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2019.07.29

Translation in general

Engrish – English gone wrong


Have you ever heard of Engrish? It is a term for English that you find in Asian countries, specifically, Japan, that is not 100% correct and thereby funny in some way. If you have ever been to Japan you will probably have seen one or two examples of Engrish. As a translation company, we always wonder why no one recognizes these mistakes. Here are some examples of what can happen if you do not let a professional handle your translations.

Just look. Is Ok?

(Source: https://vr-ninja.jp/faq/)

This is a screenshot of the website of an entertainment facility in Tokyo that is aimed mainly at foreigners. Most people will probably understand what is meant, but reading this, one might wonder whether the staff of the facility will be able to communicate in proper English. For a facility that is aimed especially at foreigners, a more professional translation would be more appropriate, wouldn’t it?

Alcohor Menu

This is a mistake you find a lot in Japan. As in Japanese L and R are not separate sounds/letters. There is only one sound that is somewhere in between an L and R. In the romanized version of Japanese this letter is usually transcribed as R, so you will find a lot of mistakes where there is an R instead of an L.

Emargeny Exit

This was found in the staircase of a shopping center. We assume it was caused by the Japanese spelling of emergency エマージェンシー (emaajenjii). Usually, when English words are expressed in Japanese they are written in the Katakana alphabet with sounds as close as possible to the actual English pronunciation. However, in English the spelling is sometimes different from the pronunciation. So, you will find weird spellings of English words here and there that are based on the pronunciation. A simple look at the dictionary could have avoided this mistake.

Marry Christmas

This is our favorite so far. Unfortunately, there are some English words that have the same pronunciation but different spelling and different meanings. For a Japanese person, it is sometimes hard to choose the correct one. As merry is a word that is not used that often (except for in the Christmas context of course) the person responsible for this banner was probably more used to the word marry. Actually, “Marry Christmas” could also be a nice message but this was probably not the intent of the creator.

Like you have seen leaving translation to someone that is not familiar with the language can lead to some funny and weird mistakes. If you would like to see more you can check the website engrish.com. They have a huge collection of similar English gone wrong from all over Asia.

If you do not want your Japanese translations to be as funny as the English translations, you just saw you should better consult a professional translation service. You can contact us anytime via telephone or our contact form if you are looking for translation.


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