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jaclaz

International translations of common signs

12 posts in this topic

In italy there is a known comic, Gioele Dix, that has in one of his shows a long monologue about how you can get the essence of a country and of it's people by simply comparing the way the same thing is said in different languages...

He uses as an example a warning sign that used to be on all trains in Italy.

The sign had:

E' pericoloso sporgersi dal finestrino

Please do not lean out of the window

Prière de ne pas se pencher au dehors

Nicht hinauslehnen!

In a nutshell, along his analysis, the Germans being a very disciplined people, they need a direct order: DO NOT lean out of the window!

The English (UK) have the fame of being very polite, so they are asked to: Please, do not lean out of the window.

The French are said to have something that cannot be translated, which is nonchalance so they are told: You are asked not to lean out of the window (which leaves them a sort of free will, they are asked not to do something, but after all it's up to them).

The Italian is a plain statement (actually an obvious one): It is dangerous to lean out of the window.

You cannot tell an Italian to NOT do something (as the effect will be that he/she will attempt it first thing), nor you can tell him/her to do something Please (as the reaction would be: Please who? What do I get if i comply?) so everything is left to common sense (you have been told, but do whatever you see fit).

How would this translate in other places/countries?

I have two propositions for the US :w00t: :

http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Alt/alt.usage.english/2008-01/msg04159.html

It is an offence under Federal law to lean out of the window.

or:

The Surgeon General has determined that leaning out of the windows is dangerous for your health.

What about other countries/languages? :unsure:

jaclaz

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Warning signs in the US often state the consequence of disobedience. For instance, in construction zones near Detroit you'll always see signs such as these:

  • "Traffic fines doubled in work zones"
    "Injure / kill a worker, $7500 + 15 years"

This is true even in the 1983 movie WarGames within the missile silo at the beginning of the film:

  • "Any one urinating in this area will be discharged"

What I find funny about this one is that, any urine in this area has already been discharged. :)

We need to know what's at stake should we choose to disobey.

Edited by 5eraph
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Intergalactic translations - you need special glasses though!

Edited by submix8c
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We have some such pearls around here, too. This one is displayed at every elevator door throughout the municipal area.

And this one is in somewhat awkward Portuguese, which cannot be improved upon, because the exact text to be used is set down in a City Law.

"Antes de entrar no elevador, verifique se o mesmo encontra-se parado no andar"

Meaning, roughly: "Before stepping through the doorway, make sure the elevator car is actually present at floor level"

Now, if one cannot be bothered to notice the elevator car is actually not there before dashing in, who can believe he/she will actually read such a warning? dubbio.gif

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This one is displayed at every elevator door throughout the municipal area.

Elevators are dangerous....: :ph34r:

tieclamedinelevator.jpg

For the record (and just to show how common sense is not actually common) in the building I work there is an elevator with a sign (conforming to the local law) stating how the load limit is :

4 people/320 Kg.

The actual load limiter (if load is exceeded the elevator will stop and often this will happen after it started i.e. between floors) is set at 10% more, i.e. 350 Kg., i.e. the maximum tollerance allowed by regulations.

After "recovering" (several times) people from the "jammed" elevator (tendentially 4 people each around 90 or 100 Kg + each having a suitcase, no-less than 15 Kg's), I changed the sticker to:

3 people/320 Kg

No later than three weeks ago I got out of that thingy 3 (for the record Australian ) BIG guys, more than 1,90 m tall, roughly 120/130 Kg each, each one with a suitcase, no less than 20 Kg, AND a small rucksack.... :whistle:

I fear that if I change again the sticker to say :

2 people/320 Kg

it will go on half the internet as an example of italians always exaggerating.... :rolleyes:

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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OT :w00t::ph34r:, but not much ;):

demotivational-posters-when-i-was-young.jpg

:lol:

jaclaz

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I don't think I've seen a "don't lean out the window" sign before. Is it common near mountains? Some places have a "Warning falling rocks" signs... While it makes sense in the middle of Pennsylvania (mining towns) other places it seems to be in places or poor planning of putting a road through a hill with steep walls. :rolleyes:

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I don't think I've seen a "don't lean out the window" sign before. Is it common near mountains?

International translations of common signs like railway tags/warnings

....

He uses as an example a warning sign that used to be on all trains in Italy.

....

:whistle:

The UK are not that much different:

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/About-Us/Our-business/Safety

http://www.pontypool-and-blaenavon.co.uk/pages/pageitem.aspx?page=visitorinfo

Clause 9 here (NSW):

http://www.131500.com.au/tickets/upload/docs/Passenger_Fares_Handbook.pdf

In TV:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0752252/quotes?qt=qt1208712

SCOOP!

there is humour in Maryland :w00t::

http://mta.maryland.gov/your-guide-mta-bus-safety

Never race a train to a crossing. You will lose.

:lol:

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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Some signs are for specific places (e.g most roads in South Africa)

ee7a7680e8df4c3a8853228e464e9bd6.jpg

Some are truly international...

A3QARhSCIAA2R9U.jpg-large.jpg

and some are just a waste of space in any language:

e8c1001857354e798316d1b3ecad4b8e.jpg

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In Malaysia, a small country located in South East of Asia, it is common to see slogan or common sign like:

Dilarang meludah

It is prohibited to spit

Dilarang membuang sampah

It is prohibited to litter

Other are more persuading...

"Tak Nak" - Rokok

Say "Don't Want" to Cigarette

While some other are offensive. I couldn't remember the sign board that put at the junction along the highway. However, this is rare.

I think it is very common for us to use the following anyway:

Thank You

Please

Sorry

and a smile. :)

Edited by FlierMate
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Well, I am Romanian. As a fun fact, on old wagons, we still have the signs in 3 languages:

- Nu va aplecati pe fereastra (Romanian) - roughly translated into "Don't lean on the window" (without please, in the communist era, authorities never said please)

- E pericoloso sporgersi (Italian) (without "dal finestrino")

- Nicht hinauslehnen (German)

In fact, i don't know where you added "dal finestrino" (which I know it means on the window, Romanian and Italian are somehow similar, I understand about 90% of the spoken Italian), but nowhere have I seen this.

http://www.teknemedia.net/esposizioni/2008/TKimg4868e65551824.jpg

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_4x95ifMT0zY/TM4mgMh16WI/AAAAAAAAAPQ/LXgm3u5bp98/s1600/E+pericolo+2.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2153/2190765498_1f2d2a4124.jpg

http://lesautrefois.blog50.com/media/00/01/1870295672.JPG

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_4x95ifMT0zY/TM4o26F3cAI/AAAAAAAAAPU/kB1mjMRpJM8/s1600/semn+pericolo.jpg

2052806528_ad96a0058f.jpg?v=1195655021

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In fact, i don't know where you added "dal finestrino" (which I know it means on the window, Romanian and Italian are somehow similar, I understand about 90% of the spoken Italian), but nowhere have I seen this.

I wasn't citing the actual sign (and as well in it there is NO "Priere de" in the French and the "Please do not lean out of the windows" in the English version , is a rather similar to the Italian "it is dangerous to lean out"), but the Italian comic (which obviously took some "poetic licenses"):

34493486_86849085fa.jpg

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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