Stir-fried Wikipedia with Pimientos

Translation blunders have long been a source of amusement to consumer targets overseas. While these mistakes often make consumers giggle or even blush, they are anything but funny to the companies that lose credibility, respect or business as a result of an incorrect translation or cultural misstep.

In China, a restaurateur eager to attract an international clientele decided to display the restaurant’s English name on the storefront next to its Chinese name. Unfortunately, the machine translation application he chose to perform the task was not working at the moment, and his restaurant now bears the English name “Translate server error.” Using the Internet has also thwarted several Chinese restaurants’ attempts to get accurate translations at a low price. Menus have featured “Stir-fried Wikipedia with pimientos” and “Barbequed congo eel with Wikipedia and fermented bean curd.” Apparently, these would-be translators confused the name of the Web site with the name of the item they were trying to find.

Read Jiri’s article on the importance of getting it right at