Rosa Silverman, London Daily Telegraph
The woman who had “no regerts” tattooed on her arm was forced to confess that she now had one, while the man with “Jenius” inked on his forehead soon had others begging to differ.
These were just two of the examples of poor spelling by tattoo artists that should have all of us heeding the warning to “think before you ink.”
At a time when body art has never been so popular, cases of carelessness among customers are all too common, said Veritas Language Solutions, an international translation and language service provider based in Britain, which recently claimed that poorly translated foreign words or phrases were a particular problem.
It gave one example of a man who wanted the Chinese symbols for “Live and let live” on his arm, but ended up with the Mandarin for “Sweet and sour chicken.”
A woman who used an Internet translation tool to render “I love David” into Hebrew later discovered she had inadvertently had the phrase “Babylon is the world’s leading dictionary and translation software,” inked on to her back.
In another example, a woman wanted the name of her favourite flower tattooed, but was left with the words “Sweet Pee” above her waistline.
Sharon Stephens, the managing director of the translation service, said: “Tattoo translations are in demand and we regularly get requests for Chinese, Arabic and Hebrew and, now and again, Gaelic.
“Many of the requests tend to be philosophical or simply personal to the person on the receiving end of the needle.”
But she warned: “There are some hilarious examples of translation errors out there.”
Problems often arise when literal translations are used instead of finding out what the equivalent word or phrase in the foreign language is.
“Equivalent does not mean literal translation, which is what happens a lot of the time.”