‘Teutonic Cozyness’ For Your Home

Category: Acclaro News

Who hasn’t come — or rather stumbled — across a user’s manual or instructions-for-use document for a foreign-made product they just bought and couldn’t make heads or tails of the “translated” text? Or had to stop what they were doing and have an attack of hysterical laughter?

The value that a professional translator can add to the basic usability of such documents – let alone to the respect for the customer the manufacturer doubtlessly intends — is best demonstrated by a few choice examples of haphazard efforts in conveying such instructional contents in the target language.

The online version of the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung did just that by asking its readers to submit samples of such failed translations. It shared the best results last March in a blog post with the headline “Teutonische Gemütlichkeit fürs Heim.”

The title is taken from the arguably most curious of the examples: instructions for Christmas tree decorations made in Japan, which translates as “Teutonic cozyness for your home.” Besides the interesting cultural implications the source contents do suggest, such as the claim that the use of the said decorations will make the customer more successful with members of the other sex after having eaten the Christmas goose, the German-like text hardly makes sense and often achieves the opposite of the (probably sober) purpose of the Japanese source.

But don’t take my word for it, and even if you understand only a little German, see for yourself:

Mit sensazionell Modell GWK 9091 Sie bekomen nicht teutonische Gemutlichkeit fuer trautes Heim nur, auch Erfolg als moderner Mensch bei anderes Geschleckt nach Weihnachtsganz aufgegessen und laenger, weil Batterie viel Zeit gut lange.

Zu erreischen Gluckseligkeit unter finstrem Tann, ganz einfach Handbedienung von GWK 9091:

  1. Auspack und freu.
  2. Slippel A kaum abbiegen und verklappen in Gegenstippel B fuer Illumination von GWK 9091.
  3. Mit Klamer C in Sacco oder Jacke von Lebenspartner einfraesen und laecheln fuer Erfolg mit GWK 9091.
  4. Fuer eigens Weihnachtsfeierung GWK 9091 setzen auf Tisch.
  5. Fuer kaput oder Batterie mehr zu Gemutlichkeit beschweren an: wir, Bismarckstrasse 4.
  6. Fuer neue Batterie alt Batterie zurueck fuer Sauberwelt in deutscher Wald.

To that I say: have a heart and pay a professional translator for an hour, and forego the backlash of Teutonics calling your customer support center.