This is an example of "shrewd" translation:
At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If
you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on
(to continue the intercultural learning, here is some
In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push
button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter
more persons, each one should press number of wishing
floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by
In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear
with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage
of the chambermaid.
In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian
Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the
cemetry where famous Russian and Soviet composers,
artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
Similarly, from the Soviet Weekly: There will be a
Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic
painters and sculptors. These were executed over the
past two years.
In a Vienna hotel: In case of fire, do your utmost to
alarm the hotel porter.
In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth
extracted by latest Methodists.
In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your
bags and send them in all directions.
People should fear translators and interpreters. We
have the power!
Here is a look at how shrewd American business people
translate their slogans into foreign languages:
Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish,
where it was read as "Suffer From Diarrhea."
Chicken magnate Frank Perdue's line, "It takes a tough
man to make a tender chicken," sounds much more
interesting in Spanish: "It takes a sexually
stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate."
When Vicks first introduced its cough drops on the
German market, they were chagrined to learn that the
German pronunciation of "v" is "f," which in German is
the guttural equivalent of "sexual penetration."
When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a
few years back, they translated their slogan, "Pepsi
Brings You Back to Life" pretty literally. The slogan
in Chinese really meant, "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors
Back from the Grave."
When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they
used the same packaging as in the US, with the
beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they
learned that in Africa, companies routinely put
pictures on the label of what's inside, since most
people can't read.