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.

Chi Chi

There are so many good signs in Spain.  I mean so bad that they are good.  Here’s my favorite of the day.  It deserves a little translation and explanation.

Oferta Semanal:  Depilación Púbica (ChiChi) 7 Euros, varios modelos.


Hmm, a few worlds you can probably guess.  DepilaciónPúbica. 

Let’s start with the word “ChiChi“.  Sounds jaunty doesn’t it. A bit like “ChaCha”, like there should be some dancing involved.  Well,”Chichi” is a take off on the much loved Spanish word “ChoCho” which refers to the female nether regions.

I still have not gotten used to hearing Moms calling their daughters “ChoCho”.  In English it doesn’t sound so cute.  “Hey Vagina, dinner’s ready”.  Just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Far more overused than “CHoCho” is its male counterpart “Picha”, which apparently they do not wax in the establishment above.  My husband refuses to admit it, but he refers to his brother as “Picha” (penis).  More common still, guys here refer to each other as “Cojones” (testicles.)  Insert “Conjones” or “ChiChi” anywhere that you would have used “Dude” in 1988.

I hear this in the street all day,

“Got a light, Cojones?”

“Love your Hello Kitty nail extensions, Chocho”

“What’s up, Cojones”

So the sign says, “Special of the week.  Pubic hair removal.  (vagina variety).  Various styles.” 

Although they have various styles, apparently none of them are suitable for your picha or cojones.

And that, ChiChi, concludes my short lesson of street Spanish.

Pet therapy and plant repellent on sale now!

Agrogardin is a plant warehouse in our area.  Given the huge concentration of wealthy British expats, they identified their target market and wisely had all their signs printed in both English and Spanish.

Unfortunately, their business strategy bombed.  They have replaced 4000 square meters of plant nursery with a sea of giant bouncy castles and ball rooms.  The birthday party business is booming.

I guess even the expats were not willing to spend a lot of money on plant prevention and entertaining the cares and whims of animals.

Signs of Weird

I’ve mentioned before that Gibraltar is a strange place.  Every time I go I say the same two things.  The place is weird.  And I will never eat there again.  Gibraltar combines the worst of both worlds; English food and Spanish service.  Even the guidebooks suggest you stick to McDonald’s.

Tomorrow you’ll get the low-down on my James Bond style adventure to “The Rock”.  But for today, I’ll leave you with some “signs” of just how weird the place is.

Exhibit No. 1

As soon as you cross the border at the only entrance into the joint you are faced with this sign:

Yes, you have to walk across a full-sized runway.  Yup, where planes land.  Gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling right off the bat, doesn’t it.

Exhibit No. 2

People find it quaint and amusing that pedestrians and jet planes share the same space.

They sell laminated place mats showing British Airways jets touching down meters from other tourists’ heads.

Exhibit No. 3

Gibraltar folk are pro-active about lifestyle diseases.  In fact, they tape up informative signs about type 2 diabetes.

The weird part?

They hang them outside the bakery.  Good for business, huh.

Exhibit No. 4

In the spirit of customer service, Gibraltar focusses on convenience and one-stop-shopping.

In fact, you can see your bookie and accountant in the same office.