Lost In Translation

I love humour and laughing and probably tend to seek out things to laugh at. One of my favourite sources of humour are signs.

There is one side of me that humbles forgiveness with this as many of the signs I find humour with are written by nationals of other countries who are being courteous through attempting to provide information in English. Hopefully, people of other languages will find some humour in some of my attempts at their languages.  However, many English people create interesting English signs too.

Take this one from a Cornish guest house

“Will any guest wishing to take a bath please make arrangements to have one with Mrs Harvey”.

and visitors to Ireland love our “traffic calming” signs meaning approaching a speed restriction area and “Slow” signs that are shortly followed by “Slower” signs.

When I was in Crete once, in a hotel room 5 levels up, the hotel guide in the room said “from your hotel window you can see our beautiful exotic gardens that you might like to drop into sometime”.

A Spanish beach has a sign “Beach Of Irregular Bottoms”

and a Buenos Aires tourist guide says “Several of the local beaches are very copular in the summer”.

How about a hotel brochure in Copenhagen that reads “In fire, the bells rings three times. There is a fire escape on each floor. For other amusements see page 3”.

If you get the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, once a week has has a feature called “Headlines”  that also features a lot of these kinds of signs and brochures as well as “lost in translation” news items from newspapers and magazines. Jay has also released several books of these with profits going to his favourite charities. I see these are featured on YouTube too.

I actually wrote this blog article are reading a blog post from today’s England’s Daily Telegraph where there is a review of books called  “Lost In Translation” and “Still Lost In Translation” by Charlie Croker. If you click through this link you can enjoy many more amusing translated signs and brochures and find out where and how to buy his books.




  1. Worth a laugh! Ireland has its fair share of funny signs - I remember seeing one that had one arrow pointing to "all directions" and another to "other directions".
    /Petra, Finland

  2. I love reading signs and brochures like that. It is often so funny.

  3. On a February trip to Ireland, a man named John and a lady called Claire took me for a drive through Sligo...we saw a sign which said "T.J. Crumbie - TV repairs "
    I would love a photo of it .


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