Nice Tattoo, Gweilo, You wouldn’t happen to know what it REALLY means would you?

I have to admit that it would be fun to be Oriental and tell someone that their tattoo doesn’t mean what they thought it did. It seems some tattoo artists already have been doing that to poor unsuspecting gweilos

5 years ago the wife and me were on holiday in Kos and a couple in the bar at the hotel we stayed at spent most of the evening showing off their ‘him’ and ‘her’ tattooed names that they had done when they were on holiday in Hong Kong, they said the tattoos on their shoulders spelt their names. An old English guy at the bar burst out laughing and when they asked him why, he said he had spent 30 years in the Hong Kong Police force and could read Chinese and Mandarin and the tattoos read “horse face” and “goat breath”.  We never did see them in the bar again.

Vince Mattingley, UK

Vince had hoped to have a translation of his name tattooed onto his arm in Chinese characters. Unfortunately, his request was translated as ‘Coca-Cola’ and tattooed onto his arm accordingly.

Anne Tenbury, USA

Anne has hoped to have a translation of ‘Freedom’ tattooed on to her arm. Instead, the tattoo artist had this request translated as ‘Free Love’ and tattooed accordingly. The connotations of this inaccurate tattoo translation need little explanation……

One site points out that these stories make it clear why the translation of any tattoo should always be taken extremely seriously. As such, here are a couple of key tips:

  • Always ensure that your tattoo translation has been carried out by fully qualified translators
  • Do not rely on friends who ‘claim’ to be fully conversant with another language or bilingual. Even someone who is bilingual may not be fully successful in transliterating or translating something for you.

Anyway, I think there are far too many downsides to having a tattoo than getting one.

They look nice when you first get one, but that will all wear off eventually and you will be stuck with an ugly blob. Amongst other problems.


Posted 02/11/2011 by lacithedog in tattoo, Tattoos

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