Friday, September 17, 2010

Your Name is What? Collin

First, an announcement. You can now comfortably browse Bad Hebrew Tattoos on your iPhone, using our brand new iPhone App, available for free!

Back to buisness, today we have a name tattoo, something we haven't seen in a while. This victim wanted the name Collin, tattooed in Hebrew on his arm. He ended up with this:


To tell you the truth, had this tattoo not been labeled on the site I plucked it from, I would have never been able to interpret it correctly! It reads like a misspelled Ka'alelinen, not at all what the poet intended.

There are several glaring mistakes in this bad Hebrew tattoo. First, the doubling of the letter Lamed - in Hebrew you don't do that, even if Collin does have double L. If it sounds like one L, you write just one Lamed, otherwise a vowel between the two Ls is assumed. Same goes for all double-letter names, such as Anna, Todd or Bobby.

Then, there is the last letter, Nun. The victim unwittingly wrote both final and not-final forms of the letter, instead of using just one. This is a very common (and ugly) mistake, for which alphabet guides and their unaware users are to be blamed.

And finally, the O in Collin is much better represented by a Vav and not the Ayin our victim chose.


Correcting all that, we get a correctly spelled Collin in Hebrew. Note that this spelling can be used for all similarly pronounced names, like Colin or Coline.

8 comments:

  1. I think no letter between the quf and and the lamed is probably better, at least per English pronunciation. We don't say "KOH-LEEN". But English natives have a tendency to NEED every English letter represented in their transliterations. Their bad.

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  2. Everything you wrote is correct, except for the fact that the name Annie is actually most commonly transliterated as אנני probably just to differentiate it from the word Ani. :)

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  3. Thanks, Typo. This finally explains all those grafiti I see here: "C Co Col Coli Colin.. from Cologne!" I think we're dealing with someone famous here; best be careful:)

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  4. can you help me spell the name "anda" and the name "alex" in hebrew? i can't find anywhere and don't to do something wrong. thank yooou!

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  5. Alex - אלכס (Most common form)
    Anda - אנדה (Most likely form, assuming an English pronunciation)

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  6. @Paul, the letter between Kuf and Lamed is very, VERY wrong- even Alef would be better, since Ayin makes a very throaty sound that doesn't exist in the english language as far as i'm aware of.
    But putting that aside, even though the letter O may have a different sound in english depending on it's context, it is almost always translated as a Vav (except for very unique cases). The correction Typo has given here is very appropriate, and believe me, no one is going to be confused reading it.

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  7. "If it sounds like one L, you write just one Lamed... Same goes for all double-letter names"
    With the exception of Annie which is usually translated to אנני

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