It’s cruel, but it must have provided some welcome humor during a frustrating drive. A great sign, posted by @caseywright.
The sign reads: “You’ll Never Get To Work On Time HaHa!!”
Elchanan sent me the following story:
LONDON (AFP) — Officials in Wales mistakenly erected a road sign that read “I am not in the office at the moment” in Welsh after a translation mix-up.
The sign originally said in English, “No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only,” but when Swansea Council officials sent it to be translated, they received an automated e-mail written in Welsh that read: “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.”
Unaware of the actual meaning of the e-mail, officials had the sign printed and put up near a supermarket, only realising their mistake when Welsh speakers pointed it out.
All road signs in Wales are required to be written in English and Welsh.
“Our attention was drawn to the mistranslation of a sign at the junction of Clase Road and Pant-y-Blawd Road,” a Swansea Council spokesman said.
“We took it down as soon as we were made aware of it and a correct sign will be installed as soon as possible.”
I think part of what makes silly or erroneous signs so funny is their official-ness: a printed sign has an authority and seriousness that we learn to obey from a very young age. An error on an official sign is like a policeman with a button open — a humanity and vulnerability is revealed unexpectedly and inappropriately.
Reminds one of the well-publicized story of a Chinese restaurant’s English sign, posted specially for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing:
[Images via Neonascent]
The Terem branch near our home recently moved to a new building after many, many years in its old home. To help people find the new site, they posted some signs at the major intersections nearby:
Did you spot the same problem I did? The Terem logo is a heart-shaped letter “tet”, ending in an arrow that points to 10:00 (up and to the left). The purpose of the sign, however, is to direct you to make a right turn (see the white-on-red long arrow at the bottom of the sign?).
Visually, there are two conflicting messages. If you’re in a hurry, or overwhelmed, or don’t know the neighborhood, which message will sink in? (Probably the first — which is misleading.) Or will they just fight for your attention as the lines of cars behind you honk in frustration?
Seen in Narita Airport:
The English text of the sign reads: “If you don’t mind to discard the prohibited items such as knives, scissors and lighters. Please put them into this box.”
I wonder if anyone ever has? I assume that the items already within were planted there in advance. What would motivate someone to drop a forbidden item in the clear box rather than in a nearby garbage bin? (I can see the negative motivation, not to drop things in the box, because other people will see that you didn’t know not to bring those “dangerous” items along.) If the box’s purpose isn’t really to collect items, what is it? Perhaps it serves as an eye-catching early alert (before entering the security line) that allows people to save face by warning them that some items must be disposed of?
Sorry, no picture of this one.
My spies report from the men’s room in the Hong Kong airport (HKK) that the sign over the urinal reads: “Electronic urinal. No touch needed.”