Crimes and Misdemeanors – a random collection

Well, perhaps small crimes – against the language – and misdemeanors; the latter referring to writers’ not bothering to self-edit, proofread their work, and/or look up certain words and phrases.

I make allowances for bloggers (including myself, tee-hee), dyslectics, and plain old scatterbrains (again – like me.) Most bloggers I follow are quite strict with themselves and painstaking with their posts. As I’ve said before, a blog is neither a term paper nor a thesis and you write it and “get it out there” without too much delay, striking while the thought is fresh in your mind, the topic topical and your fingers itchy.

So here are some crimes against language that I came across recently:

  1. A Supergas leaflet (in Hebrew) offering travel/vacation-related items on discount, showed pics of bags, pointing out that they all have ידיות נסיעה … Merely transliterating does not quite capture it: yadiot ne’siaa. As spelled in the leaflet, it means "travel handles"; whereas the correct spelling of the idiomatic phrase, ידיות נשיאה , means carrying handles.
  2. A bottle of Neutragena Sesame Body Oil has a Hebrew label stuck on top of the original English instructions for use. After applying the oil, you should pat your body lightly with a towel rather than rub it off, is the general idea. The Hebrew says you should dry yourself בתפיחות מגבת… In transliteration: be’tefihot magevet. But the Hebrew misspelling makes it meaninglessly funny, something like “with a puffing/swollen towel.
    I actually wrote to the Israeli distributor, who said they were made aware of the mistake after the printing, and will correct it in the next printing. No idea how often they print these labels, of course.
  3. Several weeks ago, a terrible road accident occurred: A young couple whose car had a flat tire pulled over to change the tire, and were hit and killed by a passing truck, whose driver stopped briefly then fled the scene. The police issued a statement calling on citizens who may have witnessed the accident or seen the truck to come forward, describing the vehicle (in the Jerusalem Post) as… “… a truck with a white crate.” Perplexed? The Hebrew-to-English translator obviously wasn’t familiar with the Hebrew expression argaz (literally, box or crate) which refers to the body of the truck (as opposed to the driver’s cabin.) Since this news items appeared on the front page, I’d have expected the copy editor to catch it.


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