Are We Doomed to Engrish Packaging? (NSFW)

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English is the hardest language in the world to learn. That’s why I have such respect for those who can learn and speak English, usually better than me can. It’s odd that English would be chosen the international language for air traffic controllers and pilots who travel the globe. Almost every country teaches their school aged children English as a second language while American school children are usually stuck with Franch, Sponish or Germoing for two years in high school where study ethics and drive excel, right behind texting, which is a language unto itself, although it’s found its way onto résumés.

The biggest problem with English is that one word can mean several different things. You bomb a city and a comedian can bomb in front of an audience. It’s there, their and they’re, you’re and your and  even yore.

As with the importance of proofreading, making sure every stroke in a kanji is absolutely correct and basic quality control, other language packaging is a delicate balance of screwing up a whole lot and complete disaster. So how do we end up with Engrish? In the United States, many manufacturers save on packaging by using English French (for the French-Canadian market) and Spanish (for the Latin and American-Latino market). The result is ten pounds of copy in a five pound bag. Companies are very careful to make sure not only the language is correct but that it’s written in a conversational way with proper colloquialisms. With all of that in mind, Engrish was born!

It’s really all about being cheap and not hiring an American to help. So, here’s how to save money and ruin your packaging!

I’ve Tasted This Somewhere Before…

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I don’t want a tour of the factory!

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Only? I guess that makes it organic, so that’s okay!

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A Labrador with a twist of Shih Tzu, shaken, not stirred!

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It’s Belgian but from Uranus? How does that… oooooh!

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Only if it’s chilled.

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It’s just like Life cereal, it just reminds us that life is poo. What a way to start your day!

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Eventually, yes, that will happen.

Packaged Cannibalism

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Burger King does have different menu items around the world, catering to different cultures.

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350 grams! That’s… frightening!

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The bird or the action?

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It’s due to the shape and length. Country of origin left off as a case of national pride.

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Is that a 100% chicken head on the front?

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Maybe it’s just an exclamation and not a flavor?

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Hasn’t it always been?

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Well… um, it has horses on it, which may make it even worse!

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Relax! If it was Shredded Child Meat THEN you could go nuts.

Live, Breath and Eat Diversity

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Translation: “Like the texture of this snack chip corn these men like it rough”

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But what if a straight person is hungry?

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But what if a straight person is thirsty?

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But what if a… I guess just buy it!

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The days my great-grandfather spoke of.

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Special vitamins?

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The Bertolli company decided “what-the-hell!” as the gay-bashing comments boycott lasted only a week.

Violence and Death Packaging

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Available in the new lead-lined container!

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Don’t bring this into your home!

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I’ve heard this practice promoted health benefits but thought they had it branded a bit better than “Urinal.”

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They actually sound PROUD of themselves. BASTARDS!

For more fun with Engrish signs, packaging and other international foibles, check out Engrish.com.

Speider Schneider

Speider Schneider is a former member of The Usual Gang of Idiots at MAD Magazine and has designed products for Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., Harley-Davidson, ESPN, Mattel, DC and Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon among other notable companies. Speider is a former member of the board for the Graphic Artists Guild, co-chair of the GAG Professional Practices Committee and a former board member of the Society of Illustrators. Follow him on Twitter @speider

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