Some days you can find them everywhere. And there are translations that would fill entire libraries. But only in those libraries that keep comic books. Because some translations, as hard as they try to be professional, simply don’t make the grade. And they don’t make the grade because they didn’t consult a single translation professional for the job. So time goes on and these translation mistakes memes continue spreading on social media, mobile phones and email. Because some mistakes are never forgotten. Like these memes…

 Translation mistakes on television

 Translation mistakes have provided a host of great memes for followers of well-known television series such as “Game of Thrones.” If you watch this series in Spanish, you may remember that those responsible for dubbing decided to translate “Hold the door” as “Aguanta el portón,” which didn’t go down too well with millions of viewers. This arose in one of the episodes of its 6th series. It was when dubbing team came up against a big problem. The name Hodor emerged as a result of a gradual abbreviation of the phrase ‘Hold the door’ (‘Aguanta la puerta’) which, in order to stay faithful to the context, this part should have been left in English. So what happened? As leaving it in English wasn’t an option, it was decided to translate it to “Aguanta el portón,’ which led to a wave of jokes on Twitter:

Misinterpretations of the Olympic spirit

There’s nothing that dampens that heralded Olympic spirit more, as the Games approach, than hearing such unfortunate translations like that of the Rio 2016 opening ceremony interpreter, who translated ‘selfishness is gaining ground’ as ‘los selfies están por todos lados’ (‘selfies are everywhere.’) And as can only be expected…jokes abounded on social media channels.

Apple, too

No one is safe from memes. As it happens, it’ll take a while before the giant Apple lives down the comic episode of its latest Chinese slogan for the launch of the iPhone 7 Apparently the pronunciation of the number 7 in Cantonese actually relates to something very different.


Finally, and without wanting to further complicate the confusing Spanish political scenario, we leave you with an unfortunate literal translation that one of our country’s political parties used as their slogan, to urge voters to raise their leader to power. Only professional Basque translator would have noticed that there was a complement missing in order to transmit the desired message. For more information, click here.

Automatic translations, the culprits

Use of Google Translate has been responsible for a host of blunders, whether made by famous people or not. And it still does. Social media channels gather unforgettable memes about such everyday translation mistakes, like posters in bars or on the street. Being on display to the public means that the mistakes have twice the impact, much to our regret… Oh dear, if only we’d asked a professional translator instead of using automatic translation! The outcome would certainly have been different.


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