Have to give the Welsh credit— with signs warning motorists of “exploding workers” or that they’re heading down the “Shear Madness” (or in Welsh, “Mad Sheep Shearing”), it certainly can get distracted drivers to actually pay attention to the road!
Apparently, bilingual mistranslations like these are so commonplace in Wales that a book is being published about it titled Sygmraeg— the name used for bad translations. It even includes a sign between Cardiff and Penarth notifying cyclists that they have an “inflamed bladder” and a contradictory warning to pedestrians in Cardiff to “Look Right” in English and “Look Left” in Welsh. How confusing!
Other gems include a wine shop that reads in English: “Wines and Spirits” except the Welsh is translated to “Wines and Ghosts.” Or the sign that reads “Business open as usual” and “Business not open” in Welsh.
Most famous of these was a sign placed in a Swansea roadside: “No entry for heavy good vehicles. Residential site only,” but in Welsh read, “I’m not in the office at the moment. Send any translation work.”
The mistranslations were collected by Welsh language magazine Golweg after readers started submitting them to its satirical column by Jac Codi Baw.
Happy Holidays from World Services!