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Ink, needles, and tattoos oh my.


zeus777
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So being a Japanese, I've seen TONS of strange Japanese tattoos that made me go "Does the person really know what that means?"|
I get the feeling this happens a lot in different languages too. 

I've seen a guy with the word "women's body" on his arm (maybe he appreciates the beauty of a women's body),
I've seen a girl with "obnoxious" on the back of her neck (I wonder if she has any friends)
My friend saw a dude with the word "kitchen" on his arm (maybe he likes to cook), etc etc.

The other day I was asked to translate a certain word, and I told the person I'd be glad to help.
When he placed the order he added a message saying "I know what the word means already but just wanted to be 100% sure. I'm gonna get a tattoo."

The moment I saw the word "tattoo" in the message I sensed trouble.

I looked at the word, I translated the word for him, and delivered the order along with a long message telling him that he should NOT get the tattoo.
He replied telling me that he thought it was a completely different word.

Well, I'm glad I was able to save him from an embarrassment of a lifetime. 

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14 minutes ago, aarontgladiator said:

what was the word?

Maybe "Fiverr" in Japanese katakana, only that it said "Fiber"? 😉

 

Dᵢₛ𝒸ₗₐᵢₘₑᵣ: ⱼᵤₛₜ ₐ ⱼₒₖₑ ₐₗₗ ᵢₙ 𝓰ₒₒ𝒹 𝒻ₐᵢₜₕ, ₙₒₜ ₘₐₖᵢₙ𝓰 𝒻ᵤₙ ₒ𝒻 ₚₑₒₚₗₑ 𝓌ₕₒ 𝓰ₑₜ ₜₐₜₜₒₒₛ, ₒᵣ ₜₕₑᵢᵣ ₜₐₜₜₒₒ 𝒸ₕₒᵢ𝒸ₑₛ, ᵢ ₕₐᵥₑ ₛₒₘₑ ₘᵧₛₑₗ𝒻.

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Tattoos has always been an interesting subject to me. I have a few myself and I love seeing beautiful tattoos made by professional artists.

However, more often than not, people tend to cheap out on tattoos. They wake up one day, decide they want huge angel wings on their back and go to the cheapest tattoo artist they can find, who has no license, no qualifications and no regards for sterile instruments.

I always tell people that they should think about their tattoos for some time and save up before they decide to get it. Tattoos are not cheap and if they are, they will probably get a lot more expensive when one decides to remove or cover them up after looking in the mirror.

I remember, when I got my first tattoo, I was waiting in the waiting room and a woman came to reception asking to book an appointment with. After a lengthy conversation, the tattoo artist did not agree to book an appointment as he deemed the tattoo idea to be unprofessional. I was pleasantly surprised, and at that point I knew for sure that I was in good hands with my tattoo. I think that's how it should be. Yes, you can argue that it's client's money and they can do whatever they want with it, but I think that as a professional tattoo artist, one has certain responsibilities when it comes to modifying other people's bodies.

yryur.png

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2 hours ago, aarontgladiator said:

what was the word?

The word he WANTED was 花鳥風月, which says flower, bird, wind, moon.
Basically it means "all the beautiful things in nature."

The word he sent me was 四字熟語 which means "4 character idioms."


There are tons of these " 4 character idioms" in Japan, another example is 一石二鳥, and the characters means "one, stone, two, bird."
Yup you guessed it, it's the Japanese version of "killing two birds with one stone."
So flower, bird, wind, moon is a type of 4 character idiom, and that's what he wanted as a tattoo, but the word he sent me was "4 character idiom."

So what I told him was that if wanted a tattoo of a PARTICULAR  4 character idiom that's great, and that I can check that idiom for him.
However IF he was planning on getting the WORD " 4 character idiom," it will look dumb as hell.

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I always loved how in attempt to make the lettering look Cyrillic, people would invert the "R". Because they think that "Я" also reads as "R", it's just turned the other way. And it's actually reads "ya" so that "яesist" across your bicep doesn't really work, my dear comrade. 

Edited by lenasemenkova
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

For some reason I'm getting a good number of requests recently to translate short sentences/phrases, and each time I get those my spider senses start to tingle.
I ask the buyer if it's for a tattoo, and in most cases they say yes. They are usually surprised and impressed 😅
Just the other day I got another request, and the person sent me this short sentence. I asked him the same-old-same question and he said yes, Dang, I knew it.
I told him that I can indeed translate it, but also added that it would be better if I "tweak" the translation a little rather than just translating it directly.
The buyer was confused and asked me why, and I told him that just because the translation itself is correct doesn't mean it will work as a tattoo.
In other words, if I translated it directly and he had that slapped onto his arm or back, it will look stupid as HELL. 
Correct grammar / sentence structure doesn't automatically make the tattoo look cool.
Just because it sounds cool in one language doesn't mean it sounds equally cool in other languages.


I added that if he doesn't mind a Japanese person laughing inside their heads when they saw the tattoo, I'll go ahead and work on the direct translated version.
I also gave him an example that "flying monkey" sounds cool in Japanese and is often used for ninja-like hero names, but it CAN sound rather silly in English, especially for people who has seen the movie Wizard of Oz. He thought "flying monkey" was a lame hero name, so good, I think I got my point across. (Believe me, it does sound cool in Japanese though!!)

He asked me if I would laugh if I saw a person with that directly-translated tattoo. I said abso-freaking-lutely yes.
I did say that if he is 100000% sure that he will never encounter a Japanese or a person who understands Japanese at a native level, he'd be OK. It was up to him.

We decided to go with the slightly tweaked version.
I'm very, very glad.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, zeus777 said:

In other words, if I translated it directly and he had that slapped onto his arm or back, it will look stupid as HELL. 

Yeah, you would not want to do anything that makes you look dumb, while getting a tattoo. 😉

 

Edited by newsmike
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7 minutes ago, zeus777 said:

I came across this video a while, it's quite entertaining.
I'm sure there is a similar video in ALL languages though!

 

P*ss Factory was my favorite from that video.  There truly is no better way to impress your friends than taking a quote you don't understand, from a book you never read, and having it injected on your ass, in a language you don't speak.   

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This post makes me laugh! I have two younger sisters. One saw a pretty design with kanji on an arare snack package and had that tattooed onto her left shoulder. And it was my other younger sister, an artist, who was dating a tattooist and borrowed his tools to tattoo the design herself. It was her first time using the tools. 

That was many years ago. Now my sister keeps her tattoo covered because she works as a lawyer and my other sister went on to become an architect (she did marry the tattooist, though).

@zeus777, I'm glad your clients are listening to you! 😊

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Languageing is definitely hard! Hungarian is a fairly rare language so I often get asked what x and y is in it (NOT for tattoo reasons, luckily) by people I meet - it's always so hard to find the 'right' fit (that doesn't sound dumb but means the same.) For a while, I wanted my first tattoo (if I ever get it) to be the title of one of my favourite songs - in English it's basicaly Fxxck it, but in Korean it's not 100% the same (at least from what tiny bit I understand.) If I ever get it, I'll make sure I'm getting the right version haha. 

 

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This post has officially taken me out of lurk mode.

Out here doing god's kanji work, Zeus! XD Glad you were able to come to an agreement on the slightly tweaked version.

Reminds me of a painting a friend of mine did years back. They did a portrait of a fictional gal with a Japanese tattoo on her bicep, flexing. The top of the painting read, "It means strong!" (in English...) ~ but the tattoo was 臭い (which means smelly/stinky (I know Zeus knows, but for anyone who was curious!)).

Ohhhhh the irony (alas, it was the point of the painting, altogether).

I'm also curious about the arare snack package kanji 😅



 

Edited by lunacubed
oops I wrote arere instead of arare ~ (typo)
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20 minutes ago, zeus777 said:

OH MY GOD HAHAHAHAHAHA
The correct word will be 強い, not even close!!
funny-animals-cat.gif

Haha, exactly! Gladly her painting was commentary on the poorly chosen Japanese often featured in kanji tattoos, rather than her lack of knowing 強い XD 

Thank goodness there isn't anyone with that tattooed (or at least we haven't found them yet! Perhaps someone has it on their *behind* - hidden from the normal world. I suppose we'd never know in that case...)

P.S. I didn't mention it in my original comment, but I thoroughly enjoy your thread title ^^

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10 hours ago, zeus777 said:

I am quite curious...WHAT WAS the kanji!!??

6 hours ago, lunacubed said:

I'm also curious about the arare snack package kanji 😅

We love nori maki arare! 🤣 This isn't the exact brand, but this is the kanji that was used, along with a Japanese crest that was on the package. Both of my sisters thought it looked pretty cool and didn't really care about the meaning. 

image.png.f68645deb7ff1c9f6f5905c9d2bbf08f.png

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