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Lost in Translation: Peculiar Signage Abroad

[dropcap size=dropcap-big]T[/dropcap]here are oodles of sites and memes around the Internet chronicling the odd signage and expressions you may encounter while traveling in other countries (what would Buzzfeed be without them?). Despite the abundance of these snafus and strange signs, do they ever stop being funny?


I mean seriously, try to make sense of the sign above. Right. You can’t!

To be fair, I’m sure there are just as many examples of signs in the United States that make no sense in other countries. And with the state of education in here, goodness knows how terribly we must mangle other languages.

My intention is not to be culturally insensitive, simply to respect the humor that inevitably arises when cultures and languages intersect. So, take a moment and enjoy these peculiar sightings that I made personally in the course of my own travels:

Child's t-shirt reads "Please give me your smile. Your smile is so attractive."

Hiroshima, Japan: This child’s shirt had me smiling from ear to ear through the whole Carps baseball game!

Storefront with signage reading "Hair Advice Centre"

Egham, England: Perhaps this isn’t as strange as I thought it was, but what exactly happens at a Hair Advice Centre?

Ice cream package reading "Crunky"

Japan: When Lil John titled the song “Get Crunk,” maybe all he really wanted was an ice cream bar from Family Mart.

Sign reading "Warning: Anti-climb paint"

Egham, England: In Ecuador, they use shards of glass to prevent people from climbing fences. The English use… paint?

Bottle reading: Pocari Sweat is a healthy beverage that smoothly supplies the lost water and electrolytes during perspiration. With the appropriate density and electrolytes, close to that of human body fluid, it can be easily absorbed into the body.

Japan: I’m thinking this product name/description wouldn’t fly in the US. Read the whole thing. Mmmmm, human body fluid!

Sign showing a horizontal body with a lightning-like arrow pointing at it, reading "Danger of Death: Keep Out"

Egham, England: In the United States we warn folks of danger, and let them infer the consequences. The English are a bit more explicit. Danger of death by squiggly arrow.

Sign with place names like, "Blatten, Gornerschlucht, Moos, Winkelmatten, and Zermatt"

Zermatt, Switzerland: There is nothing actually wrong with this sign, but I believe Monty Python parodied this kind of thing in the Holy Grail’s opening credits. And we’ve just seen the¬†signs the English use…

A listing of food options, including lines reading "rusty," "America Ice Cream," and "Shit"

Quito, Ecuador: What would you prefer for lunch: rusty, America Ice Cream, or shit?

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