Whoever described translation as “the art which transforms everything so that nothing changes” has certainly not seen these Arabic > English translation blunders. These translation catastrophes actually did not transform anything to change everything!
Whether it is your food menu, your dental clinic or your local hairdresser, these so-called translations will make you think twice before getting involved. Who would ever want to have a “grilled problem” for lunch, go to “Nazi Dental Laboratory” for a checkup, or “Evil Saloon for Men” to get a haircut?
1. Grilled problem:
Despite its generous portions, this restaurant decided to cheap out on translations. Not being able to distinguish between the Arabic words for “variety” and “problem”, Google Translate offers the customers a “grilled problem” and a sizzling translation fail.
2. Nazi Dental Laboratory:
It’s bad enough your last name in Arabic transliterates to “Nazi”, but when your laboratory is called “Nazi Dental Laboratory”, it is definitely nicht a good sign.
3. Evil Saloon for Men:
In a desperate attempt to write “Eiffel Salon for Men”, this hair salon translation mishap offers its customers, assuming they have any, evil hairstyling services.
With “urination” on top of its list, this appetizers menu is guaranteed to take your appetite away. With only one letter different, the Arabic dish “taboula” and the Arabic word for “urination” have been confused under what could possibly be the worst circumstance ever.
5. King doubt:
You would think back-translating “milkshake” to English would be easy since it is the same word in Arabic. However, Google Translate defied all logic and decided to translate “milk” and “shake” separately and literally, creating the ultimate gibberish word “king doubt”.
6. Ebrahim El Lakani Street:
During Arabic translation projects, it is normal to perform DTP to make the English text layout run from left to right. However, reversing the directions of the arrows on street signs is taking things a little too far!
7. “Homeland is not a series”, “Homeland is shady”:
When Homeland hired three graffiti artists to portray a scene in the outskirts of Berlin as a Syrian refugee camp using graffiti written in Arabic, the artists seized the opportunity to accuse them of racism. The production team thought the text reflected what is normally seen in a Syrian refugee camp: pro-Assad graffiti. Little did they know they were publishing scenes that contained offensive remarks to themselves.