Paper Sauce, Bears, and Fertilisers of Rice: Lost in Translation in Croatia

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Aimi Mizuki Murtic

With the tourist season well and truly upon us, why not have a look at a few linguistic gems…

Well, the tourist season is in full swing in Croatia, and as the international visitors flock to the country, so do the very interesting takes on various languages.

I’m not going to preface this with the usual, because unfortunately sarcasm will forever be lost on some. All I’ll say is, if you’re into this type of thing, feel free to have a look at the other editions in this series when you’re done with this one. From smallpox and diarrhoea to free handjobs and everything in between, don’t waste any time in clicking here, here, here, here, and here.

What I will say is that everyone gets the p*ss taken out of them here, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, we’re inclusive and indiscriminate, so if Croatian language is the thing you’re looking to brush up on to avoid making such charming mistakes, learn about some of the errors, funny and otherwise, foreigners tend to make when speaking Croatian here. Just make sure, whatever you do and whatever language you’re taking a shot at, you give Google Translate a very wide berth.

With thanks to the tireless contributors of the Jezicni FAIL – Nepismenost nasa svagdasnja Facebook group, let’s get started with this, the sixth edition of Lost in Translation in Croatia.


Ana Von Nemec

Please, don’t lose the lights, just turn them off.


Ilirijan Bajrami

If those three costumers are actually feral and not remotely tame, imagine how it would be if there were more than three allowed in? It’s anderstendable why there are such strict limitations in this shop.


Iva Ka

Once again, we’ve headed into the realm of drinking blended up bears. They’re known for causing a bit of a mess and being somewhat bad tempered but I’m not entirely sure the vegans will be too enchanted with the idea of consuming them, even if they do come with flavour as it says here. Still, to each their own!


Jan Knotek

Thankfully this is a clear situation of part of the lettering having been rubbed off accidentally, either by a human or by the elements. Or, maybe this sign is just promoting extremely Nihilistic life values. In any case, Nietzsche would be proud.


Lora Autischer

Could food? Could food what, exactly? From ”moked” ham to hemedex (ham and eggs), to monthly meat (that sounds less than appetising), to beaf steak, to the fact that you can have steak with paper when you order a ”foot” right at the very end of the menu, it all sounds a little off-putting, don’t you think?


Mark Stankovich

Can you still do it quietly, though?


Matea Mikulcic

There’s a lot that could be said about this offer, from the loadging tax and the insuranse to the lanch and diner. At least if you do encounter any sort of problem with your viewing of HRT, you can book written complaints at the reception. Ah, Google Translate, you strike again.


Nikolina Plenar Jelicic

We were going for pepper sauce with ajvar here. Don’t worry, while it isn’t really for everyone, ajvar won’t actually cut you, it might feel that way the first couple of times you try it, though.


Paolo Pocekaj

Sounds like the title of a Harry Potter book. Harry and the Fertilizers of Rice of Vegetables. This, while sounding quite intimidating, doesn’t actually involve fertiliser, nor does it involve that many different items being fertilised. Punjene means stuffed.


Petra Bagovic

For the English speakers, what stands out here is an ice cream SCOAP, whatever one of those is. For the Croatian speakers, it’s that same old nail biting problem that makes the hairs on the back of any Grammar Nazi’s neck stand up. Palačinke (pancakes) should have a č, not a ć.


Samantha Begonja Marinovic

I’ve heard of some new mothers being asked if they want to keep the placenta after giving birth as it apparently boasts vital nutrients (I’d pass, personally), but, pasta is enough to turn most heads, pasta placenta, anyone?


Srdjan Sijakovic

The dreaded ”prilozi” which is constantly translated into ”adverbs” or ”additives” in English. While this isn’t a translation in itself, you can bet that if it was, it would be ”Habmurger with adverbs”. Still, good price, regardless.


Stefica Furac Pavic

Free apartment here, with two entire r’s and two entire i’s.


Zdravko Podolski

What we were going for here on the delightful Jadrolinija ferry was ”don’t lean on the doors” because they’re likely unsafe. Still, in any case, make sure not to recumbence, you never know what might happen if you do.

Zeljko Harjac

More bear on offer here! At least it’s cold.


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