Thai cafe sign blunder: ‘Go away and don’t come back’

A bar owner in New Zealand got more than he bargained for when he decided to start selling selling Thai food. According to the online newspaper stuff.co.nz, he hired a chef and asked him for advice in choosing a good name. The chef came up with a phrase in Thai that he said meant “Welcome and see you again”. The bar owner then got a sign printed and put  it up outside the restaurant. It wasn’t until months later when he hired a new chef that he found out the real meaning of the sign. The first thing that the new chef asked the bar owner was: “Why did you call your restaurant ‘Go away and don’t come back again’?”

This reminds me of the story a few years back of the foreign tourist in Thailand who wanted some football tattoos put on his arms. He had the sketches prepared in advance marking each one with “left” and “right” saying which arm he wanted each of the tattoos to go on. It wasn’t until later that he found out that the Thai tattoo artist also tattooed “left” and “right” above each of the designs. Then there are the stories of people getting tattoos done in Thai language but in their home country. So many times I have been asked for the meaning of an English word in Thai. Some people are so trusting. If you cannot read what is being tattooed or painted on a sign, then don’t do it! It pays to hire the services of an accredited translator if you don’t want to suffer the consequences.

4 thoughts on “Thai cafe sign blunder: ‘Go away and don’t come back’

  • April 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm
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    I love all the translations mistakes in Thailand. It’s part of the fun of traveling there. I bought some sandals last trip over. Instead of “absorbtion” they say “assorbtion”. Gotta love it. Also have you ever noticed the huge sign at the new airport that says, “Welcome to Thailand”? Only problem is, they put the sign on the departures road, not on the arrivals road.

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