Russian-speakers will find much hilarity in this list of “translators’ pearls.” My favorite so far: “I’m not a woman you can trust – Ya ne zhenshchina, pover’ mne [‘I’m not a woman, believe me’].” (Via Avva.)


  1. Quickly! Quickly! – Эй, пошевеливайтесь грязные свиньи!

  2. Kicketty cocketty kike,
    there was a third student named Reich


  3. In a similar vein, on Icelandic telly “Your husband is a bore” was translated as “Maðurinn þinn er villisvín” (Your husband is a warthog).
    An honest mistake I’m sure.

  4. Oh, Bjorn (sorry have no idea how to do the umlauts), there are better things there:
    …Вопрос на одном из переводческих форумов:
    Что значит whazzup?
    В английском такого слова нет. Очень похоже на финский язык.
    A question on one of the translator’s forums:
    -What “whazzup” means?
    The answer:
    -There is no such word in English. Sounds very much like a Finnish word.

  5. Oh man. I’m cryin’ here.

  6. Michael Farris says

    a few quick Polish ones (I should collect these I usually forget them too quickly):
    (teenager describing fight with his girlfriend)
    “I’m like all ‘I just wanna have a good time’.”
    “Jestem jak wszyscy, tylko chcę bawić się.”
    “I’m like everybody. I just want to play.”
    (from Chicago – private version with amazingly awful sub-titles)
    “Single my ass!”
    “Kawaler? Kawaler moich pośladków!”
    “Bachelor? Bachelor of my buttocks!” (No, it doesn’t make any sense in Polish either)
    “An apartment with a john”
    “Mieszkanie z Johnem”
    “An apartment with John” I can only imagine viewers wondering who this John person was)

  7. Thank you, Michael, now I am prepared for my workday!

  8. For more translating hilarity, step into Goblin’s lair:
    A couple of teasers:
    Manicure – Деньги лечат
    I have been there – У меня там фасоль
    God only knows – Единственный нос бога
    To be or not to be? – Пчела или не пчела?
    Let’s have a party – Давайте организуем партию!

  9. HA! too funny.

  10. Mind you, ‘Indian Joe and the Triumphal Arch’ and ‘Attack of the Clowns’ might be worth seeing.

  11. Hee. I strained my rusty Russian to the breaking point reading these, but enough worked to make me laugh. Thanks for passing along the link!

  12. A new website was launched last week directed at people that make their living with the written word. is now inviting manufacturers, translators, technical writers, authors, publishers in fact anyone that is involved with the creation of written texts for worldwide consumption to assist them in developing and testing their website.
    The site’s aim is to provide a facility where issues can be discussed in a variety of forums, where direct dialogue can be established between manufacturers and translators thus cutting the development costs of technical manuals, advertising literature, etc. that is intended for the international markets. will be launched officially around mid November.

  13. Here‘s the direct link.

  14. PlasticPaddy says

    Domain for sale when link followed. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  15. But the “translators’ pearls” page linked in the post is still there, which is impressive!

  16. January First-of-May says

    Domain for sale when link followed. Sic transit gloria mundi.

    On the other hand, the link in the OP appears to still be working, which must be relatively unusual for a link from 2004.

    [EDIT: ninja-ed by said OP.]

  17. “Baby in car” – “baby v mashine”

Speak Your Mind