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Lost in translation: our top 20 picks

By admin   24 November 2011 2:23pm Europe/London

Lonely Planet’s Lost in Translation photo contest, where travellers submitted pictures of funny and confusing translations, closed recently. And let me tell you, selecting the winner has been a difficult process – mostly because it’s really hard to make any progress in the midst of fits of laughter with tears streaming down your face.

When we launched the contest, we knew that travellers would dig up funny translations we couldn’t begin to predict, and we weren’t disappointed. Not only did we get funny translations, we also received all sorts of other confusing situations – some without a single word involved – that would cause a traveller to scratch their head and wonder what on earth they were looking at.

With over 1200 entries, nearly all of which were some form of funny, paring them down to our favourites was not an easy task. The following 20 are the best of the best (in no particular order), one of which will be announced the winner shortly (watch this space). Many of these are the fan picks from Facebook, while others are pulled from deeper in the submission stack and caught the judges’ eyes:

1. What kind of food can cause pregnancy? Taken at a restaurant next to Hill Tribe Museum, Chiang Rai, Thailand. – Mei Y.

2. Lunch in China….are you feeling lucky? – Paul D.

3. Sweet! @Beijing – Ana C.

4. Really? At the lift??? – Nadx S.

5. Thanx for explanation ;) – Trish H.

6. How I got a new free suitcase over in China… – Klara U.

7. Spicy Grandma? I’d rather not. Beijing. – John W.

8. I think I just lost my appetite. – Ed S.

9. What kind of orphans are we talking here? Taken in Nairobi, Kenya – Jesse O.

10. Keep Off The Grass in Shanghai – Karen M.

11. Welcome to “Translate serve error” restaurant. Wait!! maybe they should try another translate machine. – Pattie L

12. Take back those teenage mistakes – Chris S.

13. Girl picking up HOT GRAVY at Shanghai Airport, China – Maude C.

14. Your vehicle. He is not responsible for it. – Michael H.

15. Very catchy food they serve in Egypt – Claire Z.

16. The cutest translation I’ve ever seen. Hangzhou Botanical Gardens, China – Rebecca C

17. Obviously this is place to do… what? – Pasi R.

18. Who knew dog-ends were so dangerous… – Alyssa B.

19. The best place to park your camel – Kate M.


20. The sort of madness you see in the capital of China… – Carinne A.

Have a favourite of your own? We’ll be announcing the winner here shortly.


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