Archive for the ‘Humour in Translations’ Category

Lalu Prasad Yadav and translation

July 11, 2008

In spite of globalisation and people’s natural inclination for learning more languages, the word “translation” reminds one of its roots and association with literature.

But not any longer. Please go through the link for the video at the end, without fail.

Union railways minister Lalu Prasad is to rule the roost on Youtube. A clip showing Lalu translating a Hindi poem into English while presenting the railway budget in February has become a huge hit on YouTube.

The clip is about Lalu reciting a Hindi poem during the speech, in which he seeks to convey his achievements in the ministry of railways. The clip dated February 26, 2008 has attracted over 3.5 lakh hits from across the globe.

While reciting the poem, he is interrupted by MPs, demanding him to translate it into English. Yadav stops, and says in English, “I will try to translate myself in English here.”

He then goes on to recite the complete poem in Hindi, and to peals of laughter, tries to translate it in English. The Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, is seen covering his mouth as he tries to suppress his laughter at Yadav’s inimitable attempts to translate the poem into English. Yadav says, “Everybody is appreciating, ki I have done a tremendous work. Each and every year, I have earned crores and crores every day. And they are saying, Lalu has planted a fruit tree, and every year, it is duty of my, to grow fruit tree.” To much mirth in the House, Chatterjee quips, “After this, the railways will not face any problems.”

One can watch this video in


February 17, 2006

The translated film title of “Fargo” in China is “Mysterious Murder in
Snowy Cream”.


February 8, 2006

I met a very enthusiastic lady who wanted me to teach Hindi to her tenth standard daughter.

And I had tough time teaching her the difference between ‘ब’ and ‘भ’.

It was memorable to teach her pronounce correctly – ‘ भारतीय जीवन बीमा निगम’, because, she would call it ‘बारतीय जीवन भीमा निगम’ !!!

कौन कहता है, हिंदी सरल है ? कम-से-कम मेरी वह विद्यार्थीनी तो नहीं ही कहेगी !!!

English, ooff!!

February 8, 2006

એક વાર ગુજરાતીના એક પ્રૉફેસર કૉલેજમાં પોતાના વર્ગના વિદ્યાર્થીઓને ઇંસ્પેક્શન માટે તૈયાર કરી રહ્યા હતા.

તેમણે એક વિદ્યાર્થીને ઇંસ્પેક્ટર આવે ત્યારે બોલવા માટે તૈયાર કરતાં તેને કહ્યું,”તું બોલવાની શરૂઆત કરે ત્યારે કહેવાનું, Respected Sir and teachers.” આ વાત તેમણે ગોખાવી-ગોખાવીને તૈયાર કરાવી.

ઇંસ્પેક્ટર સાહેબ આવ્યા અને ભરી સભામાં એ વિદ્યાર્થી બોલવા ઊભો થયો… અને શરૂઆત કરી –

Rejected Sir and teachers…..!!!!!”


January 22, 2006

A businessman spent three days negotiating a tough deal with a Japanese businessman.  The third day, things were going well, and he said, “well, I think that at last we’re thinking along parallel lines.”

The next day the Japanese businessman didn’t show up.  He checked the hotel and discovered that the businessman had checked out!  So he rushed to the airport and found the Japanese businessman in the departure waiting room.  He said, “Why are you leaving?  It took three days, but we’re finally thinking along parallel lines!”

And the Japanese businessman nodded, and said, “Yes, yes.  I scrutinize my dictionary.  Parallel lines will never meet.  So I go home.”

Preacher & Translator!

January 22, 2006

A preacher spent about five minutes telling a joke, and when he is finished, his translator said about four words, and everyone burst out laughing.

Later the man asked his translator what he had said, and the translator explained, “I knew they wouldn’t get your joke, so I just told them you had told a joke and they should laugh.”

Pope in translation!

January 22, 2006

An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the spanish market which promoted the Pope’s visit.

Instead of the desired “I Saw the Pope” in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed “I Saw the Potato”!! 

GM in South America!

January 22, 2006

When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that “no va” means “it won’t go.”

After the company figured out why it wasn’t selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.  


Coke in China!

January 22, 2006

The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. 

Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax” depending on the dialect. 

Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, “ko-kou-ko-le,” which can be loosely translated as “happiness in the mouth.” 

look at this!!

January 22, 2006

The American slogan for Salem cigarettes: 

“Salem – Feeling Free”  got translated in Japanese as: 

“When smoking Salem, you feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty.”