Amsterdam-style Dunglish parking machine


While the city of Amsterdam is one of the most expensive cities in the world to park in, the money the city has collected surely never went to hiring one lousy translator to handle their English-language parking machines. Nope, they did it themselves and failed.

Hm, where to start? I picked three things, but there are more.
– Tariff = rate.
It’s not about importing bananas, it’s about the price of something.
– Sun- and Holidays.
No, no, no you cannot cut a word in half like that in English. Ever!
– Correct = correctly. English adverbs have different spelling. And their sentence is a big missing link. If you’ve entered your licence plate (two words!) number correctly, you can’t possibly have a ticket in your car until the machine prints one out and you go and place it ‘good readable behind your windscreen’.

Seriously Amsterdam, city of so many tourists, shame on you for this shite translation. Nobody tell me the city is saving money because they bleed car owners dry.

UPDATE: If you enter your licence plate number you don’t need a ticket in your car because often you do. That’s what this machine is trying to say.

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22 Responses to “Amsterdam-style Dunglish parking machine”

  1. ReinoutS says:

    You should see the miserably failed attempts at writing English on the screens of the brand new “Sprinter” trains, after they reach their final destination and they ask you to leave the train.

  2. Larry says:

    Also, incorrect decimal comma instead of point in €4.00, unnecessary spaces around the slash and before the colon after ‘number’, no space in ‘Start button’ …

    But at least they did get the right preposition in ‘Welcome to Amsterdam’ 🙂

  3. Lan Prower Kopaka says:

    Actually, Sun is very acceptable, mostly due to laziness, but it’s fine to cut words like that. Granted, it does clash when you have the other days fully spelt out, but oh well.

  4. Roel says:

    Wow, there is no excuse for this shitty translation. Good find.

  5. JM says:

    It should be shame on you, not shame on your. Next topic “How to type in English”

  6. Kevin says:

    1) You appear to regret that Amsterdam City Council failed to spend car-parking revenue on hiring one lousy translator — and then proceed to demonstrate that (in your book) they did just that!

    2) Your stricture regarding the use of the word “tariff” is too harsh. It often appears in a car-parking context in English. Some examples taken from the web:

    Cabot Circus shopping centre, Bristol

    Hillingdon Hospitals
    Car Park Tariffs

    Leeds Bradford International Airport
    Car Park Tariff
    Turn-Up and Park Tariffs

    Nottingham City Council
    Our Car Parks and Tariffs

    Parking Exeter Airport
    Parking Tariff

    Southampton City Council
    Click the car park pin to open information on spaces, postcodes and tariffs
    Car Parks tariff guide

    3) “And their sentence is a big missing link.” “If you enter your licence plate number you don’t need a ticket in your car because often you do.” Sorry if my saying so comes across as rude, but those really ARE strange sentences! What do they mean?

  7. Mark says:

    Perhaps residents in Amsterdam are too stoned to write proper English.

  8. Cicero Ril says:

    Res Ipsa Loquitur -the facts speak for themselves!

  9. Cicero Ril says:

    Could be worse: could have been googled…

  10. Matt's says:

    I had some visitors from the USA last year, that were totally confused in by the sentence “Pay as perfect as you can” on the parking machine at Central Station. For me, being Dutch, it’s perfectly clear what they mean by this sentence, but still had a hard time explaining it to my American guests.
    By the way, don’t be too hard on the way we Dutch use English. It would be wrong if it was used in England. Or in the United States. But the way English is used is slightly different all over the world. Just look at the way English is used in e.g. South Africa or India. But keep collecting these Dutch English sentences no native speaker understands. It’s educational for us Dutch and it must be funny for you native speakers.

  11. ASHLEY says:

    I just re-posted some comments….Wow, there is no excuse for this shitty translation. Good find. Good find??? lol

    This person tried to take the piss but made translation mistake
    “Sorry if my saying so comes across as rude”. It should be Apologies if my saying comes across as so rude OR very rude

  12. Anon says:

    tar·iff noun \ˈter-əf, ˈta-rəf\

    2. a schedule of rates or charges of a business or a public utility

    Oh, and while most of the English-speaking world uses decimal points instead of commas, South Africa (for example) does not. Perhaps they were translating to South African English, and not the Queen’s (not everything English must be “British”!).

    If you think this is something to complain about I highly recommend you try travelling to Asia or Eastern Europe. This translation is clearly understandable to any English speaker, so where’s the problem?!?

  13. Jules says:

    Maybe it sounds maybe ridiculous (and maybe it is, I really don’t give a f), but I think besides Europeans and other people who don’t have English as a mother-tongue, people don’t have the right to nag. British and Americans don’t speak any language but English. They should understand that it is for the most Europeans almost impossible to speak perfect English. And besides that, the funny thing is: people who speak English as a second language can understand the “Euro-English mistakes” totally. While American and British people can’t adjust, they don’t have any feeling for language at all. Most of them are too lazy to understand different tongues and their influences on English and other international languages. They have a language comprehension of a average European with mental disabilities. That doesn’t give them the right to nag about the subject.

  14. TextualHealer says:

    I’ve come across these machines elsewhere in the NL, in Utrecht and Middleburg. They did print tickets with your car number on it , but didn’t bother with English translations – causing the Germans much difficulty. I find them (the machines not the Germans) really annoying for at least two reasons.
    Often people who have a bought a ticket and returned to their car early will pass on the ticket to just arrived fellow motorist ( a rare act of motoring solidarity). It seems incredibly Dutch to try to squeeze the last Eurocent out of motorists. After all someone has paid for that parking space. Under this system they get ‘double rent’. It would also be annoying if you are parking on business – if you don’t get a ticket – you can’t claim the expense…


  15. Melissa says:

    I noticed how many people laugh at other people’s English skills. For alot of people English is their third of second language. How many languages do most Britts speak? Exactly, 1.

    So sorry if other nations don’t speak every language perfectly.

    Don’t get me wrong I love things like Engrish and Dunglish, but this seems more like ripping on a country that does its best to please every nationality. In England everything is written in… English. In the Netherlands important things are in: Spanish, French, German, English, Italian, Dutch and sometimes Arab. Not perfect but understandable.

    I know this site is dead, but I hope some ungrateful immigrant/tourist will read this and for once appreciate the Dutch their hospitality.

  16. Melissa says:


  17. It’s Not Easy For the Dutch Either | Dutch Language Blog says:

    […] then there’s this rather embarrassing message spotted on an Amsterdam parking machine by the bloggers over at […]

  18. Larry says:

    ‘Tariff’ might work if they meant their schedule of rates, but they clearly have only one rate, so why not use ‘rate’ instead of the false cognate for ‘tarief’ (which means just one rate)?

  19. Dirk Faam says:

    But have you seen the poor Dutch translation on the parking machines in London?

  20. Gary says:

    “Correct = correctly”? Well, possibly not. See

  21. Marcus says:

    Tariff is English.

  22. deem85 says:

    I live in England, and Tariff is correct. But if you want to make comments about English mistakes by Dutch people, you should write correct English yourself. It is “Nobody tells” not “Nobody tell”. It makes the article a bit weak.

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