From Jacket Ass to Stars & Bucks: Our favorite muddled MidEast messages

Published March 2nd, 2015 - 08:43 GMT

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Listen up for the best tip you’ll get today. It’s not about "location, location, location.” The key to success in everything is “communication, communication, communication.”

And here in the modern, multilingual Middle East, where many people in the major cities have a tenuous (or better) command of English, the opportunities for skewed communication go far beyond comic cab conversations.

We bring you 17 real-life funnies, most captured by the Al Bawaba news team, and urge you to share your own. Wasn’t it Shakespeare who said, “A rows buy any udder name wood smell as suite?”

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Ah, that middle finger. Maybe not used everywhere, but most understand its meaning. It can get you deported from the UAE, where it violates decency codes. This version comes on a Jordanian eyeglass case, useful when your optician wants to convey that your vision is f*cked.
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Image 1 of 17:  1 / 17Ah, that middle finger. Maybe not used everywhere, but most understand its meaning. It can get you deported from the UAE, where it violates decency codes. This version comes on a Jordanian eyeglass case, useful when your optician wants to convey that your vision is f*cked.

Enlarge
A sandwich shop in Tehran did some free-stylin’ with the corporate branding of American fast-food chain Subway. We wonder if they also copied the restaurant’s ubiquitous “fresh-baked bread” smell? (It’s an odiforous way-finder in Western malls, second only to the relentless waft of cologne from Abercrombie & Fitch.)
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Image 2 of 17:  2 / 17A sandwich shop in Tehran did some free-stylin’ with the corporate branding of American fast-food chain Subway. We wonder if they also copied the restaurant’s ubiquitous “fresh-baked bread” smell? (It’s an odiforous way-finder in Western malls, second only to the relentless waft of cologne from Abercrombie & Fitch.)

Enlarge
We found these imported keychains in Amman. We’re not sure what “The Advanced Spoon is Deducted” means, but we’re very glad to know (in advance) that it is.
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Image 3 of 17:  3 / 17We found these imported keychains in Amman. We’re not sure what “The Advanced Spoon is Deducted” means, but we’re very glad to know (in advance) that it is.

Enlarge
Know the saying “when one door closes, another one opens?” Open the wrong door at Amman’s new Queen Alia International Airport passenger terminal and suffer severe consequences! You’ve been warned.
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Image 4 of 17:  4 / 17Know the saying “when one door closes, another one opens?” Open the wrong door at Amman’s new Queen Alia International Airport passenger terminal and suffer severe consequences! You’ve been warned.

Enlarge
Here’s a brilliant mash-up of two Western favorites: Burger King and TV sitcom classic Friends. When in Baghdad, we bet Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, Ross and Phoebe all meet up here over coffee and a large order of friend-fries.
Reduce

Image 5 of 17:  5 / 17Here’s a brilliant mash-up of two Western favorites: Burger King and TV sitcom classic Friends. When in Baghdad, we bet Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, Ross and Phoebe all meet up here over coffee and a large order of friend-fries.

Enlarge
Do bears do it better, or just do it in the woods? Our new favorite coffee mug, found for just $1.50 at a Carrefour in Amman. Based on the imagery, we’re pretty sure that they don’t mean what that text would actually mean in idiomatic English.
Reduce

Image 6 of 17:  6 / 17Do bears do it better, or just do it in the woods? Our new favorite coffee mug, found for just $1.50 at a Carrefour in Amman. Based on the imagery, we’re pretty sure that they don’t mean what that text would actually mean in idiomatic English.

Enlarge
Brush your teeth with CRUST in Saudi and use the free toothbrush. It’s Good Quality. Just don’t forget to rinse. A lot.
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Image 7 of 17:  7 / 17Brush your teeth with CRUST in Saudi and use the free toothbrush. It’s Good Quality. Just don’t forget to rinse. A lot.

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Only the best in designer undies from downtown Amman souks. 'Nothing comes between me and my Calvns' - not even those superfluous vowels
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Image 8 of 17:  8 / 17Only the best in designer undies from downtown Amman souks. "Nothing comes between me and my Calvns" - not even those superfluous vowels

Enlarge
Not a mistranslation, exactly, but somewhat suspect typography from this lunch spot. If you don’t see what we see, congratulations. Mabrouk! Your mind is as clean as an Ammani snowdrift.
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Image 9 of 17:  9 / 17Not a mistranslation, exactly, but somewhat suspect typography from this lunch spot. If you don’t see what we see, congratulations. Mabrouk! Your mind is as clean as an Ammani snowdrift.

Enlarge
Step into a Stars & Bucks at the King Hussein Bridge at the Jordan/Israel border. Maybe enjoy a vented coffee or some frappy chinos.
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Image 10 of 17:  10 / 17Step into a Stars & Bucks at the King Hussein Bridge at the Jordan/Israel border. Maybe enjoy a vented coffee or some frappy chinos.

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In Arabic this reads “cleaned calamari.” And while “squid tube” is perfectly accurate (and would make a great name for a character on SpongeBob SquarePants) it’s not exactly appetizing.
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Image 11 of 17:  11 / 17In Arabic this reads “cleaned calamari.” And while “squid tube” is perfectly accurate (and would make a great name for a character on SpongeBob SquarePants) it’s not exactly appetizing.

Enlarge
In Iran, Pizza Hut somehow became “Pizza Hat”, complete with a logo manipulated into a man, in a hat. As far as we can tell, his hat is not made of pizza.
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Image 12 of 17:  12 / 17In Iran, Pizza Hut somehow became “Pizza Hat”, complete with a logo manipulated into a man, in a hat. As far as we can tell, his hat is not made of pizza.

Enlarge
Old Ma Donal had a farm … in Iraq.
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Image 13 of 17:  13 / 17Old Ma Donal had a farm … in Iraq.

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Who would buy a hair tonic that leaves users progressively more bald? It seems a losing ad campaign until you realize that - in Arabic - even images should be read right to left
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Image 14 of 17:  14 / 17Who would buy a hair tonic that leaves users progressively more bald? It seems a losing ad campaign until you realize that - in Arabic - even images should be read right to left

Enlarge
Shopping for the perfect souvenir to commemorate your Jordan holiday? Skip the sand art, pass the pashmina, and cancel that colorful keffiyeh. Instead, opt for the unique (and affordable!) Jordanian hand graft. Get two while you’re at it. Salesmen here are sincere when they ask, “Do you need a hand?”
Reduce

Image 15 of 17:  15 / 17Shopping for the perfect souvenir to commemorate your Jordan holiday? Skip the sand art, pass the pashmina, and cancel that colorful keffiyeh. Instead, opt for the unique (and affordable!) Jordanian hand graft. Get two while you’re at it. Salesmen here are sincere when they ask, “Do you need a hand?”

Enlarge
Emphasizing the truth in the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”, all we can say is this display left us panting. These guys need some of those Calvns. (By the way, the shade in the car window says “The Jordanian Islamic Bank.” In Islam, you can bank on these bare butts being totally haram!)
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Image 16 of 17:  16 / 17Emphasizing the truth in the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”, all we can say is this display left us panting. These guys need some of those Calvns. (By the way, the shade in the car window says “The Jordanian Islamic Bank.” In Islam, you can bank on these bare butts being totally haram!)

Enlarge
Forget visible panty line - watch out for “jacket ass”, ladies. Something new to worry about when you leave the house.
Reduce

Image 17 of 17:  17 / 17Forget visible panty line - watch out for “jacket ass”, ladies. Something new to worry about when you leave the house.

Enlarge

1

Ah, that middle finger. Maybe not used everywhere, but most understand its meaning. It can get you deported from the UAE, where it violates decency codes. This version comes on a Jordanian eyeglass case, useful when your optician wants to convey that your vision is f*cked.

Image 1 of 17Ah, that middle finger. Maybe not used everywhere, but most understand its meaning. It can get you deported from the UAE, where it violates decency codes. This version comes on a Jordanian eyeglass case, useful when your optician wants to convey that your vision is f*cked.

2

A sandwich shop in Tehran did some free-stylin’ with the corporate branding of American fast-food chain Subway. We wonder if they also copied the restaurant’s ubiquitous “fresh-baked bread” smell? (It’s an odiforous way-finder in Western malls, second only to the relentless waft of cologne from Abercrombie & Fitch.)

Image 2 of 17A sandwich shop in Tehran did some free-stylin’ with the corporate branding of American fast-food chain Subway. We wonder if they also copied the restaurant’s ubiquitous “fresh-baked bread” smell? (It’s an odiforous way-finder in Western malls, second only to the relentless waft of cologne from Abercrombie & Fitch.)

3

We found these imported keychains in Amman. We’re not sure what “The Advanced Spoon is Deducted” means, but we’re very glad to know (in advance) that it is.

Image 3 of 17We found these imported keychains in Amman. We’re not sure what “The Advanced Spoon is Deducted” means, but we’re very glad to know (in advance) that it is.

4

Know the saying “when one door closes, another one opens?” Open the wrong door at Amman’s new Queen Alia International Airport passenger terminal and suffer severe consequences! You’ve been warned.

Image 4 of 17Know the saying “when one door closes, another one opens?” Open the wrong door at Amman’s new Queen Alia International Airport passenger terminal and suffer severe consequences! You’ve been warned.

5

Here’s a brilliant mash-up of two Western favorites: Burger King and TV sitcom classic Friends. When in Baghdad, we bet Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, Ross and Phoebe all meet up here over coffee and a large order of friend-fries.

Image 5 of 17Here’s a brilliant mash-up of two Western favorites: Burger King and TV sitcom classic Friends. When in Baghdad, we bet Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, Ross and Phoebe all meet up here over coffee and a large order of friend-fries.

6

Do bears do it better, or just do it in the woods? Our new favorite coffee mug, found for just $1.50 at a Carrefour in Amman. Based on the imagery, we’re pretty sure that they don’t mean what that text would actually mean in idiomatic English.

Image 6 of 17Do bears do it better, or just do it in the woods? Our new favorite coffee mug, found for just $1.50 at a Carrefour in Amman. Based on the imagery, we’re pretty sure that they don’t mean what that text would actually mean in idiomatic English.

7

Brush your teeth with CRUST in Saudi and use the free toothbrush. It’s Good Quality. Just don’t forget to rinse. A lot.

Image 7 of 17Brush your teeth with CRUST in Saudi and use the free toothbrush. It’s Good Quality. Just don’t forget to rinse. A lot.

8

Only the best in designer undies from downtown Amman souks. 'Nothing comes between me and my Calvns' - not even those superfluous vowels

Image 8 of 17Only the best in designer undies from downtown Amman souks. "Nothing comes between me and my Calvns" - not even those superfluous vowels

9

Not a mistranslation, exactly, but somewhat suspect typography from this lunch spot. If you don’t see what we see, congratulations. Mabrouk! Your mind is as clean as an Ammani snowdrift.

Image 9 of 17Not a mistranslation, exactly, but somewhat suspect typography from this lunch spot. If you don’t see what we see, congratulations. Mabrouk! Your mind is as clean as an Ammani snowdrift.

10

Step into a Stars & Bucks at the King Hussein Bridge at the Jordan/Israel border. Maybe enjoy a vented coffee or some frappy chinos.

Image 10 of 17Step into a Stars & Bucks at the King Hussein Bridge at the Jordan/Israel border. Maybe enjoy a vented coffee or some frappy chinos.

11

In Arabic this reads “cleaned calamari.” And while “squid tube” is perfectly accurate (and would make a great name for a character on SpongeBob SquarePants) it’s not exactly appetizing.

Image 11 of 17In Arabic this reads “cleaned calamari.” And while “squid tube” is perfectly accurate (and would make a great name for a character on SpongeBob SquarePants) it’s not exactly appetizing.

12

In Iran, Pizza Hut somehow became “Pizza Hat”, complete with a logo manipulated into a man, in a hat. As far as we can tell, his hat is not made of pizza.

Image 12 of 17In Iran, Pizza Hut somehow became “Pizza Hat”, complete with a logo manipulated into a man, in a hat. As far as we can tell, his hat is not made of pizza.

13

Old Ma Donal had a farm … in Iraq.

Image 13 of 17Old Ma Donal had a farm … in Iraq.

14

Who would buy a hair tonic that leaves users progressively more bald? It seems a losing ad campaign until you realize that - in Arabic - even images should be read right to left

Image 14 of 17Who would buy a hair tonic that leaves users progressively more bald? It seems a losing ad campaign until you realize that - in Arabic - even images should be read right to left

15

Shopping for the perfect souvenir to commemorate your Jordan holiday? Skip the sand art, pass the pashmina, and cancel that colorful keffiyeh. Instead, opt for the unique (and affordable!) Jordanian hand graft. Get two while you’re at it. Salesmen here are sincere when they ask, “Do you need a hand?”

Image 15 of 17Shopping for the perfect souvenir to commemorate your Jordan holiday? Skip the sand art, pass the pashmina, and cancel that colorful keffiyeh. Instead, opt for the unique (and affordable!) Jordanian hand graft. Get two while you’re at it. Salesmen here are sincere when they ask, “Do you need a hand?”

16

Emphasizing the truth in the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”, all we can say is this display left us panting. These guys need some of those Calvns. (By the way, the shade in the car window says “The Jordanian Islamic Bank.” In Islam, you can bank on these bare butts being totally haram!)

Image 16 of 17Emphasizing the truth in the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”, all we can say is this display left us panting. These guys need some of those Calvns. (By the way, the shade in the car window says “The Jordanian Islamic Bank.” In Islam, you can bank on these bare butts being totally haram!)

17

Forget visible panty line - watch out for “jacket ass”, ladies. Something new to worry about when you leave the house.

Image 17 of 17Forget visible panty line - watch out for “jacket ass”, ladies. Something new to worry about when you leave the house.

Reduce
 

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