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Tuesday’s Terrible Translations

This week we have a fantastic video to share with you!

Everyone knows the words to the Fresh Price of Bel- Air theme tune right?

Well, this clip shows us exactly what happens when these infamous lyrics are translated into the most popular languages in the world, and then translated back in to English using Google Translate.

Let’s see if we still recognise the song.

Click on the image below to watch the video.


you tube


Tuesday’s Terrible Translations

As you have seen over the last few weeks translation mistakes happen! But what happens when a company realises their mistake?

General Motors

When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, the company was unaware that “No Va” in Spanish means “It won’t go”. Needless to say, the sales of this car didn’t really take off! Before long, the company realised their mistake and re-branded the car “Caribe” in Spanish markets.

A very expensive mistake indeed!



This Chinese “manicure set” looks very painful! Hopefully people can see that the tools are not for nails and buy it for its intended purpose, in fact non-English speakers may be blissfully unaware of the joke!

manicure set

Changing the packaging can be a costly process, but when the item is of low value I don’t think the manufacturers would have pulled the product off the shelves!

Paying for a professional translation could avoid a costly mistake, for affordable professional translations use LiveTranslation.

Shrove Tuesday

Pancake UKSo it’s Shrove Tuesday, the day before the official start of Lent. As many Christians give up something for the 40 days before Easter, we see many people around the world tucking in to pancakes and rich foods before the fast begins tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday.

Today is certainly a good day for indulging, whether you are religious or not. So let’s see how this tradition varies around the world:

UK – Here in the UK Shrove Tuesday is more commonly known as Pancake Day. These tasty treats conveniently use up rich foods such as milk and eggs, things that are traditionally given up for Lent. Typical fillings include lemon juice and sugar, jam, and melted chocolate. However, it is always wise to start off with a few savoury ones to avoid the dreaded sugar rush!

Poland – In Poland, Shrove Tuesday is known as Sledziowka (sledz is Polish for herring) and they eat herring cooked in various different ways. People often have parties that end at midnight to symbolise the start of Lent. There are also some delicious doughnuts eaten, however this is traditionally on the Thursday before Shrove Tuesday.

Herring Poland

Brazil – In Brazil people celebrate Mardi Gras. Typically carnival celebrations happen over 3-4 days and finish on Ash Wednesday. It is a chance to celebrate and indulge before Lent begins. The most famous carnival is in Rio, Brazil where people dress up and Samba around the streets. 2 million people head to Rio each year to witness the infamous carnival and enjoy the atmosphere and culture, not to mention the flamboyant outfits.

carnival brazil


Sweden –  In Sweden Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday) is celebrated. They traditionally eat tasty pastries, and a bun called a Fettisdag buller. It is similar to a butterfly bun, as a section is cut out of the top and the hole is filled with delicious marzipan and whipped cream.

Fettisdag buller

Whatever tempts your taste-buds we hope you enjoy your Shrove Tuesday celebrations, and if you are taking part in Lent, we wish you the best of luck!

Tuesday’s Terrible Translations

cats and dogs

It is notoriously hard to translate sayings and slogans. These types of phrases have an implied meaning and if you translate them word for word, you are unlikely to make much sense!

For example the famous phrase, “it’s raining cats and dogs”.  It is obviously not raining animals, it is just an expression for a large amount of rain and that has to be reflected in the translation.

Tough, but not impossible!

A few famous brands have fallen victim to literal translations of their slogans over the years, here are just a few…


KFC got rid of its world famous Finger Lickin’ Good slogan just a few years ago. Unfortunately when this was translated in to Chinese the message of tasty delicious chicken was somewhat lost. Instead of the chicken being so good you had to lick your fingers, it was translated too literally and became “Eat Your Fingers Off!” Not only incorrect but also considered rather rude in China!



Braniff was a Dallas-based airline that made a mishap when translating a promotion. The slogan they used was “Fly in leather” highlighting that the airline boasted leather seats. However, the Spanish translation “Sentado en cuero” fails to imply that the customers will be sitting in leather seats, but suggests that they are sitting naked! Cuero is literally translated as leather, but also means hide, or even just skin.



Things Live Translation Has Helped Customers to Achieve

Over the years we have helped people over all over the world communicate with each other. Language is no longer a barrier. Whether it is for business or pleasure, formal or friendly, Polish or Punjabi we can provide a fast, professional and affordable translation. Here are some of things we have helped our customers to achieve, and a few testimonials so you can see in their own words, what their experience with Live Translation was like.


Building Relationships

Dating someone from another country is not the easiest thing in the world, but don’t let the language barrier get in the way. However you wish to communicate we can provide a translation. It doesn’t matter if you prefer letters, emails or texts we can take care of the translation and all you need to do is choose how to send it!

Starting a Business

You can tap in to millions of extra customers by being international. This ranges from translating the content of your website, translating product descriptions and customer service queries on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, and to further your success, the translation of blog posts. 

Buying Property Abroad

Be sure to understand what you are signing up for, as contracts in other countries can be very different than those you are used to back home. The legal side of things will also differ. We can translate contracts and correspondence so you know exactly where you stand.


Testimonial | Communication with Customers

I shopped around before buying my online translation and found Live Translation not only offered exactly the service I was looking for, but was also much more reasonably priced than other companies. Getting a price for my translation was quick and easy as the site was very easy to use, and my translation was completed promptly. Live Translation enabled me to communicate with my guests so I would recommend it to others.

Anthony – Wang Ta Ching Global Ltd, Bangkok

Testimonial | Legal/Formal Documentation

I’d definitely recommend Live Translation. I needed translation of some legal documents and was really impressed with the quality of the translation that I received.

Toney – Montserrat


Testimonial | Cost-Effective Website Translations

Live Translation offered the service I was looking for – help with translations for our website. The site was easy to use and the price was affordable. Most importantly for me, the service was very fast which was really helpful as I was under pressure to meet a deadline. I’d definitely recommend it.

Michael – Top Form Brassiere Co Ltd, Thailand

Tuesday’s Terrible Translations

Automatic online translators such as Google Translate are notably unreliable. By looking for patterns in billions of documents, these free online services try to apply translations that have already been done by humans to your text. Google uses complex algorithms to make an educated guess as to the best translation, meaning that the output is based on a calculation rather than any form of linguistic logic. As a result, there are many mistakes.

Here is one of the terrible translations we found this week on Google…

French bad trans

In French Il prit ses jambes à son cou means that he took off in a hurry. The literal meaning is ‘he put his legs in his neck’, meaning he is running away very quickly. Unfortunately Google doesn’t seem to be aware of this expression, as a result it believes that instead of running away from something, the man in question took her legs around his neck!

I think Parker may have used a similar free translator for their ball point pen campaign in Mexico.

In English the slogan was…. It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you


Unfortunately in Mexico, the message read “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

The word embarrass which should be “avergonzar” in Spanish, had been incorrectly translated as the word for pregnant “embarazar”.

It is still a pretty good USP! I wonder how long it took for this ad to be pulled?

I Love You… The Top 5 Languages of Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 Saint Valentine’s Day is celebrated all around the world. In South Korea women give chocolate to men on February 14th, in Finland you remember your friends as well as your loved ones, and in Italy a common gift is a small, chocolate-covered hazelnut that conceals a romantic message.

To get you in the mood for cupid’s arrival, over the past few weeks we have been Tweeting I love you in various languages.

Here’s how to say  I love you in our top 5 languages of love.

persian cat



1. Perfectly Persian - من شما را دوست دارم pronounced Tora dost daram 


swedish heart



2. Seductively Swedish - jag älskar dig




3. Lovingly Latvian - Es Tevi milu 





4. Tantalizingly Turkish - Seni seviyorum





5.Romanticly Russian - Я тебя люблю pronounced Ya tebyA lyublyU


Whether it’s for that special occasion or you’re just feeling romantic, here at Live Translation, we will help you get the message across to that special person.

Top 5 International Chat Up Lines

heartKeyNothing breaks the ice better than a well rehearsed chat up line. It shows your cheeky, confident and ultimately interested! If you thought us Brits were the only culprits then think again.

As we countdown to Valentine’s Day this Friday  we have been researching the use of chat up lines around the world, from the gems that we found here are our top 5.

5. France

“Si je te disais que tu as un beau corps, tu m’en tiendrais rigueur?”

If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?

4. China


“Wŏ céng jīng jìan guò nĭ mă? Huò xŭ zài wŏ méng lĭ jìan guò?”

Haven’t I seen you before? Maybe in my dreams?

3. Poland

“Musisz byc zmeczona, bo caly dzien biegalas po moich myslach.”

You must be tired, because you’ve been running through my mind all day

2. Germany

“Der Barkeeper hat gesagt, dass dieser Drink unwiderstehlich macht, und jetzt wollte ich Dich fragen, ob er es schon wirkt.”

The barman said that this drink would make me irresistible, has it worked?

Drum roll please…..

1. The Philipines

“Naniniwala ka ba sa pag ibig sa unang tingin?”

Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk by again?

So when your writing your Valentine’s Day card this year, why not include one of our international chat up lines? If the recipient speaks one of these languages that will certainly earn you some brownie points. If not, why not let your valentine work it out for themselves!

Terrible Translations

Tuesday’s Terrible Translations

A comical blunder on this Starbucks sign.

Unfortunately “éxito” actually means “success” in Spanish.

Success here?! I am surprised this queue isn’t longer!

Terrible Translations 2

This notice on a ceramic dish indicates that it should be washed by hand.

“Handwashing recommended”

However the French translation “Il est conseillé de se laver les mains”  is suggesting that the user washes their own hands rather than washing the dish by hand!

Oh well, it could be worse…

Terrible Translations 3








US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton famously gave a reset button to her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. It was supposed to symbolise the resetting of their relationship.

Quite a nifty idea, if the translation had been accurate!

Unfortunately her team chose the wrong word, the term they chose “peregruzka” actually means “overcharged” rather than reset!

As you can imagine, it didn’t go down well. I hope some staff members were reset after this blunder.

Send a Card to a Friend Day

There is nothing more exciting than receiving a card in the post and reading a special message that has been written just for you. Even more so when it isn’t a special occasion! It is such a lovely gesture; you know that it is personal and it shows that a special effort has been made.

With the invention of emails and texting, communication has been dramatically accelerated. However, the messages we send using technology have become less sentimental and more corporate.

file0001872467778What better way to show you are thinking about someone than to send them a card, today we celebrate Send a Card to a Friend Day to inspire you to send a special message to a special someone.

So if you want to tell a friend you appreciate them, you miss them or just want to let them know that you were thinking about them, then today is the day!

Do you have a friend that lives abroad? Why not make that extra special effort and communicate in their language? Head to for speedy, affordable translations.