Behind The Awkwardness: Lost In Translation

June 23rd, 2011

“This is a photo of my friend Samantha. it’s her fifth birthday and her first bday in america. At the time, her mom couldn’t read English very well, so she got a “Happy Anniversary” banner.”

(submitted by Michael)


54 Responses to “Behind The Awkwardness: Lost In Translation”

  1. megz says:

    This picture and story made me cry…so cute.

    My mother’s Japanese cousins came to visit us in Kansas near my birthday about 10 years ago. I was around 15 years old, and they gave me a birthday card for a 4-year-old with Snow White on it and lots of glitter and flowers. Mom told me that they thought it was pretty and that I would like it but obviously had no idea what it said. :-)

  2. Daniel says:

    I’m 34 years old, a Marine, and this made me tear up like a child. Unbelievably heart warming.

  3. ana Cordero says:

    I love it! that is such a legacy of a photo. Those a moments you must truly be grateful for. This shows how much this mother loves her children and she was trying to make the best she new how. This is a heart warming story. I am sure as a child you must have not being happy of her mistake, but I hope that now as a grow up you can truly see over all that how much you were loved.

  4. hyperpsyched says:

    That is the sweetest thing I have ever seen. It just kind of flows out of the photo and crashes into your heart like a big warm wave… excuse me, I think I need to go find a tissue, sniff.

  5. Honey says:

    This is actually very sweet, and you guys were beautiful!

  6. Lise67 says:

    What a lovely family.and it’s clear Mom was trying to come to grips with the language of her adopted homeland.I’m sure there were places you could buy decorations with korean chrs on them,so props to her for trying to get the right English equivalent..Not embarrassing at all.

  7. Adrian says:

    Love it!

  8. Erica says:

    This makes me extremely happy!

  9. Madeline says:

    I find this adorable. :-)

  10. Allen says:

    As someone whose family immigrated to Canada at a young age, this photo brought a tear to my eye. A cute photo of a young family making it together in a new land.

  11. JJ says:

    So cute! A lot of effort went into this :0)
    That’s what counts!

  12. Alicia says:

    My best friend came to America as a small girl from Korea. This picture is so sweet, I think I have a new cavity! Must be why there are tears in my eyes. I miss you Leea.

  13. Mai says:

    Its the thought that counts haha. I find it adorable.

  14. Iz says:

    I felt the same way as everyone else until I saw the penis balloons at the top and then I started the cycle all over again. Chuckling, realizing the sweetness behind it, tearing up, penis balloons, chuckling…

  15. liz says:

    Oh so adorable.

    • Megan says:

      Totally! English is a funky language; we are lucky we didn’t have to learn it as our 2nd language. I thought this was really cute!

  16. Dawne says:

    Aww, perhaps there were so many banners saying “Happy Something” that she got overwhelmed. What does the littlest girl’s tiara say? She could have tried matching the tiara to the banner.

    At least it’s a happy banner and not “Bon Voyage” (so many of you have pointed out the French, it would have been a similar error to just notice “Bon”).

  17. Pollomacho says:

    Talk about awkward immigrant stories, I’ve got a friend who moved to the US from Pakistan in late October. Only her father spoke English and he was away on business for the 31st. It took a long time to convince her mother that the KKK had not sent their children to scare the new muslim family out of the neighborhood.

  18. binkymae says:

    I remember trying to buy a birthday card written in English while in France and theirs say “Happy Anniversary” too.

  19. Lance says:

    Well, it was the anniversary of her birth.

    I agree with the other comments, its actually kind of sweet…

  20. Janel says:

    Every person in this photo is strikingly lovely. This picture, and the story behind it, is just beautiful. I love it. It’s really touching.

  21. Kelly says:

    It’s a little awkward, but not in the “mom and dad have us dressed as disco balls” or whatever. It’s more like something they could chuckle over later, but i think it’s sweet and she could’ve done worse (as others have said, ‘anniversaire’ is birthday in french and has a few variations) in what banner she chose (aka… IT’S A BOY or something)

  22. Patrick says:

    Nothing awkward about this .. I think it’s very sweet. :)

  23. Emily says:

    My husband once got a happy birthday great-grandson card, for Christmas. I think his great-grandparents just saw a “great-grandson” card and figured it would work…

  24. yokozbornak says:

    Sweet enough to make me tear up a little.

  25. Starman says:

    Adding to the language pool:
    Feliz Anniverasario = Happy Birthday in Portuguese (Brazilian).
    They also just say Feliz Niver for short.

  26. Rosy says:

    I think it’s sweet, too!

  27. Hacceber says:

    At least she tried. I think is it very sweet. They will never forget that Birthday.

  28. catherine blair says:

    well, the word anniversary comes from “anniversaire” in French which means birthday or more clearly, a celebration that happens once a year…She was not too far off!

  29. Nika says:

    So, so sweet!!!!!

  30. Mary says:

    (oops, my story was a Christmas story…)

  31. Mary says:

    This reminds me of the year my sister gave us all gift cards with “Happy Hanukkah” on them. She blamed her reading glasses.

  32. Mollie says:

    I think it’s very sweet :)

  33. Tony says:

    Not awkward at all. Just a warm family memory.

  34. scooter says:

    It’s the thought that counts.

  35. king Missle says:

    hahaha that’s awesome!

  36. Blaine says:

    P.S Bon Annivesaire is french for happy birth day

  37. Blaine says:

    Well for thoes who speak french Bon anniversaire is the same as happy anniversary So she didn’t realize she could speak french :P

  38. Debbie Who says:

    I think this is sweet! Not awkward at all.

    • MrsHellbillyHero says:

      I agree!

    • Abi says:

      yeah. its awkward. this happened to me once…. i was buying a birthday banner for my dad’s 50th birthday with my mom when i was younger, and some jokester (or a confused person) switched the banner out with another banner. my mom hung the banner up (and at that time she was getting her glasses replaced. oh NO) and didnt see what it said. when my dad walked in and saw the “sorry” banner……..

  39. James says:

    Truth is she is more right then we are. There is only one birthday, the rest are just an anniversary of our birth. Think ab out it.

  40. Jennifer says:

    Awwwwww!!!!!!! That’s so sweet!!!!!! *love*

  41. Sandra says:

    Well, it IS the anniversary of her birth….

  42. Alice Kaye says:

    Even though it’s the wrong banner, I still think it’s sweet, lol. :)

  43. Gwen says:

    I think that is incredibly sweet!

  44. Becki says:

    I think it’s sweet! Reminds me of the time I got a “Happy Mother’s Day” card from my new-to-America Lao friend. I was 14 and definitely *not* a mother. :)

  45. martha says:

    I love this picture (and, actually if her family was from Korea the sign wouldn’t have been far wrong:the French for Happy Birthday is Bonne Anniversaire).

  46. Lgirl says:

    So totally cute! Better than I’d have done in another language!

  47. Melinda says:

    That’s almost kind of sweet… =)

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