One of the best sample collections (in any language) ever read dealing with this issue. Simply great. - MK

It's hysterical. And as somebody studying linguistics I find it particularly interesting. - Kelila

Computer translations

There's the story about the computer designed to translate between Russian and English. The English phrase "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" was submitted and then the Russian translation of that was re-submitted for conversion back to English. The result: "The wine is good but the meat is rotten."

HL sent me the following: In the early days of computing, in the 80's, a London university tried to develop a program that was so sophisticated it could translate several thousand colloquial phrases. At the official press conference a reporter entered the English phrase "Out of sight, out of mind". The resultant Russian was translated back to English: "invisible idiot". (This sounds like the same computer. - JN)

Here are more translations into English, just to show that people can be as funny as computers.

Do you have any funny translations not included below? E-mail me. Your contribution will be acknowledged.

See end of page for other humour pages


  1. In a Tokyo Hotel:
    Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

  2. In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
    The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

  3. In a Leipzig elevator:
    Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.

  4. In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
    To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

  5. In a Paris hotel elevator:
    Please leave your values at the front desk.

  6. In a hotel in Athens:
    Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. daily.

  7. In a Yugoslavian hotel:
    The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

  8. In a Japanese hotel:
    You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

  9. In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
    You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursdays.

  10. In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
    Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

  11. On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
    Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

  12. On the menu of a Polish hotel:
    Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.

  13. Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
    Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

  14. In a Bangkok dry cleaner's:
    Drop your trousers here for best results.

  15. Outside a Paris dress shop:
    Dresses for street walking.

  16. In a Rhodes tailor shop:
    Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

  17. From the Soviet Weekly:
    There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.

  18. In a Zurich hotel:
    Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

  19. In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
    Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

  20. In a Rome laundry:
    Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

  21. In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
    Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no miscarriages.

  22. Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand:
    Would you like to ride on your own ass?

  23. In a Swiss mountain inn:
    Special today - no ice cream. (kein Eis?)

  24. In a Bangkok temple:
    It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.

  25. In a Tokyo bar:
    Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

  26. In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
    We take your bags and send them in all directions.

  27. On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
    If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

  28. In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
    Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

  29. In a Budapest zoo:
    Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

  30. In the office of a Rome doctor:
    Specialist in women and other diseases.

  31. In an Acapulco hotel:
    The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

  32. In a Tokyo shop:
    Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in the long run.

  33. In a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner:
    Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.

  34. In a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
    When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

  35. Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
    - English well talking.
    - Here speeching American.

  36. On a Malaga freeway:
    Locals for sale or rent. (thanks to O.B.)

  37. In a hotel in Bruges:
    Bathroom light operates with motion sensor. Turns off approx. 15 minutes after last registered motion. (thanks to O.P.)

  38. On a Bulgarian web site:
    You may visit this webpage, only if you are logged in or it is unavailable. (thanks to A.M.)

  39. In an East African newspaper:
    A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

  40. Detour sign in Kyushi, Japan:
    Stop: Drive Sideways.

Now, if you need a really good translation, check out one of the best.

Funny sign translations

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