When foreigners use the Czech language, results can be quite funny. I remember that I was once talking about a good friend and his girl. Tragically, I chose the wrong word for girl. These two words sound incredibly similar, but knowing the difference can actually save your face: dívka1 is girl while (what I used) děvka means bitch. Doh!
Another foreigner who was resolved to learn Czech in a restaurant tried to call the waiter – číšník – and shouted: “Pane Česneku!” Again: Sounds similar, but česnek means garlic, not waiter.
It’s the same with written language. Something is strange about this label of a breadfruit:
How about that bottle? The instruction “Keep closed and cool” became in Czech: “Closed5 and keep a cool head.” So please don’t panic when you see what’s inside.
In this case, I think it’s not the translator who is to blame. It rather looks like a translation without knowing the context.
Last, a photo taken in a train that gives evidence of the same trouble in the opposite direction:
I think the Italian translator wins the prize with vestibolo.
- Dívka or děvče, plural děvčata – come on, if you mix děvče and dívka, it clearly becomes děvka – or do you try to deny that? ↩
- pub ↩
- God ↩
- Many foreigners would not even notice the difference between Hospodin jest můj pastýř. and Hospodin jest paštikář. It’s really sad. ↩
- Literally closed, but also used for people in the meaning of uncommunicative, secretive, close-mouthed ↩