It’s for real

This scrumptious piece of Dunglish can currently be admired on Dam Square in Amsterdam in full view of hundreds of thousands of people. I’ll leave the very questionable translation alone, as it’s too scary for me.

Life actors

18 Responses to “It’s for real”

  1. Eric says:

    Not only the translation is questionable: the line in dutch is already rather scary. (The word “contraption” comes to mind)

  2. Gabelstaplerfahrer Klaus says:

    As far as I understand, the word ‘life’ had to be ‘live’, but that’s the only error I can find. I’ve seen worse: an advertisement with the text “Drive save, use (blahblah)” 🙂 (printed 2 metres high on the side of a city bus)

  3. Gabelstaplerfahrer Klaus says:

    (And yes, that’s 2 metres above the ground :P)

  4. Natashka says:

    Actually, it should have been “real actors”, just like in Dutch. Real actors as opposed to wax statues. “Hot spot” is totally wrong. Since when did the scariest place to be translate into a hot spot? I’m getting the creeps just thinking about it.

  5. Natashka says:

    That bus thing sounds great 🙂

  6. Gabelstaplerfahrer Klaus says:

    Too bad I don’t have a picture of it, really. And ‘Hot spot’ is not a translation at all 😀 but it’s not wrong in itself is it?

  7. Gabelstaplerfahrer Klaus says:

    I like the idea of having a website where one can discuss Dunglish!
    The few times I actually met an Englishman we discussed our languages a little but I think it bored the guy 🙂

  8. Natashka says:

    A bad translation is a bad translation. How would you like a “handy handy” in German? 🙂

  9. Gabelstaplerfahrer Klaus says:

    Handy handy? Like in ‘handig, handig’? Or ‘handy’ like a cellphone?

  10. Gabelstaplerfahrer Klaus says:

    I’ve got some Gmail invitations left, interested? (

  11. Natashka says:

    As in cellphone. That’s Denglish. I am confronted with Dunglish and Franglais all week long.

  12. Natashka says:

    Thanks, but no thanks 🙂

  13. mare says:

    I think the translator was influenced by the term ‘life action’ in contrast of ‘animation’. Since there are a lot of ‘animatronics’ in Madame Tussaud, (s)he was not completely wrong. But ‘hot spot’ is not a very good translation of ‘engste plekje’, I have to agree.

  14. Natashka says:

    I still think that it’s a devoiced ‘live’, as the Dutch tend to devoice consonants. “Off course” instead of “of course”, “threat” instead of “thread”, that sort of thing. “Save” and “safe” above is also a good example. It’s a typical Dutch mistake.

  15. Gwap says:

    Perhaps they are actors of life? 😉 Besides, I also think that life/live, they’re/their, its/it’s should be disqualified as Dunglish; it’s something that native English speakers do wront ALL the time.

    IMHO, “hot spot” is fine. Or at least, those putting up this sign could easily argue it wasn’t a translation, but a tongue-in-cheek way of referring to some other “hot” attractions that Amsterdam may be famous for.

  16. William says:

    The tendency of the Dutch to confuse “live” (as in “gelijktijdige uitzending”) with “life” has been around for a long time. At least fifteen years by my reckoning, I first noticed it on a Paradiso poster. Life music, life performance. It’s all over the place. I often wonder why this particular error annoys me so much, instead of causing mirth as the other errors do.

    Many thanks anyway for this interesting blog anyway.

  17. Larry says:

    Possibly because the idea of anything (performances, broadcasts, etc.) being ‘live’ is not as easy to express in Dutch, so people reach for the English term and their inherent devoicing* tendency (or general sloppiness in pronunciation (‘laaif muziek!’) kicks in, even though the word appears, spelled correctly, in any decent Dutch dictionary.

    *Conversely, I’ve seen a lot of voiced consonants written where voiceless ones should be (e.g., ‘send’ for ‘sent’).

  18. Amerie says:

    famous actors

    Interesting post. I came across this blog by accident, but it was a good accident. I have now bookmarked your blog for future use. Best wishes. Amerie.

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