It takes a certain amount of skill to write signs, to condense often
complex instructions into a few simple words. When you must write the
sign in a foreign language, your task becomes downright dicey. After
all, a lot can get lost in the translation. Here are a few English(?)
signs Mary and I have collected in our Foreign Service travels:
Outside a Hong Kong dress shop:
LADIES HAVE FITS UPSTAIRS.
In a Rhodes, Greece tailor shop:
ORDER YOUR SUMMERS SUIT. BECAUSE IS BIG RUSH WE WILL EXECUTE
CUSTOMERS IN STRICT ROTATION.
In the Nairobi, Kenya Daily Nation newspaper:
THE NEW AGA KHAN SWIMMING POOL IS RAPIDLY TAKING SHAPE SINCE THE
CONTRACTORS HAVE THROWN IN THE BULK OF THEIR WORKERS.
Advertisement in the Hong Kong Post:
TEETH EXTRACTED BY THE LATEST METHODISTS.
A translated sentence from a Russian chess book:
A LOT OF WATER HAS BEEN PASSED UNDER THE BRIDGE SINCE THIS VARIATION
In a Rome, Italy laundry:
LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD
In a Prague, Czechoslovakia travel agency:
TAKE ONE OF OUR HORSE-DRIVEN CITY TOURS--WE GUARANTEE NO MISCARRIAGES.
Advertisement for donkey rides in Vientiane, Laos:
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?
In the window of a Stockholm furrier:
FUR COATS MADE FOR LADIES FROM THEIR OWN SKIN.
Detour highway sign in Kyushi, Japan:
STOP! DRIVE SIDEWAYS.
In a Zermatt, Switzerland inn:
SPECIAL TODAY--NO ICE CREAM.
In a Bangkok, Thailand temple:
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN EVEN A FOREIGNER IF DRESSED AS A MAN.
In a Tokyo, Japan bar:
SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR LADIES WITH NUTS.
In a Copenhagen, Denmark airline ticket office:
WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS.
From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
WHEN PASSENGER OF FOOT HEAVE IN SIGHT, TOOTLE THE HORN. TRUMPET HIM
MELODIOUSLY AT FIRST, BUT IF HE STILL OBSTACLES YOUR PASSAGE THEN
HIM WITH VIGOR.
Two different signs from shop entrances in Cadiz, Spain:
ENGLISH WELL TALKING. HERE SPEECHING AMERICAN.
From menu of a restaurant in Engelberg, Switzerland:
OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.
In window of a Lusaka, Zambia dry cleaner:
DROP YOUR PANTS HERE FOR BEST RESULTS.
Welcome sign in Hotel Ukraine room, Moscow, Russia:
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST VISIT TO SOVIET UNION YOU ARE WELCOME TO IT!
Sign in lobby of Hotel Lugano, Rome, Italy:
THE LIFT IS BEING FIXED FOR THE NEXT DAY. DURING THAT TIME WE REGRET
WILL BE UNBEARABLE.
From a toy fair shop in Nurnberg, Germany describing what happens
when you toss their doll in the air:
LAUGHS WHILE YOU THROW UP!
Headline story in Nairobi, Kenya The Standard newspaper describing
slaughter and roasting of a donkey:
MAN CAUGHT EATING ASS!