Lost In Translation

Our quarterly round up of translational errors from around the world, sourced and compiled for your reading pleasure by Communique Communications Ltd.
1. “British Journalist in shock over claims his book denies occurrence of Nanking Massacre”


World renowned British Journalist Henry Scott-Stokes is reportedly “horrified” after his bestselling book entitled “Falsehoods of the Allied Nations’ Victorious View of World History” was released in Japanese with huge inconsistencies to the facts he had dictated during translation.


Contrary to the original, it is said that the Japanese-language book alleges the Chinese government falsified the Nanking Massacre for its own political gain.


Scott-Stokes states that Hiroyuki Fujita, a translator who is a member of the nationalist group “The Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact” had spent 170 hours with him whilst he dictated his book for translation into Japanese, however, somewhere during this process some of the core facts have been taken out of context and subsequently relayed a message of “Far right wing propaganda” to which Scott-Stokes vehemently denies portraying in his original version.


Scott-Stokes’ original / English version did state that China had exaggerated the figure of 300,000 victims of the Imperial Japanese Army in Nanjing, however this appears to have been translated as a denial of the atrocities occurrence for overall political purpose.


When approached for comment by the South China Morning Post, Fujita stated there had been “a lot of misleading explanations” put forward and that a statement would be released through the web site of publisher Shodensha.


Source: South China Morning Post


  1. French Restaurant Menu Offers its customers “Stomach, Guts and Foot”


As far as miss-translations go, this is pretty appalling! Food critics at the Boston Herald were understandably shocked by the error presented to them in their menu whilst dining in Bayeux.


The word Tripe or ‘Tripes’ (in French) is defined as being the edible offal belonging to less appealing cuts of any given animal. However, not only has this calamitous translator missed out on the fact that the English language also has a similar term, they’ve added insult to injury by providing an extremely non-appetising description of the content of tripe! (just in case you didn’t know…!).


We believe in this example the translator was far from a professional and searched the term on Google without localisation or research.
Source: Boston Herald


3. Do Not Leave Your Children Unsurprised!


A selection of embossed steel signs installed in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park have left native English speaking visitors in hysterics having been miss-translated to laughable standard.


The signs, which were installed during May 2014, are the typical regulatory signs we see in parks across the world, with a twist of course. The finest example translated instructs parents not to leave their children ‘unsurprised’. Fortunately for the local authority responsible for maintaining the park, visitors have taken no notice of the poorly translated signage and their children enjoy their days spent revelling in Victoria Park without fear of un-notified shock from their parental guardians.


Source: SCMP


We at Communique hope that you have enjoyed the above selection of miss-translations from around the world. If you would like to receive our next quarterly round up of ‘Lost in Translation’ please subscribe to our blog, follow us on twitter or like our facebook page for the next update.