Japan’s use of the English language – Part 2: Automatic Translation

‘Bastard Halibut’

The Use of English on menus

Many restaurants and bars have used automatic translators in order to widen their customer base to include international tourists. However, while automatic translators may do a reasonable job when translating between European languages, and may even do an almost acceptable job at translating between east Asian languages, it cannot translate sentences or concepts between Asian and European languages.

“Don’t get back the sushi you took once”

In many cases the meaning is decipherable, especially when there is some given context. But when travelling in Japan bewildering instructions can appear at any time! I’m not the first to find these amusing cases of poorly translated English, and I’m certainly not going to be the last to giggle when I see them, before reaching for my camera or phone to share it with friends. But on my last trip to Japan, I found a great many of these wildly amusing literary gems!

This menu was found in a sushi restaurant in Nara

Have you found any funnily written English on your travels? If so, then please share this boundless source of hearty humour!


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