Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Lost in Translation: Email Error Ends Up on Welsh Road Sign

If you read English, you can understand the directions on the sign in Swansea, Wales: "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only."

In Welsh, it's a little bit different: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated."

According to a recent article on the BBC's website, the Swansea council sent an email request to their Welsh translation service for translation. However, he had the Out of Office Assistant turned on. So what they received back was a note about his absence. Only they thought it was the translation.

"When they're proofing signs, they should really use someone who speaks Welsh," journalist Dylan Iorwerth of Golwg magazine, told the BBC. Golwg is a Welsh-language magazine.

All official road signs in Wales are bilingual. There is a similar bilingual requirement in Canada for English and French language.

"It's all too common that things are not just badly translated, but are put together by people who have no idea about the language," Golwg's managing editor, Mr. Iorwerth told the Beeb.

A Swansea council spokeswoman said the sign would be taken down and replaced as soon as possible.

The new sign text? "Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients. Sorry, no mailbox here by that name."


Like this column? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.

1 comment:

  1. LOL :D I just found a similar mistake on the below website:


    some chinese shop with the English name: "Translate Server error"


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I am accepting comments from people with Google accounts to cut down on spam. Spammers aren't likely to register. There's been some Chinese spammer who keeps leaving spam comments under different names, and I'm hoping this will deter him. Jerk.

Other spam comments will be deleted with malicious glee.