Instructions for tourists – a translation mishap

Now that the holidays are drawing nearer, we will be out and about trying to decipher the instructions left for tourists, in some cases, in several languages. Therefore, we will be very busy translating or looking for the translation that would suit us best in every time… of need. In this post’s featured picture, we have a creative sign for his and hers toilets. Although tradition dictates the use of nouns (ladies and gents, for example) in this case, in this Spanish beach someone decided to use a more creative signage… but they had not reckoned on the problems it would bring, the translation of «ellos» (male) is «they» and the translation for «ellas» (female) is… «they».

To work around this problem in English, this creative person had to use the singular form. However, he got confused, because instead of simply translating the pronoun, he introduced the possessive impression that does not occur in the Spanish version. To maintain simply the pronoun, the translation should be «she» and «he». Yet, to tell tourists that his and hers toilet can be found there, he also made the mistake of forgetting an «s»: «hers» and not «her». Even the translation of a single word can be a demanding task…