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Lost in translation: what are the greatest April Fool’s translation jokes of all time?

What is April Fool’s Day?

People have been having fun with language and word play since the beginning of time, and April Fools’ Day gives tricksters the perfect excuse to get creative.

The first day of April is recognized pretty much worldwide as a time to play pranks on your friends, neighbours and colleagues. The mass media have also got involved in more recent years.

For most European and some Asian countries, April 1st is the day when you should be on high alert for jokers.

Spain, Mexico and most other Spanish speaking countries have a similar day. El Dia de los Santos Inocentes (Day of the Holy Innocents) is held on the 28th December and has its origins in the New Testament.

Where does the April Fool tradition come from?

The short answer: nobody knows.

It is speculated that it dates back to the renewal festivals of Roman times when everyone would become giddy with the anticipation of Spring and would deliberately do things the wrong way around, for example, children could boss their parents about for the day!

What are the funniest translation pranks?

· In 2010, Google Translate claimed they had created an app that could translate what your pets were saying to you.

· Duolingo ‘released’ a $99 pillow in 2016, which they said could help you learn a language overnight.

· An American newspaper reported that the website for the city of Burlington, Vermont, had provided readers with the option to translate its text into emojis. This also occurred in 2016 – it must’ve been a funny year!

It’s always heartwarming when you can find an activity that unites people on a global scale; even when we speak different languages, we all speak the language of laughter. Follow our blog for more interesting language news!

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