Web Weekly

1. Engrish.com

Sometimes the phrase “lost in translation” only hints at the misunderstandings that occur when one culture tries to express itself in a different language. When those cultures include the Far East and the West, the results are often hilarious.

The site’s author chose to point out the English mistakes that appear in Japanese advertising and product design. According to the site’s author, all of the photos are real and have not been altered except to add the site’s address.

Among some of the funny mistranslations are a T-shirt that says “fight peaceful,” a listing of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits that includes “Fry Me to the Moon” and a Twinkie-like food product called Cream Pain.

Product categories on the site range from clothing and food to toiletries and posters. Each of the products is arranged in a small view that can be clicked on to enlarge the picture to its full size.

Aside from Japanese-English confusions, there are other examples of mistakes from additional countries, including a description for a Burger King chicken sandwich as deliciously mouse-watering.

Although some of the submissions are easily understood, others require users to look at the hidden meaning of a phrase.

A comical addition to the site is the message board that features a section where visitors can try to speak “Engrish” to the best of their ability.

The site’s author submits the majority of pictures found, but visitors are encouraged to send any comical examples of “Engrish” they may find.

According to the site’s author, many of the English-splashed items found on Engrish.com are not meant for communication but are used instead as a form of flashy advertising. They are not concerned with what the English says because most Japanese consumers don’t read the descriptions when buying products.

He says that the flood of new products into the Japanese market quickly takes up the Japanese words and slogans. Using English words provides advertisers with a catchy marketing technique in which to distinguish their product.

Gustavo Hernandez