The Housebraker and his dodgy translations.

I’ve said it so many times, but if you’re going to translate something to a foreign language, especially if you’re going to pay for a lot of expensive posters for it, please do it right.

Walking round Riga recently, I’ve seen this everywhere.


It hurts my eyes so much to see an upmarket art exhibition advertised with bad, misspelt English. “Housebraker” sounds like a “trying-too-hard-to-be-cool” DJ, rather than the correct “housebreaker” and even there, “The burglar” would be a more common translation of Kramplauzis. I just hope in this case that the folks at Riga city council or whoever is paying for it, haven’t spent too much on it, though I worry they have.

As an aside as well, why is it that 99.9% of translations I see always use American spellings e.g. “organize” rather than “organise” ? Aren’t the UK and Ireland a little closer? What’s wrong with good old-fashioned British English?

I see this all the time in the Baltics, with bad translations making otherwise decent places look amateurish and lazy, like they can’t be bothered to hire a decent translator. In Lithuania, a couple of months ago, I came across such delightful restaurant offerings as dumpings


and the iffy-sounding manhole bread


rounded off with the ever-present “Carbonate.” Yuk.


Less is more, as we say in English and there are times when no translation is better than a crap one. As George Michael once sang: “if you’re gonna do it, do it right.”


2 thoughts on “The Housebraker and his dodgy translations.

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