Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
Home » Other sites | About me Impressum Contact Sitemap


Engrishw refers to, often hilarious, errors in English made by non-native speakers, with the Japanese being among the main producers. There are a number of sites with material, but I particularly recommend:

http://www.engrish.com/e (The original, high quality.)
http://engrishfunny.com/e (High quantity.)

Not only are these sites highly entertaining, but also interesting from other points of view: The examples often demonstrate fundamental differences between languages, exemplify the dangers of using words found in a dictionary (quite possible something that has caused me, too, to make errors), give limited insight into other cultures, and demonstrate how a “creative” use of language can have poetic or fantastic effects. Notably, many of even the most distorted texts can be understood with a little effort, which demonstrates how much flexibility is built into languages; and also opens the question if some of these errors stem from cultures where the texts are considered satisfying as soon as a certain minimal level of understandability has been reached.

For visiting this site.

Alternatively, in more conventional English: These websites are well worth visiting. I ran the latter phrase through http://translate.google.com/translate_te in a chain translation from English to Swedish to French to German to Turkish to English, with the respective results

“Dessa webbplatser är väl värt ett besök.”
“Ces sites valent bien une visite.”
“Diese Seite einen Besuch wert.”
“Ziyaret değer Bu site.”
“For visiting this site.”

with a steady accumulation of error.


A particular oddity is how the core word “websites” is handled: “webbplatser” is the direct equivalent; “sites” (French) is the equivalent of the English “sites”, but not restricted to “websites”, making the statement ambiguous; “Seite” is extraordinary, not only does it go into the singular, but it uses a faulty and too web-centric translation—it corresponds to “page”, which is incompatible with “site” in the general sense (be it in French or English), and refers to only one part of a website/“site web”—; the Turkish version appears to compound this error by translating “Seite” (usually used for pages in books, newspapers, and similar) back into “site”. (The latter is slightly speculative, because I do not speak Turkish.) As coincidence has it, these web-centric translations happened to be correct, but I could equally have well have been talking about a topic unrelated to the Internet.

Also note that these were not the only errors made: Others include the Swedish incongruency of “värt” (singular) instead of “värda” (plural); and the German version losing the verb of the Swedish (idiomatically valid) re-write of “worth visiting” to “är värt ett besök”–“is/are worth a visit” (the French intermediate looks suspect to me; however, with my imperfect grasp of the language, I cannot say for certain.)