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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is it Gender Bender or Just Human Sacrifice?

The next case is remarkable. You can see that much thought and intent went into this tattoo. It's not just a random uneven scribble, but a beautiful, professionally done portrait of his boys.

Too bad that kind of professionalism wasn't applied to the translation job.


The Hebrew in this tattoo has three words. Each word is a real word by itself and each word is wrong for the context. Quite an accomplishment really, to get them all wrong.

In Hebrew words can have several meanings, therefore, the tattoo can be read two ways:
- Admittedly, you girls are Idol
- To thank, I'll give Idol

Since his kids are actually boys, and human sacrifice to random deities is uncommon nowadays, you can safely assume that something went very very wrong.

I will hold you in suspense no longer, what this guy meant to ink was actually, "Thank you God".

When you know the original intention, it is easy to see where he went wrong. Every word is rather close to the correct form, but wrong enough to give the sentence completely different meaning.

Anyway, the correct way to write "Thank you God" in Hebrew is this:


One thing keeps bugging me. How in the world had this guy managed to end up with "Idol" instead of "God"? The words have similarity, true, but even translator programs know better.

3 comments:

  1. It looks like what he meant was something closer to "tov lehodot la'el," which is a liturgical phrase in Hebrew. Perhaps "Thanks i will give to God?" That would come out to something like "Hoda'ah eten la'el." Since Hodaot/Hoda'ah is actually an expression of "Thanks" (Thanksgiving in Hebrew is Chag ha'Hodaot). Unfortunately...yea there's no way to call this a remote success. Nice try?

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  2. actually
    אליל
    in Hebrew means a goy god, or elilim, like avodat elilim, its a het.

    אני מדבר עברית וזה, אז כה להודות אתן אליל זה עוד יותר גרוע בגלל שזה יענו תודה לאליל.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here's what it probably meant: "Thanks to/you/god"
    Instead, "Thanks to" got translated as "to thanks" - lehodot; "you" got translated as "Atah", and then had the heh done incorrectly for good measure; and "god" got translated as "elil".

    All the translations are technically correct, but together they are gibberish.

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