Lost in Translation: A Tribute to Terrible T-Shirts

In Naples, English-speaking locals are as few and far between as blind race car drivers. But just like adding pineapple to pizza and watering down espresso, we Americans have found yet another way to violently assert our American-ness on Italian culture in the form of fashion. I am referring to the six or seven examples of Hard Rock Cafe paraphernalia you see walking the streets on a daily basis, as well as countless examples of bastardized English slogans tossed carelessly onto fabric and displayed in ignorant bliss on the torsos of Napolitano people throughout the city. Here is a collection of the most cringe-worthy English t-shirt phrases that I actually saw, with my own eyes.

  • “I Hate Mountain”Is this a specific mountain? Did this mountain flirt with you and then sleep with your sister? Did this mountain contribute to global warming? What kind of irreversible scars could Mountain have left on you that caused you to broadcast your hatred for it/him/her?

  • “Keepin it fucking sick!” : The cargo shorts completing this outfit told another story.

  • “Cash Only”: This was worn by a teenage girl. Please, for the love of God, don’t tell me which services this applies to.

  • “DEN I’M WE’RE FABRIC WEAR”  Just…??????

  • “Wish I Were Here”: You ARE here. You are wearing the shirt. The shirt is wherever you are!

  • “COCAINE!” : I can’t pretend like this was a language barrier issue. This guy knew exactly what the shirt said, and willingly chose to wear it. A moment of silence for this person.

And my personal favorite:

  • “Pick-up with Thumbs”: Either this is from an instructional manual on how to play with Legos or a description of a very rare and highly evolved truck.

If these are common Italian phrases translated into English, I must plead ignorance. But I find it highly unlikely that the phrase “I hate mountain” comes up in everyday conversation in any culture. But who knows. Maybe there are Americans out there walking around with the Italian translation of “Anal Fissures” on their t-shirts. Moral of the story: Google translate is your friend. Check before you buy, people.

Emily Corrigan

Emily prepared for her travels in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands this summer in a Rocky-esque training montage: speed-eating croissants, running up hills wearing comfortable walking sandals, and bench pressing her 30-liter Osprey travel backpack. However, she realized the intense training may be getting to her when she drop-kicked a box of macarons off the Eiffel Tower, injuring three. For the rest of the summer, she recovered by playing chess with nice Flemish people. She ate frites. She took a silly yet endearing picture intentionally missing the point of the Louvre pyramid with her finger. She is now fully rehabilitated.