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Old 05.03.2012, 22:06
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Funny mistranslations

What funny mistranslations of sayings have you made by mistake that you like to use rather than correct?

Mistranslated from German to English we often use:

Life is not a pony farm (Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof)
I think I spider (Ich glaube, ich spinne)
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  #2  
Old 06.03.2012, 00:46
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Re: Funny mistranslations

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What funny mistranslations of sayings have you made by mistake that you like to use rather than correct?

Mistranslated from German to English we often use:

Life is not a pony farm (Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof)
I think I spider (Ich glaube, ich spinne)
That makes you nobody so fast after.
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  #3  
Old 06.03.2012, 08:35
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Re: Funny mistranslations

My OH was supervising some kids activities in french. He was trying to tell them to form a line. He actually told them to form a penis.

There was a lot of snickering.
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  #4  
Old 06.03.2012, 09:26
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Re: Funny mistranslations

Having comes from not giving out (Haben kommt von nicht hergeben). Referring to money. At least I think it is a saying, but I google didn't think so! BTW - here is the google translation of that saying: have come not to give up. I think that is even better!
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Old 06.03.2012, 10:11
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Re: Funny mistranslations

My favourite one is;

"My name is rabbit" from the German "Mein Name ist Hase, ich weiß von nichts"

Always draws a few laughs in our circle
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Old 06.03.2012, 13:09
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Re: Funny mistranslations

Here's a website full of them:

I Think I Spider
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Old 06.03.2012, 13:22
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Re: Funny mistranslations

I think advertising in Switzerland gives rise to many excellent mis-translations.

There was on recently in French in the window of the Promod in Neuchatel which advertised their sale.

Last Prices for "dernier démarques"
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Old 06.03.2012, 15:12
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Re: Funny mistranslations

about 10 minutes after we got on the motorway after moving here, our kids started in with "ifahrt, youfahrt, ausfahrt" after every Exit sign on the road. that and pretty much anything that has "schatzen" in it still gets a giggle from them.
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Old 06.03.2012, 15:18
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Re: Funny mistranslations

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Here's a website full of them:

I Think I Spider
I guess that might be funny, if it would only give a correct interpretation too. I haven't a clue what most of the German expressions really mean.
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  #10  
Old 06.03.2012, 16:12
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Re: Funny mistranslations

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I guess that might be funny, if it would only give a correct interpretation too. I haven't a clue what most of the German expressions really mean.
"We thank you for your Swiss citizenship application. Unfortunately, you have publicly admitted to not understanding our main national language. You application is, therefore, fail of the day."
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  #11  
Old 06.03.2012, 16:40
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Re: Funny mistranslations

You guys are so good, I'm leg-pressed!
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Old 06.03.2012, 16:47
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Migros advertising body bags when they meant shoulder bags. They never replied when I told them of the error!
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Old 06.03.2012, 18:42
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Re: Funny mistranslations

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Migros advertising body bags when they meant shoulder bags. They never replied when I told them of the error!
That's not only Migros. I wonder what idiots introduced that term in the entire German speaking areas of Europe already many years ago. It's like "Handy," "Happy End," "Mobbing" (in the sense of bullying!), "Slip" (meaning a pair of panties), "Hitliste" (meaning music charts), "Bio Food" (meaning organic food) and hundreds of other wonderful examples of unintentional humor.

It's called "Denglisch" (short for Deutsches Englisch). An English friend of mine calls it "reverse denglineering."

Migros, however, took the cake by renaming their Do-It-Yourself department to Do-It. When my American OH saw a Do-It sign on her first visit to a big Migros, she asked me, "What the heck do they do there?"
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Old 06.03.2012, 18:46
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Re: Funny mistranslations

An Italian buddy of mine wanted to say that his presentation was kinda bad and faked. I guess he wanted to use a term a long the lines of "I felt like a juggling circus bear".

It came out as: "I was like a bear rotating his balls".

Very amusing.
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Old 06.03.2012, 21:08
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Re: Funny mistranslations

I was in Marktkauf the other week, and there was one of the video advertising boards playing as I went up the moving escalator to the 1st floor. I did snigger when I watched the ad, which was for an ironing board cover, but if you bought it, you would get "Extra Dick".

I bought 4

Last edited by Fidgety; 06.03.2012 at 21:21.
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Old 06.03.2012, 21:15
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Re: Funny mistranslations

My kids always giggle at monatshit/Tageshit ... Can't think why
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Old 06.03.2012, 21:24
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Re: Funny mistranslations

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What funny mistranslations of sayings have you made by mistake that you like to use rather than correct?
Wanted to order appetizers, told the waitress I wanted to order "Vorspiele" ... Man the look on her face
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Old 06.03.2012, 21:34
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Re: Funny mistranslations

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That's not only Migros. I wonder what idiots introduced that term in the entire German speaking areas of Europe already many years ago. It's like "Handy,"
I actually once read somewhere that the term "Handy" for mobile phone was actually derived from the US military jargon "handy" (short for handy talkie), meaning walkie talkie and got into the German language via US troops stationed in Germany.

I'm not sure how true this story is, but it does make more sense to me, then the idea, that they just began using a more or less random English word. After all it is not a direct translation as many of the wrong English terms, but is entirely unconnected to any German term used for a mobile phone.
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Old 06.03.2012, 21:44
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Re: Funny mistranslations

A couple I've always liked that our translation package on the computer consistently comes up with when translating French to English.

When I translated the French instructions for my old washing machine:
poudre = gun powder - great for washing clothes!

sortir - when I'm looking at the cat refuge sites and the blurb translates to "loving home wanted .... after a period of adapation would like to leave." What? You only just settled in!
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Old 06.03.2012, 21:47
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Re: Funny mistranslations

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I actually once read somewhere that the term "Handy" for mobile phone was actually derived from the US military jargon "handy" (short for handy talkie), meaning walkie talkie and got into the German language via US troops stationed in Germany.

I'm not sure how true this story is, but it does make more sense to me, then the idea, that they just began using a more or less random English word. After all it is not a direct translation as many of the wrong English terms, but is entirely unconnected to any German term used for a mobile phone.
I only heard the term handy when I came to Europe, up until then I had heard mobile or cellular used to describe mobile phones
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