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Our booklet blunder with 50,000 tragically inaccurate ‘unofficial’ language guides for Rio 2016

Alguém aqui fala Inglês?!?!

Alguém aqui fala Inglês?!?!

Here at Wholesale Clearance a large variety of stock makes its way in and out of our warehouse, and the vast majority of it is quality merchandise. Occasionally though, we stumble across something so disastrously unprofessional that we’re left with little choice than to sit back and laugh at our own misfortune.

Today we’d like to share with our blog a product design disaster that recently graced our stockroom:
The ‘Unofficial Brazillian Phrase Book For Travel To Major Sporting Events’ by Chinese publishing firm Hao de Fanyí Guides.

On paper the product sounded great. Unfortunately, that’s all it’s good for: paper. What was advertised as 50,000 orders of ‘pocket-sized bilingual skills, essential for sport-tourists heading to Brazil’ turned out to be more of a catastrophic failure that England’s recent Icelandic bruising.

What we thought it was:

• A handy pocket-sized language guide.
• Printed and disposable, ideal in a country where smartphones are at risk of theft.
• Specifically produced for the ‘World Sport Cup’, which is a copyright-sensitive way of saying: ‘Games of the XXXI Olympiad’, or ‘Rio 2016’.
• Expertly illustrated throughout with two adorable cartoon squirrels, inferring a professional attempt at a well-designed booklet.
• Practical sections throughout, including food, travel, emergencies, and sporting phrases.

Unofficial phrase book

Yep, we have 50,000 of these bad boys.

However, what we received was:

• Typos throughout, even in the main title.
• A front cover featuring a football as the sun.
• Translations that appear to be broken Spanish, most likely taken straight from software.
• The Brazilian flag printed upside-down.
• Half-hearted attempts at translations, which seemingly bear no resemblance to Brazilian Portuguese or the equivalent substituted ‘garbled Spanish’.
• Very disturbing content for a family friendly guide- including intimate sexual advice in the ‘relationships’ section, and tips on what to scream during an event of political unrest in the ‘emergency’ section.
• Wonky layout, low quality paper, and printing errors.
• Hand Gestures advice including how to say ‘screw you’ just using your hand.
• Cartoon squirrels that may or may not intentionally resemble a crude part of male anatomy.
• Hao de Fanyi Guides’ slogan: ‘We knowledge you’re tourist good’.

It’s evident that this English-to-Portuguese was produced by people that spoke neither English, nor Portuguese. Here are the highlights:

Page 2 reports a colourful history of political upheaval in Brazil’s past.

Page 2 reports a colourful history of political upheaval in Brazil’s past.

“HOW-lah! I am a tourist who speaks American!”

“HOW-lah! I am a tourist who speaks American!”

We didn’t bring out canoe either. 

We didn’t bring out canoe either. 

‘Just the tip.’ Might be in the wrong section…

‘Just the tip.’ Might be in the wrong section…

And who said romance was dead?!

And who said romance was dead?!

Brazil is a foreign country; they pronounce ‘Ow!’ as ‘Ah!’ there.

Brazil is a foreign country; they pronounce ‘Ow!’ as ‘Ah!’ there.

Emergencies include ambulance, fire, hostage situations, and… dropped ice cream.

Emergencies include ambulance, fire, hostage situations, and… dropped ice cream.

‘HOW MUCH for a hotdog?!’ might well be the most accurate phrase in this guide.

‘HOW MUCH for a hotdog?!’ might well be the most accurate phrase in this guide.

At page 19, the person in charge of quality assurance left to go get their glasses from the opticians.

At page 19, the person in charge of quality assurance left to go get their glasses from the opticians.

Whoever was responsible for this page clearly knew very little about sport, language, and squirrel anatomy.

Whoever was responsible for this page clearly knew very little about sport, language, and squirrel anatomy.

If all else fails, give your Olympic hosts a thumbs up.

If all else fails, give your Olympic hosts a thumbs up.

As we’re fortunate to employ a person of Brazilian descent (Hi João!), we thought we’d test it out, with a little assistance from Molly, who works in sales here. The results were disastrous:

João was offended on national, cultural, sexual, and spiritual levels.

João was offended on national, cultural, sexual, and spiritual levels.

Molly’s attempts at the ‘Brazillian’ tongue sounded like something between Welsh and the noise of a Spanish cat drowning.

Molly’s attempts at the ‘Brazillian’ tongue sounded like something between Welsh and the noise of a Spanish cat drowning.

And again in gif format:

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As we couldn’t possibly pass these on to customers, we’ve been busy brainstorming alternative uses:

• Door stops
• Kindling for the Olympic torch
• Papier mache
• A few could be used to balance a wonky table
• Ammo for a fake snowball fight
• Modern art
• We might just post them to our friends across the country who get M&S vouchers from their local council as an incentive for recycling.

Do let us know in the comments if you can think of any other uses!

49,999 wonky guides to flush down, 49,999 guides!

49,999 wonky guides to flush down, 49,999 guides!

8 Responses to ““Would you like help with your Brazillian?””

Andrew PageAugust 4th, 2016 at 11:47 am

On page 5 it translates “How are you?” as “Ciamar a tha thu?”

Which is correct – in Scottish Gaelic.

Never thought I’d see my native language in this kind of publication!

SueAugust 4th, 2016 at 8:39 pm

They’re a hoot! Perfect secret santa gifts or for linguists like a relation of mine. I’d buy a few just for the laugh

RsanAugust 8th, 2016 at 9:47 am

This is PURE GOLD for a Romance linguist.
I could read this every day and laugh and laugh and laugh!

BeverleyAugust 9th, 2016 at 7:58 am

Please may I have one? Put a small sticker saying ‘Joke Translations’ …. and sell them…..job done,xx I have many of these xx

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