We have all experienced the challenge of trying to decipher the "English" instructions of some imported equipment (though to be fair the quality has greatly improved in recent years).
Most of the time we find it mildly frustrating and occasionally quite funny, but bad translation can turn out to be very expensive! Many of the following stories have attained a level of notoriety, but while the exact truth of them may be difficult to ascertain, they do illustrate quite clearly some of the pitfalls facing companies that operate in the global marketplace.
Pepsi Corporation had their slogan "Come Alive with Pepsi" translated into Chinese, unfortunately the Chinese rendering read: "Pepsi brings your dead ancestors back to life". They also translated the phrase into German, this time they were equally unlucky: "Come out of the grave with Pepsi."
Signs from around the world
In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.
In the reception of a Romanian hotel: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.
In an African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.
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.
In a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 daily.
In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
In a Tokyo hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid between 7.00 and 10.00 daily.
In the reception of a Moscow hotel: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
In an Austrian ski lodge: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.
On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
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.
In a Tokyo Hotel: It is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notis.
Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.
In a Bangkok dry cleaner's: Drop your trousers here for best results.
In a Greek tailor shop: Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.
From the Soviet Weekly: There will be a Moscow Exhibition af Arts by 15000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.
In a Vienna hotel: In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.
Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?
In a Swiss 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.
In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.
In a Finnish washroom: To stop the drip, turn cock to right.
In a Swiss mountain inn: Special today - no ice cream.
In the office of a Roman doctor: Specialist in women and other diseases.
In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.
On the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.
In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
In an Acapulco hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here.
In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.