Please ALWAYS run your language translations past a native speaker / copywriter before going to print

P1020513It always makes me chuckle when I’m overseas and come across an ‘English translation’ where they haven’t quite got it right. The following, on an official notice above the gates welcoming visitors to the city of Lucca, Tuscany, is one of the better translations I’ve seen:

The operators of the Natural Commercial Centers of Lucca welcome you. They are glad to guide Your shopping through the many opportunities offered by this city, rich of history, tradition and culture.

Thanks to the support of the Tuscany Region, Lucca Municipality and the Chamber of Commerce, we have created an integrated shopping network able to offer You the great variety typical of a big commercial center, the service and courtesy that only a traditional shop can offer, the originality and the quality of a product chosen with the professionality and experience of our operators.

United to improve the offer, increase the commerce and qualify the service for our customers.

Natural Commercial Center: happy to welcome You and surprise You.

IMG_2372Here’s another which I found at the entrance of a water park in Provence, though unfortunately my camera cut off some of the text, but thankfully not the bit that puzzled me most:

In which we have to follow scrupulously the instructions of security and the use of [missing from pic] danger our physical integrity, and the one of the others.


When translating official marketing material into a foreign language, it should ALWAYS be done by a native speaker of that language. Or at least checked over before it goes to print.

Take note, Natural Commercial Centers of Lucca and whatever-the-name-was water park in Provence.


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