Google Translate (is) for Dummies.

Bad Spanish to English translations are so fun!.  I enjoy feeling smug, knowing that I seldom make such embarrassing mistakes any more.  Seldom, but not never.

We English speakers are not immune to Google Translate abuse.  There are some hilarious translations from English to Spanish.  I always wonder, before printing large expensive public signs, why don’t the authors just ask a native speaker?

Exhibit A: 


The author of this sign thought they were politely asking people to turn off the showers, instead they instructed people to “turn around in a circle far away from the heavy rain”.

Exhibit B: 

wash tag

Following these instructions, you would “wash your hands, not fall down, and notice that the iron (as in the heavy metal) was arrogant”.

How many thousands of these tags do you think they printed?

Exhibit C: 


This smoke free facility is promoting the “ease of setting tobacco free.”

Google Translate is not your friend.


  1. My most recent personal favourite is from a facebook post in spanish:
    “En mi familia todo el mundo toca en bandas, menos yo. Voy a empezar a practicar la zambomba a ver si me llama alguien. Aquí Rea tocando Zarzuela…”

    Which Facebook believes means:
    “In my family all around the world plays in gangs, the less I have. I am going to start to the practice of zambomba to see if I call someone. Here Rea playing zarzuela…”

    However, Google suspects it means:
    “In my family everyone plays in bands, except me. I’ll start practicing zambomba to see if someone calls me. Here Rea playing Zarzuela ..”

    So, Rea, are you enjoying the “gang”? 🙂

  2. Rea, It looks like google translated the spelling of your name to Rae on my December comment. We are struggling with our inadequate,goofed up, unlearned Spanish in Ecuador. Luv from Jacqueline C (When we have enough Spanish under our belt we can head off to Spain)

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