Getting a tattoo is a serious decision: you want it to look great and to reflect your inner values. So it’s natural that you want it to come out perfect. However, tattoos in foreign languages sometimes have a tendency to… backfire. Especially if they’re in Chinese or Japanese and you don’t happen to know either language!
When one internet user asked redditors who speak the 2 languages what the dumbest thing they’ve seen tattooed on someone was, the floodgates opened. Scroll down for the best responses and get ready to giggle like a gaggle of geese. Remember to upvote your faves!
Bored Panda spoke to Japanese language expert and member of the VMU Japanese club Hashi Kotryna Kvietkauskaitė about getting tattoos in a foreign language. Read on for our exclusive interview and some great advice to keep in mind if you ever plan to get a tattoo with Japanese or Chinese symbols!
We’re also pretty sure that you’ll want some more hilarious foreign tattoo stories after reading this list. So be sure to check out our earlier article about people who are fluent in Chinese or Japanese sharing tales of the worst tattoos they’ve seen.
While Kotryna said that she has yet to personally see a similar tattoo in real life, she’s read plenty of similar stories on the internet. According to her, if a tourist visits Asia and gets a tattoo that turns out to be dumb or a random string of words, it’s usually the visitor who’s at fault.
“The person in question might have done something to offend the tattoo artist. Either that or they’re so convinced of their own personal interpretation of what the symbols mean that the tattoo artist feels helpless to ask if the person understands what the tattoo really means,” Kotryna told Bored Panda.
She had some useful advice for anyone who’s thinking of getting a tattoo in any foreign language (especially Japanese and Chinese). “Find a friend who knows the language. Let them check the meaning of the words or phrases you want to get tattoos of, whether they mean what you think they mean.”
Kotryna added: “Not all tattoo artists in the West know Asian languages and they might not be able to tell you that a particular phrase isn’t correct.”
“Asian languages, especially Chinese and Japanese, work differently than we’re used to. Two words combined together don’t always mean what you think,” she said, referring to Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” tattoo that actually means “Barbeque Grill.” Ariana later unsuccessfully tried to fix the tattoo and it now says "Japanese Barbeque Finger."