English mistranslations on Ukrainian clothes

Learning a second language is tough.

I've lived in Ukraine for seven months, taking language lessons two to three times per week. And my skills are nowhere near where I want them to be. I usually just resort to the friendly smile and nod, smile and nod.

I've met countless people in Ukraine who speak multiple languages Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, German, and English are a few common ones. And each time they tell me the number of languages they speak, I am amazed.

When we (attempt to) speak Ukrainian or when the Ukrainians speak English, sometimes there are funny mistranslations. In Kyiv, a friend once said she had a "raining" nose instead of a "runny" nose. And there have been many times we've mispronounced Ukrainian words, saying foul words instead of what we meant.

It's also fun to read the English version of menus in restaurants. During our Christmas tour, one option in our hotel's "morning offer" (breakfast) was the "Cheese Symphony: Buts, cheese, cheese with herbs, cheese, salty, butter." So maybe they added some extra commas and misspelled some words (I'm still not sure what "buts" are), but you can usually get the idea of what's available.

By far my favourite mistranslations are those on clothes. T-shirts, hats, winter coats you name it. It's what I most look forward to at markets. And when I see some writing on the coat of someone who's walking down the street, more often than not whatever it says brings a smile to my face.

Like I said, I get it — languages are difficult. And I always like to remind myself that how I speak Ukrainian is equivalent to how the English mistranslations on clothes or menus come across. So no hard feelings to the designers of these items. But if you ever need an English speaker to do a final edit, let me know.

Here are some of my favourite quotes I've seen on clothing in Ukraine.

  • Boy steel in the hour of chaos (on a winter coat)

  • Life is much more interesting when you (on a longsleeve shirt)
  • ORIGINALITY
    colour and material;
    Our Best Recipe
    Green Tomato
    (on a winter coat, which many people own, and a toque)
  • Fashion ghr the in lovely (on a winter coat)
  • We certify the authenticy of this item and confirm that it as been subjected to the most xactin quality control.Its higt qusity is a symbolf the reputatio of the Tradem.
    Certifichemo l'autenticia diuesto capo.Esso e stato sottoposto ai controlupiu rigorosi e crma l'alta qufita del Marchio.
    quality control. Its higt qusity is a Certifichemo l'autenticia diuesto controlupiu rigorosi e crma (on a sweater GoogleTranslate detects that the last two paragraphs are supposedly in Italian)
  • U can get this hardsoda quality only (on a men's winter coat)
  • Like you all! (on a winter coat)
  • Trust God in. (top right corner on a sweater) Influence Enthusiasm Curiosity (bottom left corner)
  • Up it's for me. Down. (on a sweater)
  • Myself around you always be myself around fashion shoes (on the ankle on a pair of boots)
  • "TIELLOGITL"
    "OH HNICETOAY.IS WOT IT"
    Hello
    (on a sweater)
  • Ghlain.klain/Ghluin Klain (knockoff Calvin Klein underwear at the market in Lutsk)
  • Apply some just
    Cnadywood (patches on a winter coat)
  • From
    Wild streets and workspaces
    Pioneers and poets,
    Fighters and fools
    To shadows and sneakers.
    Truth doesn't give a f*** about your opinion. (on a men's wintercoat we actually talked to a guy wearing this coat in Chernivtsi, and he spoke no English, so he didn't know what his coat said)

And of course, I hope to come home with a clothing item with some kind of great English translation. I'm just waiting to find the perfect one.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Lutsk's spring fashion has to offer.

Kaitlin VittComment