Tattoos featuring words, saying and quotes are popular. Insanely popular and no sign of slowing down the trend. The amount of people quoting not just phrases but entire paragraphs and yes…even favorite book pages is staggering.
And then there are the foreign language tattoos.
Why not add a little mystic and spice to your tattoo collection with a foreign word that will lead to the inevitable question “Your tattoo says what?” Ahhhh – a golden opportunity to explain the meaning of your ink! Worth the price of the tattoo every day.
Now, a misspelled word or a poorly worded quote is easy (and funny-tragic) to spot in English, but what happens if you move to Sanskrit, Chinese or Hebrew? If you do not speak these languages, find someone who does, check your idea before you commit to living, otherwise, you may find your ink error on one of these sites!
So let’s see some interesting interpretations around the world
You do not speak, do not read or do not write Hebrew? So of course, use Google Translate to choose your next tattoo! People on www.badhebrew.com do a great job in selecting the badly translated Hebrew tattoos. Maybe contact these guys before booking your next tattoo session.
“This little gem was sent in by Amit, and is just too good to pass.”
“As the story goes, this girl wanted to write “I love XXX” (boyfriend’s name) in Hebrew and tried to accomplish the task using Babylon translation software.
Well, if you read this site, you know where this is leading…
What does this Hebrew Tattoo read?
“Babylon is the world’s leading dictionary and translation software”
Oh yeah, THAT bad.
Remember boys and girls, never use an automatic/online translator, and especially if you’re translating a name. Sadly, this effort was doomed from the start. ”
It is the tattoo style in a foreign language that is the most misused and misquoted. These characters look so cool, but make sure you know what you are pledging before you ink. A quarter of the world’s (and growing) population is making fun of your misquoted tattoo.
Here is an example of Blogspot amazing translation abilities (and brutal honesty) – I strongly suggest you go there first BEFORE you commit those Chinese characters to ink!
” My husband has a tattoo that is SUPPOSE to mean “God’s Love” – please translate!”
Hanzismatter’s Reply: “It is gibberish.”
“I came across your site and my girlfriend would like to know what her tattoo exactly means.”
“Sucker of the gibberish font” OR “I married a moron”
Ouch and double ouch. Also my new favorite site.
First mistake and the most common? People think they get a Sanskrit proverb but it is written in Hindi. You think it does not matter? Well, do not try to send your “Sanskrit” tattoo to a native speaker to get his honest opinion.
The letters seem pretty – it’s a beautiful language. But please, have that translated accurately. This is the best site I have found and which carefully distinguishes the sometimes subtle difference between sentences and letters in Hindi and Sanskrit.
“Sanskrit fonts do not work like normal English fonts. Letters combine as a person’s business. A vowel, when written by itself, is different from a vowel that appears inside a word. There, only his mark, his sign, matra appears!
“When several consonants appear in sequence, a new symbol appears, called a ligature. Without proper ligatures, the language loses all its charm.
Sanskrit or Hindi? You say potato…come to think of it these might say potato – better check it!
Think you have this classic covered? Think again…
“Latin tattoos are difficult to create successfully: in fact, attempts to produce them can very easily – and very often – be wrong. Many people have taken over the translation of English into Latin for a custom tattoo rather than having contacted a professional. Some examples of the potential chaos and indelible errors that may arise from the use of automatic translators available via Google’s incorrect perverse translator are given below. “
Classicalturns.com offers translation services so you can avoid looking like a monk. What happens if you do not check with them first? Oh, nothing except that they use your tattoo translated by shit as a scathing example of what not to do!
“Here is the august shoulder of Danielle Lloyd, a ‘celebrity’ who has sought to bring the prestige of a Latin tattoo to her body…”
“To diminish me will only make me stronger”.
“Alas and alack, only one of these words is correct, namely ‘only’: tantrum. The ‘meaning’ of what she has actually had inked it is: “As who am I wearing away for myself, I only set (it) down for/on myself, strong man (that I am)?”. Interesting and enlightening; at least Ms. Lloyd will take strength away from this episode.”
Leave it to Latin Scholars to decimate you – but with class and excellent vocab words. Ouch! Another new favorite site of mine.
And there is more, of course … so much more. Russian? Konechno! But I refuse to piss off the Russians (though I’m pretty sure the Russians would not spell out their own tattoos – I’m just very careful.) German? So expensive. Espanol? Yes, Japanese – what do you think?
No language is spared the misquote or the misspelled word. Even English-speaking people get their English language tattoos wrong (you know what is coming)
Last thoughts? Always do your homework on tattoo translation and, if possible, have your picture checked by a native speaker before validating it. Your tattoo artist is not responsible for the good achievement, it’s you. What if you are in a foreign country trying to get a foreign tongue tattooed? Be very kind and polite – because you never know what you might end up with!