The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Lost in translation

Monday, 18 June 2012





From yesterday’s Guardian newspaper: 

Everyone in Israel is talking about the British-American BBC comedy Episodes. Not that it is airing there, but the show has recently become famous for its disastrous use of freebie online translation.

In episode three, Merc Lapidus, one of the lead characters, attends the funeral of his father. The episode was shown in the UK several weeks ago and is airing in the US later this summer.The gravestone, as per Jewish tradition, is bilingual – the local vernacular, in this case English, along with Hebrew. But the entire Hebrew inscription is written backwards, starting with the last letter and working back to the first. The reason, of course, is that Hebrew runs in the opposite direction from English, from right to left. And it gets worse. If you go to the trouble of reading the text, you’ll discover that the man commemorated, a certain Yuhudi Penzel, has been “pickled at great expense”. This is what you get if you use Google Translate to render “dearly missed” into Hebrew. The blooper is now going viral in Israel.


Hat tip to SweetPea.

One comment on “Lost in translation

  1. Monday 18th June 2012 at 8:08 pm

    By the way, this is a really funny episode (of Episodes) with amongst other things the son/chief mourner taking a call on his cell phone just as the rabbi is chanting.

Leave a Comment