Errors of Comedy

France - 

I consider myself pretty good with languages, but even I make mistakes. With a language like French, where the slightest change in the pronunciation of a vowel, a consonant substitution or a little slur can mean a big change, it's easy to completely destroy a sentence. At the beginning of this trip, I decided to collect my most knee-slappingly horrendous mistakes for later contemplation. Most French are kind enough not to point out the obvious mistake (it's usually pretty clear what I mean simply from context), but a few of my more unusual gaffes have produced chuckles, grins and once or twice, outright laughter. So, for your edification and for the greater good, I present to you my biggest mistakes over the past two weeks:

Of course, the French make mistakes too. Whenever we engage someone in English, they invariably make minor grammatical gaffes that we politely ignore - because, once again, the meaning is usually very clear based on context. Sometimes, we run across a tidbit of written Eenglish that has been immortalized on a museum placard or a travel brochure. To my mind, this is less forgivable. A professional translator should really know better! In that case of written mistakes the problem is rarely a grammatical flaw, but rather "overtranslation" - the translator's gotten too smart for his own good and tried to do a global search-and-replace on entire grammatical forms that he thinks are rare in English. Someone should tell these people the real beauty of English is that anything goes. Maybe if they didn't try so hard, translators wouldn't produce gems such as the following:

In spite of this the 2nd Empire is characterized by the French insanity olden age, which is at the origin of the contemporary psychiatry. The insane spectacle link with medicine in order to look scientifically and philosophically this condition.