Alison Hackett's Typos was a finalist in 'The Next Myles' competition in the Irish Times Printed Irish Times 8 August 2012
Typos permeate all forms of the printed word but in most cases just bring on a wry smile or snort of amusement. On a Friday night out after a bad week at the office who wouldn’t enjoy ordering the ‘Oven Baked Fillet of Hate’? However, it was on holiday recently while perusing the menus that I decided the typo had been surpassed by whacky translations. ‘Fish exposed in the Window’ sounded tempting, if unethical, but there was worse to come. Yes, I know Berlusconi is out of favour these days and it is well known that he has a fancy pad in Sardinia for his bunga bunga parties, but for the Sicilians to be including delicacies such as ‘Tomatoes with fried Sardinians’ on their menus seemed a bit much; and although his (Berlusconi’s) slippery behaviour has earned him, in Italy, the nickname of Spaghetti alle Vongole, were they having yet another crack at him by offering us ‘Spaghetti with voracious clams’?
Amusing as these translation bloopers are, they are short-lived, as menus will regularly be reprinted and corrections made. On the other hand one can only admire those people who forfeit all proof-reading and editing rights when they choose to inject permanent ink words under their skin in a tattoo. ‘Your as welcome as the flowers in May’ and ‘Trust Noone’ have been known to appear on legs and backs and even though it is unlikely that Victoria Beckham is well versed in Sanskrit the fact that her name is misspelled in that language on her husband’s arm must irk a little; but it is to striker John Carew that we must award the Olympic gold. His tattoo was planned to be ‘My Life My Rules’ and he decided to create it in French with the request for ‘Ma Vie, Mes Régles’ along with a nice wing design stretching out alongside. After the deed was done he can’t have been too happy when a professor of French in Oslo pointed out that the acute accent on the ‘e’ should actually have been a grave accent if the word ‘rules’ was intended. My guess is that Carew is blaming the tattooist for the typo. It would be too painful to admit that it had been done exactly as he had instructed because unfortunately he now has the French words meaning ‘My Life, My Menstrual Cycle’ permanently fixed on his neck.