Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More "Lost in Translation"

Again, a little silliness is good for you.

I had previously posted a funny clip from a Japanese television show in which Japanese people are asked to translate things into English - with funny results.

The Asian butchery of English is the Oriental equivalent of the Occidental hilarity of westerners getting tattoos of Oriental characters on their Occidental bodies. Now, these mystical-looking runes might mean "strength" or "love" or "look at how great I am" - but every now and then, someone finds out that their trendy character indelebilis in fact means "evil" or "employees must wash hands" or something. Somewhere in Tokyo, there is a rascal laughing at someone in Detroit that he will never meet.

At least the Japanese don't permanently carve words into their skin because a tattoo parlor owner (who is likely not fluent in Japanese) told them it means something really flattering. It takes American ingenuity to do that.

Nevertheless, there is a fascination with English words around the world, and sometimes the translations are baffling or downright funny.

This website is a funny archive of how languages are often butchered when translated across linguistic and cultural boundaries - especially in the Orient. Although, I have to admit that my speaking French is a great source of amusement (which is French for "amusement") to my relatives in Canada.

Although it was punishment, the curse of Babel proves that God does have a sense of humor. And so should we - especially when it comes to our human condition.

1 comment:

Robert Talbert said...

Here's another example of Asian usage of English gone awry: