Lost in Translation: Coffee Happens

Because Granada sees so many tourists, many of the bars and restaurants attempt to translate their signs and menus into English. Here’s the latest catastrophe I saw during my visit back in December:

coffee happens

How does one get it so wrong? Is there not a single native speaker in the whole city who could have lent a hand? “Media tostada” means “half a piece of toast.” I suppose “half” and “happens” sound similar, but I wouldn’t invest in a large stand-alone sign before double-checking.

To the owner’s credit, he got the spelling of “coffee” right the first time. But by the look of things, he was so eager to print the sign and start pumping up his British tourist revenue that he forgot to add the double ‘e’ during the second go-around.

So unfortunately, in English you can’t say “coffee happens” or “toast happens.” You can, however, say “shit happens,” which is exactly what happened to this sign.

P.S. More hilarious mistranslations in Spain, and some others world-wide.

  • Luc

    I’m laughing out loud–‘loling’ as it were. This is great. Toast happened to me this morning, but I can never seem to get it quite right. There’s nothing like a toast happens with tomato, olive oil, and jamón serrano.