translation anime

11 Hilarious Translation Fails

Often the use of machine or amateur translation yields absurd results. Below are some humorous examples of translation fails.

Translation Fails: The Perils of Machine Translation

translation failsWhen you directly translate a word or phrase from one language into another, it doesn’t always make sense. However, this is the method used by most machine translation systems. Even the simplest of sentences can end up with significant changes in meaning. These funny mistranslations make us smile, but only if they don’t affect your business!


Translation Fails : English <> Russian

Funny Russian to English Translations

translation fails1) In one hotel in Russia, the door signs may confuse English-speaking guests since they read  “Please remove the room” and “Please do not worry.” The correct translation of these signs, “Please make up the room” (“Просьба убрать номер”) and “Please do not disturb,” (“Просьба не беспокоить”) are much less amusing.

shower sign russia

translation fails2)  A sign at the Sochi Olympics in Russia promised a mysterious “Shower of Sensation” (“Душ впечатлений”).

… and Funny English to Russian Translations

3)  “The Closer” is an American TV series about a cop who nearly always closes (solves) cases. Its name in Russian, “Ищейка,” (pronounced Ischeyka) comes from the verb искать (to search). The word ищейка means a tracker dog or a hound dog, and in this case a detective who hounds criminals.


Translation Fails : English <> Chinese

Funny Chinese to English Translations

translation fails4)  If you make noise when stepping on this grass you are likely to interrupt its dreams! In Mandarin Chinese the sign literally reads: “Grass is resting, DO NOT DISTURB.”

5)  In one Hong Kong supermarket there is a sign encouraging brave shopping that in English directly translates as “For your convenience, we recommend courageous, efficient self-service.”

translation fails


6)  The sign in Chinese is meant to keep away curious, unwanted visitors. It is not in any way associated with live pigs as the sign would have you believe in English “Do not come into the pig world.”


7)  The English sign “Please don’t be edible” in Chinese actually reads “Please don’t eat food that you have brought here from outside.”


… and Funny English to Chinese Translations 

8)  The Chinese title which reads in English “His Great Device Makes Him Famous” is not an obvious translation of the movie title of the American movie called “Boogie Nights.”  Nevertheless, film connoisseurs may argue that it gives more insight into the movie and may actually be a better title.


Translation Mistakes: English <> Spanish

Funny English to Spanish Translations

9)  Should I exit here, or is this where one lines up for success? In Spanish the word “éxito” actually means “success” rather than “exit” which when correctly translated is “salida.”

10)  The word “Hex” has been translated in Spanish as “evil eye” (“mal de ojo“) from the English word meaning to put a hex on someone. But hex mats are simply mats with a hexagonal grid on top.

… and Funny Spanish to English Translations

11)   At one hotel in Acapulco, Mexico there is a sign which may permanently turn all English speakers away from drinking the water. It reads: “The manager has personally passed all the water served here.”

Please send us any funny machine translations that you have come across and we will include them in our next issue of “Lost in Translation”.

Funny Translation
College Humor
Sochi Olympics 

About Language Connections:

Language Connections is a language service provider.  We specialize in technical, medical and legal translation, simultaneous and consecutive interpreting, website and software localization, and corporate language programs and interpreter training. We provide certified, professional translation in 100+ languages including SpanishPortugueseArabicChinese, RussianGerman, and French. With over 20 years of experience, we have expertise in all major industries including the life sciences, patent and immigration law, international business, global education, and advanced technology. We offer cost-efficient interpreting and conference solutions that will meet your multilingual needs for all types of international events – business meetings, conferences, lectures or presentations.

Get A Free Quote On Your Project Today!

Language Connections Logo

Language Connections Inc.
2001 Beacon Street, Suite 105,
Boston, MA 02135
Phone: +1-617-731-3510