Translations Gone Wrong All Over the World

Translation Error

In the 21st century, you wouldn’t expect that there would be so many grammatical and technical errors in printed signs, labels, and letters all over the world. I know this rant will probably be to the like-minded but I cannot help myself. I am dumbfounded every time I see a horrible translation like, “Please slowed” instead of “Attention please” or a small letter instead of a capital for a major highway sign. All it takes is for someone who speaks English to give it a second look.

I am not talking about the need for a simple indent or the correction of a misspelled word. What I am talking about are errors that make us laugh and feel embarrassed for the person it belongs to, and the Internet is full of them! Check this link out.


A large sign sticks out in my memory when I think of my last home city. It was an English sign at a public building that started off with “Please Slowed.” It bothered me because I knew the organization that produced the sign and proudly displayed it at the building’s entrance. It bothered me because I couldn’t understand why they didn’t have someone take a look before they printed it? Is it pride that does not allow a double-checking of items intended for printing? Wouldn’t the risk of error for such a permanent display outweigh the risk of lowering one’s chin? Perhaps they really thought their English was impeccable.

At previous positions, when I was charged with the development and management of permanent displays and pamphlets, I checked, double-checked, triple-checked, had colleagues check and family check before I submitted. Unfortunately, I still had an error or two shine their awful selves at final prints. Human error is unavoidable. But major errors in translation should be intolerable, especially with a world of wisdom at the press of a button -especially for the English language!

Have you ever seen a translation error that you could not ignore?

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