Three Errors in One Life

Some Hebrew tattoos testify about their bearer's intelligence:

The above tattoo is supposed to say "Life" (Chayim) in Hebrew. It's a very common tattoo and a quick Google search should be enough to secure a correct translation.

Today's victim apparently forgot to pay his brain bill. What else would explain getting three letters wrong in a four letter tattoo?

The first letter CHET was turned into a HE, they're somewhat similar, I can understand that. However, turning two YODs into a double-quote? That's just dumb.

Now, this is how the normal people write "Life" (Chayim) in Hebrew:

Your Name is What? Michaela

Today's victim meant well. He wanted the names of his kids tattooed in Hebrew on his belly, probably even asked a native speaker for advice...

Too bad his tattoo was translated by a moron.

Funny really, we've got two names, Michaela and Trevor. Trevor (on the bottom) is a name that has nothing to do with Hebrew, yet it is perfectly written. Michaela (on top), on the other hand, is a proper Hebrew name, but was mangled beyond recognition.

The problem with a name like Michaela, is that you never know how to pronounce it. In Hebrew, Michaela is pronounced as mi-khah-EH-lah. In English, the standard seems to be mi-KAY-lah.

It's a confusing name! I wouldn't even blame the hapless translator, except his result is absolutely appalling. It reads mi-tchah-eh-lah, sounds a bit like Mitchell, and has an extra Aleph just for kicks. This error is one only a native Hebrew speaker with spotty knowledge of English will make.

Now, if you don't want to be fouled by phonetics too, pay attention. This is how you write Michaela in Hebrew:

The top is Michaela with the Hebrew pronunciation. The bottom is the English pronunciation, and it can be used for all related spellings, such as McKayla, Mikayla, Makayla and so on.

There's a lesson to be learned here. When getting a name translated to Hebrew, do tell your translator what it's supposed to sound like!

First Learn a Language, THEN Use It

Just found this one yesterday and it gets a direct ticket to the top of the pile, it is just that good:

The victim explains: "The word is Tshalach which is hebrew and means that my spirit is growning for more of the holy spirit."

And how did she acquire said word? By switching her keyboard to Hebrew mode and typing in the English letters. Hell, we've seen it all before. The result, as you can probably guess, is total nonsense.

There's a lesson here boys and girls. If you aren't coherent in your own mother tongue, do not attempt a tattoo in a foreign language that you don't know. Also, don't do drugs.

For those of you interested in the word "Tshalach", it is a misspelled Hebrew word for "You Will Send", it refers to a male sender and is actually pronounced "Tishlach". This incorrect and unremarkable word became somewhat famous by starring in a Christian song by one Eddie James. Here, check it out:

Still interested? This is how you write "Tishlach" (You Will Send) in Hebrew:

I urge you against getting this tattooed on your skin, as it's just a mundane word, it carries no special meaning.

Hebrew Inked Celebs: Danielle Lloyd

Danielle Lloyd, an English model, participant of Celebrity Big Brother 2007 and professional "celebrity for hire", got herself a very unfortunate Hebrew tattoo back in 2008.

It's the one right below her neck. Let's see a closeup:

Lloyd's tattoo is supposed to say "Only God can judge me, only God can judge me".

I guess her choice of Hebrew tattoo makes sense, as the name Danielle literally means "God is my judge" in Hebrew. Also, she's being judged by the public all the time.

This tattoo, however, ended up a wreck. Instead of a translation, it's a transliteration, and very badly done too. Using Hebrew letters, it says something along the lines of: "only god ken g'odg m, only god khen g'odg m". Never do a transliteration tattoo, it's the worst idea ever!.

Now, if you wanted a proper Hebrew tattoo saying "Only God can judge me", this is how you do it:

There are actually many different ways to write that sentence correctly, as it's a long and complex one. Judging God is a popular theme in Hebrew tattoos, and there are quite a few correct ones walking around, you can Google to find them!

The Ten Commandments - Gibberish Edition

The Ten Commandments make for such a great tattoo, they show your faith in God in a most illustrative manner. Everyone knows what those two slabs of stone say, and tattooing them in Hebrew adds that special touch of authenticity...

Unless what's written on them is total nonsense.

On this tattoo you can see a bunch of random Hebrew letters - artfully arranged. So lame.

Wouldn't it be better to just write out the commandments in English, rather than make yourself a laughing stock?

Your Name is What? Jessica

Today's victim, a girl named Jessica, wanted her name tattooed in Hebrew. Check out her tattoo:

Those of you familiar with Hebrew, can notice two interesting facts:
  1. The tattoo is written in script
  2. It actually says Jetsica
I had to mention the writing being in script, as it suggests that this tattoo was composed by a native speaker - either a stupid or a drunk one. He used the Hebrew letter Tsadi for the S in Jessica, even though Tsadi sounds nothing like S. Tsadi doesn't even have an equivalent letter in English, and it sounds like "ts" or like "zz" in pizza.

The correct way to write Jessica in Hebrew, is by using a Samekh - it sounds exactly like S. You can see two versions of Jessica below, the first written in script (my own handwriting) and the second is in print.

Mark of a True Genius

There is stupid, and then there's this:

This genius of a girl wanted a "Child of God" tattoo in Hebrew. What did she do? Switched her keyboard to Hebrew mode and typed in the English letters of the phrase, then tattooed the result on her wrist. The result is sad, meaningless gibberish.

Hebrew being a right-to-left language, the writing ends up backwards when reversed back to English. Just read the caption right to left, only then you shall get the message.

This is how a Hebrew-English keyboard is mapped (pic lifted from Davka). If you have any doubts of the the message, you can trace it back yourself!

Right. For today's Hebrew lesson we will learn to write "Child of God" in Hebrew. Do pay attention, the word "Child" is gender specific: "Yeled" for a boy-child and "Yalda" for a girl-child:

A Mockery of Salvation

Today's victim only wanted to have "Salvation" on his arm, tattooed in Hebrew:

Like many before him, this guy got his Hebrew ink backwards. Unlike others, this backward tattoo has a meaning. It reads as a slightly misspelled "The Mocker", nifty eh?

For those considering a similar tattoo, I should mention that today's victim had chosen an unusual word for "Salvation". In Hebrew, the word "Geula", when written correctly, does mean "Salvation", but it's not the only word with that meaning.

Usually, Christians like "Yeshua" for their Hebrew tattoos, as this is the word which the name Jesus derives from.

For today's Hebrew lesson we will learn to write "Salvation" in Hebrew:

The top word is "Geula", Salvation as our victim originally intended. On the bottom is another Salvation, the one Jesus was named after. Pick your favorite!

Sorry, God Just Doesn't Like You Much

Movie time! Today we get to watch the birth of an "oh so spiritual" religious tattoo.

This girl went in for an ambitious "I will walk by Faith" Hebrew tattoo on her foot, then uploaded the film to YouTube:

Observe the end result:

We've had a backward faith tattoo, featured on BHT before, and guess what? Today's faith tattoo has the exact same mistake, it is also spelled backwards. Maybe God simply doesn't like people to express their faith by means of a Hebrew tattoo, seeing as that kind of wreckage just keeps happening.

Aside from being directionally challenged, this tattoo, reading "Ani Elekh Ba'emuna" is understandable, though somewhat awkward sounding in Hebrew. In my opinion "Ba'emuna Elekh" would be much better.

Right. For today's Hebrew lesson, we'll learn to write "I will walk by Faith" in Hebrew. Top expression is what the victim originally wanted. Bottom one is my improvement. Use them at your own discretion.

Gender Bending the Hindu Deity

Being spiritual is all well and good, but this guy went a bit too far. On his back you can see an Aztec deity in Ouroboros form, a Chinese character for tiger, and to top it all - some Hebrew writing, referring to another pagan deity.

You can only scavenge from other cultures so much, before something goes wrong...

The Hebrew states, in a grammatically correct way: "Kali is one, and he's everything".

This is the Hindu deity Kali:

Unfortunately, Kali is a goddess, she's very much female. The tattoo made her into a male. The Hebrew language is very gender-specific, there are actually 3 male words in that 5 word tattoo.

I can't help but feel that this gender-bender tattoo is just deserts for someone who thought it was clever to tattoo his devotion to a pagan goddess in Hebrew of all languages.

* Thanks to Tian from Hanzi Smatter for translating the Chinese character!

Fall of the Chosen Princess

Today our special guest is a member of the royalty. You might remember Prince Charming who was featured here a month ago. Well, he's in good company:

This girl allegedly thought she had "Chosen Princess" tattooed in Hebrew. Instead, her tattoo says "Queen has Chosen".

I believe this tattoo might be some sort of dominatrix code, identifying the wearer as a Queen of the dungeons. Of course, she'd fib to the uninitiated and claim it's some harmless spiritual "Princess" tattoo, but we know better!

Now, this is how you correctly write "Chosen Princess" in Hebrew:

Whose Slave are You?

I always find it strange just how many Hebrew slave tattoos are out there. I could make tattoo a gallery, all slave themed. Slave, for god's sake. People, what is your deal?

All those slave tattoos are inked on Christians. The Jewish people sing at Passover, "We were slaves and now we're free", remembering a millennia old slavery. Christians, however, seem all too eager to label themselves as slaves.

But well, if you are going to label yourself a slave, at least do it right. Today's victim, she did it all wrong...

This girl wanted a Hebrew tattoo that says "Servant's Heart" inside a heart of thorns. Instead, her tattoo can barely be recognized as "Slave of the Heart".

Barely, because she managed to get her letters wrong.

We've been over it before. Hebrew letters often look similar to each other. This is the case with AYIN and TSADI. Can you tell which appears on the tattoo?

Slave, in Hebrew, is "Eved". It is written with the letter AYIN. However, you can see that the tattoo is featuring a TSADI instead, rendering the word as "Zeved", which is meaningless gibberish. Luckily, you can still guess that it was meant to be "Slave".

Aside from the letter mix-up, the expression's meaning got switched around because in Hebrew the word order should be reversed. That's how it turned into a "Slave of the Heart".

In Hebrew, first comes the "Heart" - Lev, then the "Slave" - Eved. You can't just take an English phrase, translate each word separately and hope it'll end up okay. It never does.

This is the correct way to write "Slave's Heart" in Hebrew:

I won't even attempt to do "Servant's Heart" as the tattoo owner intended. Servant (Msharet), in Hebrew, by itself isn't a word that has anything to do with God. You wouldn't want to pledge your heart to a Butler...

Anyway, today's victim is stuck with "Slave of the Heart". People who can read it will probably think she sleeps around a lot. Not the desired effect of your oh so Godly tattoo, yeah?

The Pruning of a Totally Spiritual Tattoo

Today's victim of the needle thought she was getting a great conversation piece, something special to celebrate, flaunt and force her spirituality on others. She was going to tattoo a bible verse on her foot, in genuine Hebrew. She chose Psalm 18:2...

What she got was this:

For those who don't know their verses by heart, here's Psalm 18:2, in English:

"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

You're probably thinking there's no way such a long and complex verse can fit into just two words. If you thought that, you're correct!

What does it say? Random crap. The first word (on the right), doesn't mean anything at all. The second word can be read as "Zmira", which means "Pruning" in Hebrew.

This tattoo is so bad, it really should be pruned off!

Today's Hebrew lesson; This is what Psalm 18:2 looks like in Hebrew:

Word of advice, if you're going to tattoo a bible verse, compare it to a verified source.

I have no idea how today's victim managed to get it so wrong. There are websites where you can see Old Testament verses in Hebrew, or you can buy a Hebrew bible, but do try to get it right!