Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Girl with a Price Tag

In the last post we have seen a guy who got lucky, his misspelled Hebrew tattoo had a different-from-expected meaning, but it wasn't that bad. Today's victim, though, is very much the opposite:


This poor girl wanted her Hebrew tattoo to say a spiritual "I am free". She got her Hebrew backwards, but that's the least of her troubles. This unfortunate creation actually says "I'm for free". Really, this Hebrew tattoo beats any tramp stamp hands down!

The troublemaker here is of course the word "free". In English, this one tiny word contains many meanings. There is liberty (free as a bird) and then there is without cost (a free sample).

In Hebrew, the different meanings of "free" are contained in two different words. There is Chofesh that means "freedom", and there's Chinam - translated as "for free". I bet you know by now which one was unwittingly chosen by our poor victim...

Are you after your own "I am free" tattoo? This is how you correctly write it in Hebrew:


Mind, free as in "I am free" is gender specific. The free in "Free samples" is not.

14 comments:

  1. Or as they say in the Free/Open Source Software community, free as in beer versus free as in speach.
    I actually appreciate this rare occasion where Hebrew is richer than English. The FOSS comunity here came up with חופשי זה יותר מחינם, or Chofshy ze yoter me'chinam, which means free(dom) is more than free (cost)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please send contact info for the 'Free Girl'. At that price I may just order a dozen. Seriously, the only step downhill from this unfortunate error is to even (mis-)spell Hinam backwards: Ani Maniac. Your site should be required reading before getting a tattoo. Yi'shar Hashmal, Typo.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hey. i saw this site @google, while i was searching for a hebrew translation!.. my boyfriend wants to tattoo his back. he wants hebrews 11:1. he founded a translation in hebrew in the internet but he isn't sure. Could you help me? Would be very nice. :)
    Greets from germany. hehe

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Jotii - There are several ways to write "Hebrews 11:1", I prefer this:
    אל העברים י"א 1

    You should be aware though, this book was not originally written in Hebrew, but in Greek.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I guess Jotii wanted to find the actual verse in Hebrew rather than "Hebrews 11:1" in Hebrew...

    Anyway, if you were looking for "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" - in Hebrew it's:

    כי האמונה היא בטחון במה-שנצפה לו והוכחת דברים שאינם נראים

    (http://www.kirjasilta.net/ha-berit/Ivr_ln.11.html)

    ReplyDelete
  6. hai.
    i also found a translation..
    could you check it?
    is it the same as you have??
    אמונה זה לבטוח בתקווה ולסמוך על מה שנסתר מהעין

    thanks a lot.
    greets jessy

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Jessy,

    Your translation actually says "Faith is trusting in hope and relying on what's hidden from the eye". It's not a very good translation.

    The translation suggested by Anonymous is much better.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think it's hilarious. Maybe I'm sick.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @ Anonymous: its actually is a good translation,and the Hebrew grammar is correct. what you wrote in Hebrew I will translate as: Faith means to trust hope and count on whats hidden from the aye. its perfectly proper Hebrew grammar.

    Yhoshua
    Native speaker

    ReplyDelete
  10. Confusion, does not chinam also mean unbound?
    As in Sinat Chinam = boundless hatred (or purposeless hatred). Surely that phraise doesn't mean "(cost)free hatred", as it cost a great deal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mikhal, "Sinat Chinam" means hate without a reason. It's "Chinam" because the hated person has done nothing to earn it.
      So it does not save our poor tattoo.

      Delete
  11. Hey, look, it also happened in hanzi smatter: http://hanzismatter.blogspot.co.il/2013/01/from-philippa-h.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+Hanzismatterblogspotcom+(hanzismatter.blogspot.com)

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is so horrible and so funny.
    btw, the female version for "I'm free" is supposed to be
    אני חופשייה
    with two yuds, not one.

    ReplyDelete

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