Lost in Translation in Hoi An


Welcome to Hoi An Now’s ‘Are You Serious’.  Here you will find a frivolous account of some of the many aspects living in a foreign land throws up. Language barriers, social differences, the tyranny of Google translate – when cultures collide mirth frequently follows.

It’s random, it’s pictures, stories, features and more: learn, laugh and enjoy – because for us at Hoi An Now, that’s what life’s all about!

How Vietnamese are You?

It's A Sign

It’s hardly uncommon to come across a t-shirt or a sign in this part of the world that communicates something far from whatever the wearer, or proprietor, has intended in English. I had a housekeeper in Thailand who once came to my apartment in a shirt that read ‘I have a right to masturbate’ in bold letters on the front. I thought of explaining in Thai what this phrase meant, but the entailing loss of face might have caused her to resign. Besides, I quietly thought to myself, ‘Sister should wear a shirt like that with pride’, and grinned benignly as she applied herself to the week’s washing.

There’s a whole Facebook paged entitled ‘Another Side of Vietnam’ dedicated to posting amusing signs, t-shirts and scenarios in Vietnam and I must give the site credit for the following images. I hope that none of the published content that follows offends anyone, it certainly is not intended to do so – it’s just a humorous and harmless collection of random, misguided signs! Thanks to all the ‘Another Side..’ contributors.

Amy Morison

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Originally published by Live Hoi An Magazine