Awkward Syntax

Here’s a dilemma: How do you describe the unbridled hilarity of botched translations to a blog audience that doesn’t speak the language? I struggle with this daily. For example, here’s  a snapshot of a local supermarket marketing sign that has been up in the window for at least a month. The store is advertising ‘radiation flavored’ Pringles.

New Electromagnetic Flavored Pringles

New Electromagnetic Flavored Pringles

Turns out some poor dictionary-toting retail clerk translated Pringles “Light” into the Israeli word for visible light, totally different from the term used to denote the antonym of heavy (which is commonly used to indicate ‘low-fat.’) Yes, an English speaker might pick up on this right away, but most Israelis will stare at it for hours without cluing-in to the punnish error. More often than not, Israelis’ first thought is of “skin-flavored” Pringles, a far grislier interpretation that stems from the Hebrew near-homonyms of “Oar” (aleph-vav-reish) and “Or” (eyin-vav-reish). Inside jokes for a bi-cultural audience…

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~ by jonlib on March 4, 2009.

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