Reykjavik, Iceland

 

lost in translation

a traveller's appreciation of faulty foreign signage

No travel-oriented website would be complete without a page dedicated to unfortunate foreign signage which has become lost in translation. Endless fun can be had from keeping your eye on signage when travelling across foreign lands; sometimes it's the poor grammar which creates the hilarity, others it's the unknowing use of a word which, on the surface, looks perfectly acceptable but which fails to take into consideration the vagaries of colloquial slants, ironic nuances and dirty double-entendres.

Part of the appeal is probably down to a (severely misplaced) British linguistic snobbery with an, "Oh look at how they've written that, my dear, they are so stupid" arrogance. Of course, in most cases, these countries speak far better English than we do their foreign tongue but this doesn't stop our patronising gaffawing. Here is a selection of some of my 'best unfortunate' linguistic slip-ups, with some from back home in the UK thrown in for good measure, which kept me smiling, albeit a little smugly, on my travels. Some I include for their visual humour and others because they capture a sense of place. If you are averse to crass, crude, rude and downright insensitive humour I advise you to navigate away now.

 
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