The Mistranslations in This Campaign Are So Bad, They're Brilliant

Print Ads Remind People of the Need for Professional Translators

By Angela Doland. Published on May 02, 2017

Editor's Pick

One small pleasure of visiting China is spotting funny mistranslations on menus, billboards and t-shirts. It's always nice that someone made the effort, but menu items sometimes get translated in ways that are baffling ("The old Soviet Union to help smoked fish") or a little scary ("Husband and wife lung slice").

Signposts can be intriguing ("Garden with curled poo"). And you might be taken aback by signs in the grocery aisles ("F*ck the miscellaneous food").

J. Walter Thompson Shanghai collected some of the best examples and put them to use in a campaign for ElaN Languages, a business translation service and school based in Belgium; the ad agency's Amsterdam office also pitched in on the idea. The best mistranslations were wrapped into an amusing print campaign for China. The tagline is simple: "Get it right."

Rate this Ad

You must be registered to rate this ad.
Please or Register Now


May 02, 2017
JWT Shanghai

Need a credit fix? Contact the Creativity Editors

The Creativity Newsletter

The Creativity newsletter is editorially curated to spotlight the work that’s hitting the mark—or missing it altogether. Sign up to have it sent to your inbox.