Galina Pritchard (Senior Translator at CPC; Russian Federation)•
"The best mistranslation I ever saw was in a restaurant menu in Kazakhstan. It featured dishes like "bricks from cheese" (diced cheese), beef with bow (beef braised with onions - the menu was translated from Russian where "лук" means both onion and bow. However, "horse crudely smoking" (cured horse meat) definitely took the cake!"
Josephine Bacon (Owner, American Pie and Translation; London, United Kingdom)•
"My own favourite is when a translation agency in British Columbia asked me to check a set of questions that the police would ask suspect motorists in Hebrew. In one question they meant to ask "are you carrying a weapon?" but what the translator, who had clearly not learned Hebrew beyond first grade Sunday School had written was "will you give me a kiss?" The difference between "neshek" weapons and "neshika" kiss!"
Marcel Gallego (Technical Translator; Barcelona, Spain)•
What about "Secretaria de dirección" being translated as "Secretary of address"? And for "Maquinaria para embalaje de botes de ketchup" - "Machinery for the packaging of ketchup boats"? I have seen a Mazda "Laputa" and a Nissan "Moco", though these are obviously for the Asian Markets (and Nissan, who own a full-fledged car making factory in Spain, should know better)."