As a frequent traveller, I have long forgotten how it is like to be at home and what “home” really means. Sometimes I feel like I am a leaf floating on the river, drifting from place to place, not knowing where I would end up going the next day.
Yet in all these times of travelling, there is one little thing that has made me feel lighter as I face many challenges far away from my homeland: that is, strangely, the mistranslated signs and instructions that appear in airports, hotels and pubic transports. And I am saying this without the slightest hint of sarcasm. As a bilingual myself, I know that the authors of these mistranslated signs actually know more languages than I do. And every time as I speak to them, I learn more about their cultures and language habits. I have a strange feeling of familiarity in an unfamiliar land.
Here are some examples of mistranslation around the world that may speak your heart and lighten up your day.
Job searching is frustrating sometimes.
Job recruitment advert for Nok Air airline, Thailand:
If you are energetic, living, friendly…
The world confuses me every day.
If you wish, you may open the window.
Do not open the Window.
I am sick of the technology.
To call room service, please to open door and call Room Service.
Please call quiet, people may sleep.
Sometimes I just can’t pull myself to face this crazy world…
Please keep shutters close or monkey make you crazy.
I am disoriented.
Lobby shop in Kuantan, Malaysia:
Found in the lobby.
And I don’t even know how I feel every day.
Please maintain temperature at 1 degree from 25, any higher or lower will only make the room hotter or colder.
Even toilets appear to be extremely dangerous:
Colombo, Sri Lanka:
Please do not bathe outside the bathtub.
Please to bathe inside the tube.
Gaspe Peninsula, Canada:
No dancing in the bathrooms!
I just don’t know what I should do to save myself in this crazy world.
Finally an example from London, UK:
All fire extinguishers must be examined at least five days before any fire.
Hope that the examples above have lightened up your day.
Yet, they mean much more for me.
Behind all these mistranslated lines, I can see my experiences and the friends I have met in this world of immense beauty and diversity.