Category Archives: Freitag Fun

Funny stuff because it’s Friday

Freitag Fun: Why not just plain “water”?

One of the coffee shop chains in Berlin has put out water for their patrons since all that coffee makes everyone so thirsty. They are also nice enough to put a label on it: “tab water”.

Some people think that the only thing required to complete a translation is a dictionary. In other cases -like this one- people think they can do it all without a dictionary.

Foto 2Foto


Freitag Fun: Bimbos fruit paradise

Would you buy fruit from a monkey named ‘Bimbo’? It may not be a translation mistake but it is definitely lost in translation. Perhaps this is only funny to me but it certainly got my attention. Found outside of the Jungfernheide S-bahn station in Berlin, May 2009. TGIF…

Freitag Fun: two words…good by

Lots of people think they don’t need to hire a translator because they learned English at school.

Lots of people thing they can save money on a professional translator if it is only a short text.

Lots of people think that English is easy.

For those people I only have two words…’good by’.

This sign hangs above the door at a hotel in Hamburg, Germany (spotted November 2008).


Freitag Fun: No Flirting with the Bicycles

img_0592Apparently making a pass at bicycles is not authorized, and neither is parking for that matter.

You would think that Berlin at the height of its Berlinale (Berlin’s International Film Festival) frenzy would have known better.

This sign was found in Potsdamer Platz in Berlin during the Berlinale Film Festival (February 2008). I don’t often take pictures of the translation mistakes I find, if only because there are so many of them. But then every once in awhile there is one that catches my eye, one that I don’t want to forget.

German is a brilliant language with a limited supply of root verbs and despite that no lack of expressions for the most specific of actions, thanks to those separable prefixes and not so separable prefixes. It can get confusing though. Of course, abstellen should not be confused with anstellen or feststellen or stellen for that matter. The same goes for schliessen and anschliessen and zuschliesssen and aufschliessen. Machen is one of the most commonly used verbs in all of German in all of its various forms, but in some cases it just doesn’t fit.