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Mistranslation could result in Bad Tattoos!

Last updated on May 17th, 2021 at 06:22 pm

Be careful with Mistranslation in Your Tatoo!

Translations don’t necessarily have to be performed by machines to be terrible, however it is always important to proofread any work before it is submitted for its final production. Let’s say, for example, you are looking for a simple translation of an English word or phrase for a super cool Japanese tattoo. I will use the word, “cool.” Here are some of your options that might come up from Google Translate.

Possible translations

1.             クール   (Cool)

2.              涼しい  (It’s cold)

3.            冷たい ( Cold)

4.              冷やか ( Cold)

5.              冷ややか ( Chilly)

6.              涼味 ( Coolness)

7.              膚寒い ( Cold skin as)

8.              肌寒い ( Chilly)

10.             清涼 ( Refreshing)

13.           いかす(Cool)

Which Translation of “Cool” do you want for your tatoo? Be careful, you could end up with a mistranslation! You need a native Japanese  that knows want you want to with your translation.

There are some items for consideration even in the case of a single word, let alone an entire phrase. I will go through my own thought process of getting a tattoo.

Step one: Find something with a timeless quality.  I’m not big on contingency plans, but if you get your sweethearts name on your forehead and things don’t work out, you’ll have to buy a low brimmed hat. In this case, “cool” has many meanings, and will require research to find the one you want.

Step two: Once you find the correct Japanese translation of “cool” either design it yourself or have an artist work on it for you. However, always find a credible source of review and approval.

Not all artists are created equal. With that general statement, please kindly do everyone including yourself a favor and find a quality tattooist to transfer your idea into ink. Or you might end up like this poor fellow in another blog [bad tattoo example]

Steps three and four: Get your tattoo done and enjoy knowing that your tattoo is accurate and cooler than cool. Not Ice cold or refreshing!

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.