Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My father has forwarded me this news story about hilarious mistranslated signs used by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. It appears Royal Caribbean Cruise Line did not verify the Chinese translation's accuracy and blindly trusted Google Translate.

Luckily paper signs can be reprinted, unlike tattoos.

Corned Beef Hash => "salted beef jumbled signal"

Ham and Bamboo Shoot Salad => "clumsy actor and bamboo's salad"

Garden Greens => "[botanical] garden became green color"

Chicken and Mushroom tart => "timid and rapidly grown prostitute(s)"

Regular Milk => "policy milk"
Half & Half => "secondary butter blended mixture"

Green Split Pea Soup => "green separation pea soup"

English Bacon => "English [language] cultivate root"

* Update: several readers have informed me that 培根 is an acceptable transliteration for "bacon" in Taiwan. However, the sign is still incorrect for using "English [language]", instead of "English [cuisine style]".

Creamy Italian Dressing = "butter Italy costume"

Original Story:
中式英文令人啼笑皆非 美国人英译中菜单更搞笑(图)

Language Log:
Timid and Rapidly Grown Prostitutes


  1. Most of the other translations seem to be equally wrong too... "Arbeiten Sie im Gartengrün" really made me laugh.

  2. The other languages appear to be just as bad, especially the French:
    Pic 1: "The chopping of beef"
    Pic 3: "The green garden"
    Pic 4: "being scared and mushroom tart"
    Pic 5:"legal milk" and "cream coffee"
    Pic 6: "The green division pea soup"
    Pic 8: "The creamy seasoning of an Italian person"

  3. In all fairness, 培根 is how we write bacon here in Taiwan.

  4. In Spanish:
    1)"Mince cow meat"
    2)and 3)Correct
    4)"The chicken and grow cake"
    5)"Nothing special milk" or "Not too bad milk"
    "Cream "half and half""
    6)and 7)Correct
    8)"Italian creamy sauce" (not for salads)

  5. The Japanese includes:
    Ham and Bamboo Salad
    Green Dried Split Pea Plant Soup
    English Language Bacon
    Italian Person's Dressing (Clothed)

  6. "timid and rapidly grown prostitute(s)" killed me:)

  7. German:
    1) -correct-
    2) Salad of the ham and bamboo
    3) Work in the garden green (as a formal offer for a leisure activity or a command)
    4) Chicken and spreading drastically Off
    5) Milk at regular intervals
    Cream/milk half and hald (half and half is not used in Germany and would be halb-und-halb, anyway)
    6) -correct-
    7) -not translated- ('bacon' is not used in Germany)
    8) Creamy Italian (person) getting clothes On

    Google seems to be not that bad for German.

  8. Continuing on Japanese: regular milk as in "systematic, reliable" milk.

    And I very much doubt マッシュルーム would denote an actual mushroom (キノコ、茸 - but the Japanese have many names for mushrooms).

    P.S. It's been long since the blog has been updated. None of the stuff I sent is worthy, I suppose. :-(

  9. マッシュルーム is quite common though not really used for indigenous Japanese mushrooms. It pretty much means "button mushroom" today.

  10. Bamboo shoot salad is written as Bamboo Salad in nearly all the translations. Overall, this is not just Hanzi smatter....that's Gelman, Itarian, Flench, etc. etc. Here in Turkey we're used to the bad translations of dish names in shoddy eatery menus, we even find it cute in a quirky kind of way...but on an expensive cruise ship, this is what can be called an epic fail.

  11. French is equally off target... appalling

  12. I have to agree with the other bloggers. They sent the English phrase through Google Translate to get almost every one of these. The mistranslations in German, Italian and French are as bad as the Chinese ones. "La Division Verte Pois Soupe," indeed!

  13. The English isn't so hot, either---Bamboo "Shot" Salad? I wonder what the person's first language is.

  14. Hilarious! Timid and Rapidly Grown Prostitutes...priceless

  15. Sounds like whoever done the translations wanted to keep the adjectives and slang. Even in English, we don't say "regular milk", we just say "milk". "Garden greens" is just slang that mistranslated big time. What are these people thinking?

  16. Am I the only one who noticed that they seem to switch back and forth between traditional and simplified Chinese without rhyme or reason?

  17. I agree, the French translation is hysterical. The dairy section is even funnier than what Scott posted. It reads, "Habitual Milk" and "Cream Paratrooper Coffee".

  18. The French is atrocious.

    Pic 4 is literally "To deinflate yourself and the mushroom tart".

    My guess is the original language is Spanish - the French that they have for "Half and Half" is "cream "para" coffee. "Para" being Spanish for "for".

    "The Green Division Pea Soup?" that was given doesn't point out that "pea soup" in French isn't "pea" + "soup" it's "soupe aux pois". A reverse translation would have the English as "soup of peas", to give an idea of how clunky that is in French.

  19. The German is not so good either. Bacon is "speck," not "bacon," and dressing is translated as a woman's dress. At least most Germans know enough English or French to figure out what they are eating.

  20. Ahahahah, Italian translations are hilarious too:

    1) Rifrittume: never heard of, sounds like "things fried again"
    2) almost correct, sounds funny
    3) Verdi di Giardino: "Green (people?) from the garden"
    4) La torta di pollo e fungo : "The chicken and (only one) mushroom cake "
    5) Latte normale : "normal milk"
    Panna Half and Half: "Cream 'Half and Half'"
    6) La divisione Pisello Minestra Verde : The division pea (just one) green soup
    7) Bacon Inglese: "English Bacon" wow, correct
    8) Salsa cremosa Italiana: "creamy Italian sauce"
    L'Abbigliamento Cremoso italiano : "The creamy Italian clothing" ahahah
    (btw, "Italian Dressing" and "Italian seasoning" are NOT used in Italy)

  21. "The creamy seasoning of an Italian person"

    "timid and rapidly grown prostitute(s)"

    My pelvic floor cannot handle this! Too funny!

  22. The german translation is even more funny.
    1.) This word does not even exist.
    2.) Salad of the ham and bamboo.
    3.) Work in the gardengreen.
    4.) Chicken and spreading himself drastic tart out.
    5.) Cream/milk half and hold.
    6.) This is actually correct: Green Pea Soup.
    7.) English Bacon. (But bacon is no german word)
    8.)Creamy Italian (habitant) dress (clothing) on.

  23. Oh my god. I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard... thank you so much for posting this, and thank you to all the wonderful commentators.

  24. hello
    i 'm french and it's dreadful too!! but the translate is already made so...thanks for your blog