Translation Mistakes: Good Laughs, Bad Consequences

Share Article

Celebrating 25 years of accurate, reliable translations, University Language Services highlights some of the not-so-trustworthy mistranslations on signs and t-shirts around the world.

As University Language Services celebrates its 25th anniversary of providing accurate translations, we're also highlighting some of the unreliable but funny mistranslations seen around the world. Take these:

  • A Miami t-shirt maker created a shirt in Spanish that was supposed to say, "I Saw the Pope." Instead it read, "I Saw the Potato."
  • In China, the fast food restaurant slogan "finger-lickin' good" was mistranslated into "eat your fingers off."
  • In Athens, Greece, this sign greeted hotel guests: "Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. daily."

Funny translation mistakes are widespread, but University Language Services knows that mistranslations can result in serious consequences when they occur on academic transcripts, immigration paperwork, legal records or other documents.

For example, translation mistakes can lead to incorrect academic evaluations that deny students acceptance into their first-choice college. They even can delay immigration proceedings.

That's why University Language Services for 25 years has used linguists who specialize in and understand the nuances of academic terminology. Amateur translators and instant translation tools lack the linguistic fluency and cultural knowledge of our professional translators available in more than 150 languages.

Translation errors like those at are fun to mock. But when accuracy is of the utmost importance, choose an experienced translation company.

Call University Language Services toll free at 1-800-322-0284 for more information.

About University Language Services:

ULS specializes in the translation of academic transcripts, records and personal documents. Our website, , provides assistance to international students in the United States and American students who wish to study abroad.

ULS translates, transcribes and interprets 150+ languages and dialects from its international headquarters in New York City and affiliated offices around the world.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website