When asked about the most popular or most favorite Turkish to English translation blooper, perhaps all translators would mention “chicken translate” as their all-time favorite. It is so popular that it became a real “classic” in translation bloopers. It had some media coverage too. Feature writers wrote about it, newspapers published it, and it is included in most of the web pages on translation bloopers. Even, there is a Yahoo group with that name. I myself registered a domain both with net and com versions for it: chickentranslate dot com and dot net (now expired, unfortunately due to lack of time to dedicate to that domain). Then, what is this chickentranslate?
Now, let us see the picture of the medium for the message hung over a busy street to attract the attention of foreigners:
Be it a small local restaurant, or a multinational giant corporation, being seen and heard is crucial for any business.
A busy street in a Turkish town. A local restaurant owner, being aware of the importance of visibility, hung this banner to attract foreign tourists to his restaurant serving, as the ads says, chicken translate (“rotisserie”) on charcoal to its customers. An exquisite taste if you are not a vegetarian! If only you could get the message.
“Çevirme” in Turkish means, inter alia, to translate, turn, rotate, etc. As a noun, it means rotisserie , or barbeque within the context of cooking, i.e., the name is derived from the technique.
It seems that our lay translator, perhaps the restaurant owner himself, picked up a dictionary, found the first English word for “çevirme,” and translated accordingly.
Having thus English version as well, the owner now can be sure that the message would be received by his potential foreign customers!
He has the medium, but unfortunately lacks the message!