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Home2022 IssuesDecember 2022Tokyo has a new attraction for those who enjoy 'bad' translations

Tokyo has a new attraction for those who enjoy ‘bad’ translations

UltraSuperNew is a creative agency in Tokyo and it’s recently opened a new exhibit sponsored by the language learning app Duolingo at its UltraSuperNew Gallery that heroes ‘bad’ translations of English into Japanese. Examples include ‘Please urinate with precision and elegance’ and ‘Please do not eat children and elderly’. In fact, you can giggle at 16 of these deliciously mistranslated statements and even submit ones you discover. The ones chosen to be exhibited alongside those already in the museum win a month’s free subscription to Super Duolingo. That’s because Duolingo has always championed wonky translations, believing that highlighting them gives language learners permission to make mistakes.

“Why do mistakes have such a bad rep?” asks UltraSuperNew’s associate creative director, Andrés Aguilar, as reported by lbbonline.com. “They’re the unsung language-learning heroes and we wanted this campaign to settle the scores. There’s a treasure trove of meanings you can only access when lost in translation and that’s what we wanted people to experience in the Museum of Wonky English.”

So, if you’re in Tokyo, why not pop into the Museum of Wonky English (MOWE)? It’s in the UltraSuperNew Gallery, in Harajuku, Tokyo.

Image courtesy of Sofia Terzoni from Pixabay
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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