You may crack up laughing when you see food packages that read “Cat Smacks” instead of “Cat Snacks.” How about this, Nika instead of Nike for your T-shirts!
Years ago when the children were little my parents would send little packages of clothing for Christmas, gifts they bought on their vacation to neighboring countries like Thailand. They would get cute little T-shirts with pictures and matching pants, which unfortunately were kept just for ‘indoor wear’. “You can’t go out with those T-shirts, mom” my kids commented.
Words like ‘bumgalow” instead of “bungalow”…."happu hour" for "happy hour"…
The UK Telegraph has an interesting book for sale called Sign Language, which is a collection of inappropriate, confusing, poorly translated and mind-boggling bizarre signs from around the world.
These are fascinating things that you may encounter when you travel around the world…the many languages and the various interpretations of the written words.
I saw a Facebook post in my feed this morning by Michelin Travel with a YouTube video in French and I had to get it translated. However, this time, Google translator was of no use to me. So, I sent a note to my friend Sharon on Facebook not expecting a translation but she did it within 15 minutes.
She did it so fast and so well that I had to write an article about travel and language to preserve and share her translation with my readers.
Here is the video from Michelin Travel and Sharon’s translation:
For the launch of the new collection of "Illustrated Michelin Battlefield Guides (1914-1918)," in the video they go to the hill of Vauquois, a small village located 35 km northwest of Verdun, one of the most extraordinary sites of the Great War (WW I). Here a village was wiped off the face of the earth, using explosives in underground boreholes more than 20 m deep, over 17 km of tunnels, some of which go over 40 m deep, tons of concrete, wood, iron. The deep concave areas you see became instant mass graves: people, houses, everything.
In the reconstruction, on the French side you see the use of sandbags and wooden branches. On the German side you see concrete and forged steel tools.
This impeccable restoration makes the place a “must see” according to Laurent Loiseau, one of the drafters of the new collection of illustrated battlefield guides (1914-1918) launched by Michelin.
While the last old combatants have left us, “memory tourism” is growing as the centennial of the Great War approaches. It will be marked by the opening of the Museum of the Great War in Meaux (11 November 2011), inaugurated by the President of the Republic, but also by initiatives by many associations. It is against this backdrop that Michelin is launching a new collection of six guides as a continuation of what André Michelin launched in 1917, while the cannons still thundered.
These six guides (the first two titles, The Marneet Champagne and Verdun, just released) cover the whole front. They measure the evolution of sites and landscapes in zones marked by war. Comparisons of extracts taken from guidebooks of that era and present-day illustrations reflect these changes."
The different languages of the world make traveling challenging and fun.
I love how the English language is spoken differently in all parts of the world. We speak the same language yet sometimes we can’t understand English spoken by a Singaporean and vice versa…how fun is that!
My daughter is starting to blog in Spanish occasionally. You can read an excerpt of her blog in Spanish here:
Entonces, nosotros fuimos afuera y caminamos a un mercado. No fue un paseo largo. Así es que nosotros estuvimos allí en cinco minutos. En el mercado, Josefina necesitaba comprar la comida para cocinar. Yo aprendí sobre vegetales diferentes como nopales, calabaza maya y jícamas. El mercado tenía muchas cosas. Había pescado fresco, carne, vegetales, especias y más comida. Muchas cosas estaban más arriba de los estantes, por encima de mi cabeza y debajo de las mesas. Los sonidos en el mercado fueron muchas personas hablando y música en vivo.
Travel helps us understand and respect the different languages of the world. We can have a good laugh and be entertained by all the inappropriate translation and usage of words…it is the fun part of travel.
Note: Be sure to look out for Sharon O Day’s article on November 28 on our website and learn all about her adventurous international lifestyle, travels and her ability to read and write four languages fluently.
Seen any funny sign language lately? Please leave your comment below. We love to hear from you.
Claudia Looi is a copywriter, travel, web content writer and manages blogs for several businesses. She has lived and worked in Kuala Lumpur, Auckland and New York in the travel industry for over 12 years and has had the luxury of traveling to almost 30 countries. Currently, her works include writing for tour operators, hotels, real estate, wellness and immigration consulting companies. When not working, you will find her reading or planning her next family trip with her husband and two teens.