Translation Mistakes to Watch out for During the Holidays

We have all seen the hilarious mishaps when signs are mistranslated by well-meaning yet unprofessional linguists. Translation mistakes happen to anyone, and they can lead to awkward results in the moment. Anyone who has taken translation classes knows the phrase faux amis. Here are some false friends to look out for, that are especially important to know for the holidays!

Translation Mistakes with Your Spanish In-Laws

One of the most well-known false cognates from Spanish to English is “embarazada.” It might look like the English word “embarrassed,” but it actually means “pregnant.” One thing is for sure—you will be embarrassed if you tell your Spanish in-laws that you are pregnant. Before you receive your medical Spanish certificate, you will need to know the right meaning of that word.

Translation Mistakes with Your European Boss

Another false friend is the word “sensible,” which means “reasonable” in English. However, French, German, Italian or Spanish interpreter classes online would teach you that the word “sensible” actually means “sensitive” in several other languages. Be careful who you chose to describe as sensible at your next Christmas company party—especially if that person is your boss!

Translation Mistakes with German Best Friend

Finally, and the most potentially worst translation mishap of all that can happen during Christmas, involves the word “gift.” While you might be looking forward to getting a present, in German the meaning of the word “gift” is actually “poison.” Before you are ready to become a translator, make sure your clients do not think that you are trying to poison their appetizers.

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Erica Macri

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