Woops: Funny Translation Miscommunication Mishap in Wales


Translation companies provide an important role in many ways, we’re here to make sure everything is translated well, taking into account all manner of cultural reference points and linguistic nuances both for document translation and in working as an interpreter. If you need us to translate some text, it’s unlikely a professional translator will send you back just the translated copy, on its own, with no other message from us in your native tongue alongside it. We understand the importance of communication so this is not something we’re likely to leave to chance.

translation Wales

Unfortunately, one person working in the UK thought this might be the case one day a few years ago when he sent off some text for a road sign to be translated from English, into Welsh. What ensued was a relatively hilarious disaster.

The translator he had emailed wasn’t in the office at the time, and so had switched on an auto response for emails coming in while he wasn’t there. But perhaps he should have thought to have his auto response in English as well as Welsh to keep his clients in the clear!

The man requesting the road sign translation received an email back in Welsh and thought to himself, “Great. Job done.” And sent it on to be printed on the bi-lingual road sign.

The road sign was printed and put in place before the error was spotted. In English, the sign read, “No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only.” No problems there. Unfortunately, the Welsh text on the sign read, “Nid wyf yn y swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwch unrhyw waith i’w gyfiethu.” – meaning “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.”

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