Another Hebrew ad mistranslated...

It's been a while since I made fun of the English version of local ads.
So here's one in brief:
The coffee shop Cup O Joe, or Cafe Joe in Hebrew, is offering you a free cup of coffee when you order one of their new "portions"...
This gem is repeated at the bottom of the ad.

Once again, I wonder: Why? What excuse does the company (the cafe chain) and/or the J. Post, who carried this ad in their weekend magazine, have for such literal translation? Why ruin an otherwise perfectly decent ad?

Wonder what new dishes the coffee shop is actually offering. Do you think it's worth dropping in, despite the ad?...

10 comments:

ingam1 said...

That's a great one, Nina, and I think it's worth writing them an email to point out they could have saved themselves the embarrassment if they paid just a little bit more to a good translator.

Nina R. Davis said...

I've complained before... Didn't do me any good. The companies don't seem to care about their Eng language readership; the J. Post sends the ad to a translation agency, who gives it to the cheapest translator, because that's the budget the Post allows for it. That's how it goes, more or less.

Unknown said...

So what word would you use for "mana"? Obviously "portion" doesn't do it here. I fear "dish" is a little ambiguous. And "menu item" is kind of soulless. Would you reach outside the realm of synonyms? One of our new "specialties" or something?

Lisa Beinin Ratz said...

The odd thing is that this chain is supposedly owned by an American. I guess he's been in Israel too long...

Nina R. Davis said...

Unknown -- "dishes" is the obvious choice, and considering the context, I don't think any native Eng speaker would misunderstand it.
However, "one of our new specialties" is a good alternative. But you see, this requires thought, and no one bothered to think about this small translation job.

Lisa -- For all we know, the American owner wasn't involved at this level of decisions... He may have just trusted the J. Post to do the right thing.

Shira said...

Also the place is called Cup O' Joe, so why not say "free cup o' joe with the purchase of..."

Isn't that the whole point of having that kind of name? Wouldn't it be better to have the name of the cafe appear in the ad twice?

Nina R. Davis said...

Again -- this requires some thought. No one put any thought into the Eng version of the ad, no one thought it should be translated by a professional.

Sue Goldian said...

There's another mistake in the ad. In English it's 38 Keren Hayesod Street, not just plain 38 Keren Hayesod. You can get away with it in Hebrew, but not in English.

Nina R. Davis said...

So many mistakes in one tiny ad... Take a larger ad, and you'll find more mistakes... They just don't care.

Eliza Thorne said...

You would think that the person who owns the coffee shop would have to sign off on the translation and would have checked to make sure that they used a valid translation. That is my issue with Google translate that all of these people think is a legitimate translator. But in truth, there are idioms, phrases and words that are used differently these days. Spend a few dollars on language services who will make your ad 1000% better. Native speakers of the language will not chastise you for your cheapness!

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