Humorous Machine Translation Fails

The latest translation apps and programs are extremely handy when we visit foreign countries. They help us to understand certain words and instructions. Yet, despite all these advances in translation accuracy, the algorithms are unable to appropriately identify the context. Therefore, there exists the potential for a number of funny translation mistakes.


Bathroom Translation Fail

I was not a fan of public pools at the best of times, but this has driven me away for good. As most people can tell, the individual who put up this sign was trying to instruct the male bathroom users to aim correctly when urinating.


An Explosive Misunderstanding

Fight fire with fire! This was a Chinese translation without context. “灭” means “extinguish” or “destroy”, “火” means “fire” and “瓶” means “bottle”. The original mistake appears to have been that the translator misinterpreted an item that is used to create fire with one that extinguishes it. Hence he / she must have settled on a grenade.


Interesting Flavor


Chew on Some Knowledge


Two menus in a Beijing restaurant that sells edible “Wikipedia”. This is some interesting food for thought. It is not entirely clear how this error could have come about but there are a few possibilities. One could be that the author was searching for the English term for the phrase and mistook the Wikipedia listing for the actual translation.


Cakes in Ass

I do like cakes, but that has too many calories. “пирожное в асс” is usually written in Russian as a shortened version of “пирожное в ассортименте” which translates as “cakes in assortment”. Yet, the shortened version with a direct word for word translation is “cakes in ass”. When it comes to dessert, always choose a good translation!


Thanks for breaking it to me

He was a great guy! Please don’t tell me that you are serving him up too? This appears to be a mistake created by using machine translation more than once. The Arabic word “ميت بول” is “meat ball”, so this must have been a direct transliteration of our favorite spaghetti sauce. The error may have cropped up when “ميت بول” was translated back into English. More specifically, “ميت” could also mean “dead”. Similarly, given the way Arabic script deals with “p”, “بول” could also be translated into English as “Paul”.


When your Machine Fails

That awkward moment when you and your machine are lost in translation. This is another translation fail from China. The characters “餐厅”mean “dining hall”. The mistake is pretty unfortunate yet clearly hilarious. However, here is a guy who understand his machine is not working.


At least he’s honest!

There is also a new musical trend sweeping the globe. What would happen if one puts the lyrics from a popular song through a few layers of machine translation? The results may surprise you…

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Pascal Evertz