Archive | 4:52 pm

Language Barriers

1 Mar

I don’t have much to post, besides the fact that I’ve been going to bed too late this week (but because I’m busy, not because I’m lazy!) and feeling the consequences. Also, work is still really busy and two huge projects with lots of details and moving parts are scrambling my brain. If you see typos in this post, it is not my fault.

One of the projects I’m working on is translating our company website into Spanish and Portuguese (I’m not actually translating – we hired a company to do it). One of the brain-frying dilemmas we’ve run into is whether or not to translate our product names. We have talked about this a lot and every day it seems like another layer is peeled off and it is still just a cluster.

Anyway, while I was musing with my boss about how languages borrow words from other languages (English is definitely one of the worst offenders), she told me about a website called It’s kind of like the FAIL blog, only they post pictures of attempts at using the English language that have gone so, so wrong.

Here are some of the ones that I laughed out loud at:

A couple of friends that got married while we still lived in Minneapolis went to Mexico on their honeymoon. And they said that one of the emcees had asked at the beginning of a show, “Are you ready, yes or not?” I’m sure I sound exactly like that when I speak in broken Spanish but it’s still funny!

I really do have to give kudos to all those who know English, even though it’s not their first language. I’m convinced that English is the most difficult (common) language to learn. There are so many words to describe the same thing, and so many exceptions, and stupid grammar rules, and borrowed words. I would hate learning English.

Anyway, hopefully the people reading our website after it’s translated won’t be laughing at our expense!