Thursday, October 9, 2008

Navy Jesus One the name of a store I saw today. I'm still unable to fathom what they sell there.

This dark-blue Christ shop is far from the first specimen of strange English I've come across in a total of three years spent living in South America. As wacky as it is, the moniker is far from topping the reigning champ, which I saw on a menu in Quito last year.

One night after work, some fellow English teachers and I went out to eat in La Mariscal -- colloquially known as Gringolandia -- a touristy realm of overpriced restaurants, clubs and internet cafes. Since most of the establishments in this area are visited by dozens of pairs of Gringo hiking boots each day, it came as no surprise that our restaurant's menu was printed in both Spanish and English.

Apparently, the restaurant had spent so much money printing the colorful, thick-paged menu that it had been unable to pay a decent translator. This became side-splittingly apparent when we came to the so-called Ensalada Moby Dick, which had been translated as -- you guessed it -- Moby's Dick Salad. By the time I finished laughing, I think I was in more pain than Moby.

As bad as I felt for the good folks at the restaurant, who had spent a fortune printing a beautiful menu that had unknowingly crossed into the pornographic, they may be pleased to know that they provided my intermediate students with a great lesson in correct usage of noun modifiers.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's come across comically mangled English. Do tell. And, if you're hungry for more funny menu translations, check out Margaret's delectable list!


victoria.magyar said...

A fish place in Pichilemu had several minor little mistranlations, like Pope instead of potatoes, and "almejas (or something) a la macha"="clams to the male." once my Spanish teacher in high school told us about a Mexican restaurant he went to where they misused the subjunctive, making some unintentional pun about coming back soon and women's reproductive parts.

Leigh said...

hahaha, i'm trying to imagine what that last one would be...

how've you been??

victoria.magyar said...

i think it was somethng like, "que vulva pronto!" so I guess they MISSPELLED, not misused, the subjunctive. I was frankly too scandalized that he had mentioned the vulva at all to find this very funny. Although now I think I would get a kick out of it.

I'm doing well, to answer your other question. The boyfriend & I decided to move in together and I'm teaching ESL to adults in downtown LA, mostly Central American immigrants, and getting ready to apply to grad programs. How are you? Are you still at the ST?

Margaret said...

Too funny! I know there are parts of the world that let no animal part go to waste, and here in Chile people eat "criadillas" (testicles), but this the first time I've come across a "dick salad"... I'm still giggling!