header print

13 Hilarious Tattoo Translation Fails

Tattoos can be a beautiful and artistic expression of a person’s beliefs and the things that are important to him, but they require particular care due to their permanent nature. Some people favor a meaningful name, word or slogan over an elaborate drawing, and among those, many prefer to have it inked in a language they think is more aesthetically-pleasing or mysterious than English.
With all of the linguistic nuances, it’s easy to imagine how easily people can botch their tattoos, and here are some of the most hilarious photos of just that:
1. This person will never need to struggle ordering in a Chinese restaurant again
Bad tattoos: chicken soup
2. Why human translation is valuable
Bad tattoos: Babylon
This one has been making the rounds. Apparently, this young lady wanted to surprise her boyfriend with a tattoo that reads “I love you”. Instead, it reads “Babylon is one of the world’s leading dictionary and translation programs”
3. Carbs are important
Bad tattoos: rice
So, supposedly this was supposed to be Qi, a primal force of life in eastern philosophy. What it says is “rice”. How did that happen? If we were to guess, it’s because in traditional Chinese, the lower component of the Qi character 氣 is similar (but not identical) to rice 米.
4. A double whammy
Bad tattoos: Danielle Lloyd
This one comes courtesy of model Danielle Lloyd and features not one, but two bad tattoos.
The Hebrew one is supposed to read “only God can judge me” and it kind of does. Except it’s not Hebrew. Instead, what you see here is a very poorly-rendered phonetic spelling of the English sentence in Hebrew letters. To top it off, the sentence is repeated twice.
On her trapezoid is nonsensical Latin that looks like it was ran through Google translate, which is a very bad idea, since Latin grammar is incredibly complex. It’s meant to read “to diminish me will only make me stronger,” but the grammar is all wrong, and the result is something like “what I chafe for myself so much plants to me stronger.” To make matters worse, it’s in the masculine form.
5. Praise WHAT?
Bad tattoos: fish
A very popular religious symbol is the ICHTHYS. “Ichthys” in Greek means fish, but it’s also an acronym for “Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter”- “Jesus Christ, savior son of God”. The person who did this tattoo probably figured this acronym works the same regardless of the language, so he just wrote “fish” in Hebrew. In the wrong direction. With a final letter in the beginning that has nothing to do with the word.
6. Supportive spouse
Bad tattoos: husband
This one reads “husband head empty”.
7. It’s a mystery
Bad tattoos: translation
We may never know what he intended to have written, but what it says is “without translation”.
8. Only rings ‘round here are barbecued calamari
Bad tattoos: BBQ
Singer Ariana Grande wanted to tattoo “7 Rings” in honor of her single of the same name. Instead she got “small barbecue grill” on her palm.
9. Much appreciated
Bad tattoos: rotten
This is a particularly cruel prank. What this actually says is “ana mu’affan”, “I am rotten”.
10. Bad English tattoo? Who’d have thunk it?
Bad tattoos: swim
This Brazilian woman obviously wanted to tattoo “nothing happens by chance”. Sadly, in Portuguese the 3rd person conjugation of “swim” (nadar) is a homonym of nothing (nada).
11. Passive-aggressive? More like aggressive-aggressive
Bad tattoos: thou shall not
The tattoo artist must have known what he was doing. The poor guys asked for “honor thy father and thy mother”, instead he got a different Biblical commandment: “thou shall not make tattoos”, echoing Leviticus 19:28.
12. Her passion for soup knows no bounds
Bad tattoos: miso
13. Freedom Isn’t Free
Bad tattoos: free
Another tragic case of a Google-translated tattoo. She wanted “I am free” tattooed on her back. Instead, she got “I am free of charge”. BONUS POINTS: the alignment of the letters is wrong.
What we can all learn from these botched tattoos is that there are some things to consider before marking your body forever with a phrase in a language you do not know. For example: not all languages use an alphabet. Chinese characters, known as Hanzi or Kanji, do not denote consonants the way Latin letters do. Rather, each symbol denotes an entire word or meaning. Even among languages that do have a phonetic alphabet, not all operate the same way that English does. Some languages are heavily gendered, some have no gender at all, some have initial or final variants of letters, some are written right to left, and some do not have vowels at all.
Next Post
Sign Up for Free Daily Posts!
Did you mean:
Continue With: Facebook Google
By continuing, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy
Sign Up for Free Daily Posts!
Did you mean:
Continue With: Facebook Google
By continuing, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy