, another China restaurant has “grilled sexual harassment” on its menu.
另外一家中国饭店的菜单上提供“grilled sexual harassment(烤性骚扰)”。

Which would go nicely with the “Lawyer Foam” that appeared on a menu in Madrid.
马德里一份菜单上的“Lawyer Foam(律师泡沫)”跟楼上那条绝配。

A shortage of plates after the traditional plate smashing means one Greek restaurant may have had to find an unusual alternative going by this: “Fish on the eyelid.”
可能希腊一家餐馆的盘子弄碎了不够用,所以餐馆需要找一个不寻常的替代品:“Fish on the eyelid.(盛在眼睑上的鱼肉)”。

“Please do not park in front of the shter,” a sign in South Goa, India, warns. Probably sage advice as Delhi Belly can be rife among travellers. 印度果阿邦南部的一条警示标语:“Please do not park in front of the shter(请不要在厕所前泊车)”。也有道理啊,德里腹泻可能会在游客之间传播呢。

Hotel howlers…

And things don’t get much better after you check in…

A sign in a hotel bathroom inFrancewarns guests: “Do not throw kidney in the toilet.” Does that mean a liver is allowed?
法国一家旅馆的浴室写着:“Do not throw kidney in the toilet.(不要把肾扔进马桶)”所以说,把肝扔马桶里是可以的?

While this sign inKazakhstancertainly isn’t going to encourage us to get our five a day: “There is a bowel of fruit in each room.” Yum.
哈萨克斯坦的这家旅馆一定不鼓励我们“一天五个”水果吃法:“There is a bowel of fruit in each room.(每个房间都有一肠子水果。)”真好吃啊。

A guest information booklet in aThailandhotel bedroom gives some very honest advice: “If you are thinking of hiring a car please drive carefully as all Thai drivers have a death wish.”
泰国一家旅馆房间的宾客信息册子给出了非常诚恳的建议:“If you are thinking of hiring a car please drive carefully as all Thai drivers have a death wish.(如果你想租车,要小心,每个泰国司机都想死。)”

Meanwhile, landscapers at a resort inAntiguaare getting out of hand, according to this sign: “Our gardeners work delinquently.”
安提瓜岛旅游胜地的园林绿化工已经失控了,这条标语告诉我们:“Our gardeners work delinquently.(我们的园丁消极怠工)”

In an Austrian skiing resort, one establishment tried to lay down the law about diners taking their meals upstairs to the restaurant: “It is not allowed to consume meals and drinks from our self-service restaurant!”
在澳大利亚的一个滑雪胜地,一家餐馆试图跟用餐者强调把食物带到楼上餐厅去吃的规定,店里标识写道: “It is not allowed to consume meals and drinks from our self-service restaurant!(不许在我们的自助餐厅饮食!)”。


howler: 愚蠢的错误

indulge: 纵容

globe-trotting: 环球游览

pitfalls: 隐藏的危险

filthy: 下流的

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