More than words: Translated Inspirational quotes on social media and translated tattoos

A little over two years ago, I became fascinated by the growing trend of getting translated tattoos. People would get tattoos of sayings (quotes) in languages that they weren’t at all familiar with. To read my blog “Translation on Tattoos” which outlines possible reasons why someone would do this and to read about potential issues associated with it, visit the blog on my website here:  http://www.write2thepoint.ca/Blog/tabid/389/Article/867/Translation-on-Tattoos.aspx.

Just yesterday, I read a similar article, only this time it was about how people post inspirational quotes written in languages they don’t know on social media. The reasons for doing so would be similar to those of getting translated tattoos: insight into self (both temporary and possibly long-term) as a representation of a particular benchmark in time (immediacy of experience, feelings etc.) or to add a sense of mystery or sophistication or to simply generate discussion. As I said before, everything about and surrounding translation is very human and that’s certainly the case here.

Obviously, the stakes are not as high with mistakes re: translated quotes on social media versus mistakes on translated tattoos. If you mistakenly post something you think means one thing on social media and it turns out it means something else, you’re embarrassed, you apologize and you move on. There’s always the idea that what you put on the internet never really goes away, but people aren’t always conscious of that. A mistake in a translated tattoo is more difficult, if not impossible to fix.

The article I read yesterday about translated quotes on social media just reminded me that people are still very much willing to take risks to get a human connection, no matter how brief.