Two translation errors that have defined our culture

Of translation errors man is made (although that’s not true if you have a good professional translator). But it is worth remembering what was done years, or even centuries, ago. I am sure that you know of some translation errors that have defined our lives and our culture, even if you are not consciously aware of them. Today we thought it would be good to find out more about them, so here goes.

One of the worst translation errors of all time took place during the World War. Specifically, in July 1945. After the Potsdam conference the allies demanded that the Japanese Empire surrender. Before the Japanese government could decide, the Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki answered the journalists with a simple mokusatsu, which simply means “no comment”. However, the Japanese chose their words badly, as it can also mean “we ignore with contempt”, which is how it was translated by many of the American agencies. Only ten days later, the first atomic bomb, Little Boy, exploded over Hiroshima.

Have you ever seen a picture of Moses with two horns on his head? I’m sure you have. The error is the result of a poor translation. It comes from the moment when Moses comes down from Mount Sinai. According to the original version, Moses’ head was “radiant”, but in Hebrew the vowels are not written, which is why St. Jerome read it as keren instead of karen. Since this means “horns”, suddenly two horns appeared on the head of the one chosen to free the Jewish people and they can still be seen in many later depictions.

Professional translators to avoid mistakes

These are just two of the many translation errors that have marked our lives and culture. The work of translators is so crucial that it is vital to choose the best translation agency for all your assignments. Given these translation errors, it is clear that the job can’t be done by just anyone.