(Not) Lost in Translation

Learning a new language is always a challenge. You struggle a lot with new grammar rules and remembering all the words for different things, so you have to make it fun and find the humor in things. I find humor in some of the literal translations of Dutch words and I thought I’d share a couple of those with you today.

1. Handtekening

 Handtekening is really two dutch words combined,  “hand” and “tekening.” In English, “handtekening” means “signature” but when you translate it literally, “Handtekening” means “hand drawing.” It’s a very logical label for what we call signature but for some reason I think it’s very cute.

2. Tuinslang

 Tuinslang is Dutch for “garden hose”, but literally it breaks down to “Garden Snake” in English; apparently actual garden snakes do not live in Belgium.

3. Handschoenen

The Dutch word for gloves is “handschoenen.” Taken literally, it means “hand shoes” which just endlessly amuses me.

4. “Slaap Lekker”

This isn’t a word, but a phrase that is said in Belgium. It’s a version of “Good night” and it literally means “Sleep tasty.” It sounds funny and odd to me, but on the flip side if you say “Zoet dromen” which literally means “sweet dreams” people will think you’re telling them to dream about cakes, instead of wishing them a pleasant sleep.

I’ll be sure to post more as I discover them.

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One thought on “(Not) Lost in Translation

  1. the word ” lekker” can be used in a much broader sence than just “tasty”. especially in the netherlands it is used frequently to express a general positive feeling.
    For example, “we zijn zondag lekker gaan fietsen” meaning that you enjoyed your ride with the bike on sunday.
    Or you can say: ik voel me niet (echt) lekker, meaning that you don’t feel very well

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