30 December, 2009

Going rouge

This is one of the absolute best translation mistakes that I've seen in a long time. This isn't an accidental typo that was overlooked, but an actual mistake, a product of research and effort. Thanks so much, Gidon, for finding it! Here we go:

So, for those of you who can't read Hebrew, this is a jar of Sumac. You, know, it's a spice, it's sitting right there, on the spice rack. Sumac in Hebrew is called, you guessed it, Sumac. But apparently the guys who translated this jar from Hebrew weren't convinced that Sumac was also its name in English, so they went to look it up. Way to go, guys!

The trouble is that SMC is also the Hebrew root for blushing. So when you look it up (for example, here) you end up finding this:

They were so very very close. So close! And yet, not nearly close enough. Well, I suppose we should be relived that they opted for the first word on the top line of our definition, and not the second :)

Thanks, Gidon!


Dave (Balashon) said...

Funny stuff!

You should know, by the way, that the English word "sumac" comes from the Arabic word for red, which is cognate with the Hebrew word:

etymology of sumac

toby said...

Thanks, Dave! Sounds like you should write a post about it :)

Mrs. S. said...

LOL! Maybe that's what Yaakov Avinu used to spice his nazid adashim. After all, Esav DID refer to it as "ha'adom ha'adom hazeh..."

Varda Epstein said...

Hysterical! Thanks for sharing this.

newshiny said...

The same spice company has שום translated as farfic in English.

For those who don't understand Hebrew, it should read garlic.

toby said...

Mrs. S. - good call!
Varda - thanks!
newshiny - thanks for pointing that out! I'll try to include it in a future post :)