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11 Funny World Cup 2014 Translation Mishaps

Carolina Sanchez


In lieu of the 2014 World Cup, Brazil has translated many things around the city to assist English-speaking tourists. But some things just cannot be translated literally. Sometimes there are false cognates, or words that sound like English words, but do not have the same meaning.

Take the Spanish word,


, it means "pregnant."

 A friend of mine was visiting Argentina and she was embarrassed by her Spanish, so she went around telling everyone, "Estoy embarazada." You can imagine the looks on people's faces! She meant to say, "I'm embarrassed," but she got caught in the false cognate trap. For trustworthy translations, check out:

Here are some funny examples of this and other translation mishaps around Brazil in preparation for the 2014 World Cup:

1. Against the Brazilian Beef

No, this isn't PETA's attempt to go against Brazilian Beef, the real translation is a sirloin steak.

2. Kill(er) Tea

Sounds appetizing right? Mate is really a caffeine-infused drink, similar to tea, often served in a gourd, that is popular in some South American countries. They got confused with the verb


which means "to kill." 

3. Beer that barks

Careful! You might just get a feisty one! "Lata" really means can. The verb "latir" means "to bark." 

4. Against the Filet-Campaign

Haven't you heard? It's PETA's newest campaign against steak! In reality, this is a steak.


means "against," or "in opposition to."

5. Cupim

Yes, cupim literally means "termite." But who is really going to eat termites in an orange glaze? I'll pass, but in case you were wondering, "cupim" is a cut of Brazilian beef.

6. Octopusin? Shirimpto? Misty? Glilled?

There are too many mistakes in this one, both spelling and translation.

 The first one should translate to octopus with garlic and oil. Camarão á Paulista is a certain preparation of shrimp. 

Camarão Empanado refers to breaded shrimp; where did they get "misty?" I digress...

7. Turned Pages of Chicken

There are too many errors here to list them all. Folheado de Frango is a pastry stuffed with chicken. "Folha" can refer to a sheet of paper or leaf, so this was another case of literal translation.

8. Bread with Cold

Even Comfort Inn doesn't serve cold bread.


means "cold." Pão (pronounced with a nasal ã) com Frios refers to bread with cold cuts. Oh, and by the way, if you're in Brazil, don't go to the bread store and ask for hot pau (pronounced "pow"), this means "penis," and you will probably be thrown out or get a good laugh!

9. The American Language

Everything on this menu is incorrect. Lingua à Americana refers to a certain preparation of tongue. In Portuguese, lingua refers to both "language" and "tongue," similar to how in English you can say "mother tongue" when referring to someone's native language. 

10. Cheese Mine

In Brazil, they harvest their cheese from a mine, known as Queijo Minas. Just kididng, sorry to disappoint. Queijo Minas refers to a semi-soft cow's cheese that is produced in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. 

11. Gravatinha to Suck

I guess you can suck on your pasta if you'd like, but Gravatinha ao Sugo is a pasta with tomato sauce, garlic, and onion, and we recommend eating it with a fork. They got this from the verb


which means "to suck."

12. And the Grand Finale...Shit!

Cocô means poop! This is a case of a misplaced circumflex. Coco (with no circumflex) means coconut, and I'm guessing this is the flavor they meant to put.