chocolate for everyone

siirtomuottikonvehditValentine’s Day both loses and gains something in translation. For the Japanese, today is the day when the women give chocolate (and only chocolate) to the men. This is because one chocolate company made a translation mistake, switching the genders, when introducing the feast to Japan in the 1950s. A month later, on White Day, the men return the gift and give chocolates to the women, and the chocolatiers laugh all the way to the bank.

This Valentine’s mishap one of an entertaining round-up of mistranslations that changed the course of history, costing up to 71 million dollars.

But there’s no need to spend quite that much on chocolate today. Especially if you live on the Gulf of Finland. In Finland (Ystävänpäivä) and Estonia (Sõbrapäev), 14 February has been celebrated since the 1980s as Friends’ Day, an altogether more relaxed and inclusive feast. Today, rather than buying chocolates for your woman/man, you might be just as likely to bake your friend a cake.

Happy Friends’ Day!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in translation, Valentine's Day
One comment on “chocolate for everyone
  1. dberry40 says:

    Happy Friends Day to you too! I’d much prefer cheesecake to chocolate right now 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Barańczak Beowulf Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Central Europe Children's Books Children's literature Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Clare Cavanagh Clarice Lispector Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Dari Edinburgh Festival English Estonian Facebook Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French friends gender George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hobbit Hungarian Idioms Illustration international International Translation Day Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Jewish Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin left-handed Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Mirkka Rekola Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Old English Oxford English Dictionary PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Pippi Longstocking Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese pubilc libraries Queer Roald Dahl Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Ryszard Kapuściński Salla Simukka Seamus Heaney Shakespeare Short Stories Slovene Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Terhi Ekebom Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson Translation translator Translators Without Borders Turkey Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on
%d bloggers like this: