December 4, 2020

Time to vote for the Worst Dutch Slogans of 2020

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 3:04 pm

Regardless of the state the world’s in, some things march on, and one of those things is voting on the worst Dutch slogans of 2020.

There are 10 in the running, but let’s pick the raisins out of the porridge, as the Dutch would say. And if you follow the link below, you can cast your vote as well.

First, the obligatory dirty joke that’s surprisingly not misogynistic, from animal protection group Gaia: ‘Laat je poesje knippen voor ze begint te wippen’ (roughly, ‘Get your pussy fixed before they start reproducing’, but rhyming and a bit funnier. ‘Wippen’ here is Dutch for ‘having sex’ and amusingly enough it means ‘see-sawing’, which the Dutch associate with the act.

Then, there’s the quintessential ‘poop and fart’ joke, from Rennie, pills that help against flatulence and stomach acid: ‘Liefde maakt blind, maar je neus ruikt nog steeds een wind’ (roughly, ‘Love is blind, but your nose can still smell a wind’. Sadly, ‘blind’ (blind) and wind (wind/fart) rhyme in Dutch, but not in English.

And there’s always the Dunglish joke, that you need to know Dutch and English to understand, and that would be ‘O my goot…’ (‘oh my gutter…’) from a roofing company. ‘Goot’ is Dutch for ‘gutter’, and of course the slogan is trying to say ‘Oh my God’ in English, which in Dutch would be ”Mijn God’, with ‘God’ and ‘goot’ sounding very similar.

UPDATE: ‘Laat je poesje knippen voor ze begint te wippen’ from animal organisation Gaia won.


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December 10, 2018

Cheesiest slogans of 2018 are up for vote

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 4:57 pm

It’s that time again, time for cringeworthy bad slogans, and much like in 2016 (see link below), we’ve got a fun one in the running from a barbershop in Laren: ‘We do women, but we don’t cut their hair’ (‘We doen wel vrouwen maar knippen ze niet’). It started as a joke that their male clients and female friends thought was funny, and it kind of stuck.

And in the running, there’s always a construction-related business as always, with ‘Don’t fuck around yourself, call Ronald Schutte!’ (‘Ga niet zelf kutte, bel Ronald Schutte’). My rough translation of ‘kutte’ is basically ‘fuck around’, but in this case, it’s a verb made from the noun for female genitalia that indicates the same thing and even rhymes.

Last but not least, there’s ‘For every arse, there’s an Aarts toilet’, (‘Voor ieder reetje een Aarts W.C’tje’). Once again, the word ass ‘reet/reetje’ [diminutive] rhymes with W.C’tje’ [diminutive for toilet aka water closet = WC], the name of the company.

And you can vote here.

See also: Cheesiest business slogans of the year 2016. and Cheesiest slogans of 2017 up for vote.

UPDATE: ‘We do women, but we don’t cut their hair’ took the win, with ‘Ga niet zelf kutte, bel Ronald Schutte’ winning second place and ‘Voor ieder reetje een Aarts W.C’tje’ taking third place. Read the rest.


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September 11, 2018

The Duck Guy’s book available in German

Filed under: Animals,Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Kees Moeliker, ornithologist and curator of the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam, who was awarded an IgNobel back in 2003 — the tongue-in-cheek awards of Improbable Research — for writing about “The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard”, has recently had his book ‘De eendenman’ (The Duck Guy’, or Man) translated into German.

Not only is “Der Entenmann: Von Spatzenklöten, aussterbenden Filzläusen und nekrophilen Enten. Mysteriöse Todesfälle aus dem Tierreich” now available to the German-savvy population, the book is presented here by Moeliker himself in German.

Also known as ‘The Duck Guy’, Moeliker does give talks in English, but his book has yet to be translated into English or anything else than German at this point. However, if you’re in the Netherlands, you can visit the preserved remains of one of the ducks at the museum. The best time to visit is on June 5, when the museum and the city of Rotterdam celebrate Dead Duck Day, on the anniversary of the incident, involving two ducks and a glass wall.

UPDATE: Video now in Dutch.


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July 25, 2018

German series to be dubbed into Dutch, first time

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 2:42 pm

For anyone living in the Netherlands who watches Dutch television, it’s not news that all kinds of American, Canadian and other foreign series are subtitled in Dutch instead of being dubbed over. And in Germany, they dub over everything.

For the first time ever, Dutch broadcaster NPO will dub a German series for adults into Dutch. The reason I mention ‘for adults’ is because the only dubbed programs on Dutch television are cartoons for children. Subtitling is cheaper.

The German-Luxembourg series ‘Bad Banks’ (yup, English title) happens to feature British-born Dutch actor Barry Atsma in a main role, which means he gets to dub himself in Dutch, the only actor able to do so, as much of the cast is German-speaking from Germany and Austria.

As well, many things had to be left in English and French, which apparently makes the whole experience sound like a language course. Then again, if I can watch Norwegian series like ‘Okkupert’ (‘Occupied’) with Norwegian spoken, some English, French and Russian with Spanish subtitles, then Bad Banks should be fine. And if this experiment works out, the NPO will dub more series. It’s interesting to read that they will have the money to do so.

In the late 1980s, Québec series ‘He Shoots, He Scores’ (‘Lance et compte’) was filmed in both French and English, the first television series to air simultaneously in English and French on Canadian television. They would shoot one scene in French and then shoot it again in English with the same actors.

Here’s the international trailer (NSFW) for Bad Banks:


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December 11, 2017

Cheesiest slogans of 2017 up for vote

Filed under: Animals,General by Orangemaster @ 11:52 am

Yes, 2016 had a real winner with ‘Zit je haircut’. Pronounce ‘hair’ in English and ‘cut’ (‘kut’) in Dutch, the latter being the word for what the Brits call the ‘c-bomb’, but in this case means ‘shitty’.

Here are some contenders for the ‘Worst Business Slogans of 2017’: ‘Voor iedere gleuf een doos’ (Moniss packing materials, Lelystad), which is ‘For every slit (possibly, tab), there’s a box’. The problem is that ‘gleuf’ is slang for female genitalia and so is ‘box’. For the advance students, it might remind you a bit of this song by Herman Brood. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s ‘Wees geen domme gans, steun de Dierenambulance!’ (Animal ambulance, Amsterdam), which translates as ‘Don’t be a silly goose, support the animal ambulance!’. It rhymes in Dutch and has a cheesy, family-friendly animal pun.

And there’s always the aural squinting, where you have to read one word in Dutch and one word in English to make the joke work that in fact doesn’t work at all. In that category, there’s ‘Haring is caring’, from the herring monger at camping Bakkum near Amsterdam. ‘Haring’ (herring) is then pronounced in Dutch ‘HA-ring’, which doesn’t rhyme with ‘caring’ in English. In fact, ‘Herring is caring’ would have been less fishy.

The winners will be announced later this week.


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June 29, 2016

Dunglish fest on major Dutch online shop

Filed under: Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:54 am

It’s true that many non-Dutch people don’t buy from Dutch online shop because their products are often more expensive than ‘that other website we all use’ and it’s all in Dutch. However, is currently beta testing an English version of their site, which is a total Dunglish fest done using Microsoft, and so far it’s crap. Instead of hiring proper translators, would rather be a laughing stock and insult its non-Dutch customers. I can’t wait for them to make a French version.

I barely got past the disclaimer: “ uses cookies (and similar techniques) to visit and shop at for you even easier and more personal. These cookies can we and third parties your internet behavior within and possibly outside our website. This allows us and third parties modify ads to your interests and you can share information through social media. By using this website, you go.” Using American English spelling and in other places British terms is a classic mistake as well.

– There’s a “Baby, Child & Mama” section, which sounds like a lost soul-funk number.
– “Products for every day: The sharpest drugstore and animal actions”. Ouch.

Go have a laugh. Remember they can’t be arsed to hire humans to do this, but I’m sure they have real staff for their programming, accounts and shipping. As they said themselves, “Please bear with us, we do not have it under the knee yet.”

(Link:, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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December 7, 2014

Special specs with live subtitles for hard of hearing

Filed under: Technology by Orangemaster @ 8:44 pm


Together with the help of engineer Michiel van Overbeek who himself is hard of hearing language researcher Niels Schiller of Leiden University developed a pair of glasses that provides live subtitles during one-on-one conversations. The glasses display the translated conversation on the inside of the glass with a delay of some hundred milliseconds per word and at a rate of 172 words a minute. Film subtitling, which is commonplace in the Netherlands, runs at 120 to 160 words a minute.

Schiller claims this could really change the daily lives of people who are deaf and hard of hearing, especially the elderly who are not eligible for a cochlear implant and who have issues learning sign language. After testing the glasses, their comprehension went from 25% of a conversation to between 70% and 85%.

However, just like other translation devices, the glasses still get it wrong quite a bit and the speech recognition microphone doesn’t always work the way it should. Schiller points out that like when using autocorrect on an app, the person with the glasses on has to correct some words within the context. In the future, the glasses could be used when visiting a foreign country where a person can’t speak the language, and place a light on the outside of them so the person talking knows when the translation has been completed.

I trust a lot of issues have to be addressed: what happens when the wearer already wears glasses? Durability? Price? Quality of speech recognition in busy and loud places? And there’s nothing wrong sign language although the Dutch have five sign language dialects.


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May 30, 2014

Gas extraction reports should be available in Dutch

Filed under: Literature,Science by Orangemaster @ 8:15 am

A group of residents from Groningen are demanding that Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs translate all English-language reports about gas extraction, something that concerns many home owners, into Dutch. Besides the reports being in English — and who knows what the quality of those reports are — the scientific language in them is probably difficult to understand. Should the minister ignore their request, the group plans to take their complaint to court.

First of all, I wouldn’t trust the original report linguistically or otherwise, knowing that the goal is to make it look like it’s safe to extract gas when houses have been known to show cracks in their foundations up in Groningen. Second, the average Dutch person probably can’t truly and fully understand these reports in English and it is safe to assume they would not understand the Dutch version either, at least not 100%. Third, if the original were to be quickly translated into Dutch, the quality of the text will only deteriorate.

Out of principle the Dutch should have the right to read public documents in their own language, and the argument of ‘pfff, everybody understands English’ is not true at all, especially if they are older. It’s that kind of overconfident attitude, which often remains unchallenged, that keeps me and other natives in business in the first place.


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March 14, 2013

24oranges celebrates Russia -The Netherlands 2013

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 12:42 pm

In addition to a year chocked full of serious cultural activities that feature the Russian-Dutch connection, 24oranges proudly presents some articles you might have missed that have a bit of the Russian soul in them as well:

1. ’50 years of human space flight’ out now

Dutch-Canadian writer Steve Korver has this obssession with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin that will suck you in as well.

2. Russian goes free thanks to Google translation error

It reads like a bad Russian joke and it reminds us all that a real translator beats a human being any day of the week.

3. Dutch Eurovision entry: cultural suicide

Dutch Eurovision’s entry in 2010 was a flop from the get-go and mentioned Leningrad, which was the name of the Russian city of Saint-Petersburg between 1924 and 1991.

4. Hiddink not happy with vodka named after him

We have lots of vodka-related stories, but this one was a good one. Hiddink’s spokesperson said that he never wanted to be associated with tobacco, alcohol or sex, so I guess that means vodka as well.

5. Maybe the Dutch king should have a beard

Once you get past the actual story, there’s a nice educational bit about Peter The Great taxing men with beards and his historical role in changing the Russian alphabet.

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August 18, 2010

Russian goes free thanks to Google translation error

Filed under: Online,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:24 am

A Russian trucker in Dordrecht involved in a bar brawl was released because the summons he received was poorly translated from Dutch into Russian using Google translate. When the trucker was being questioned at the police station, he had a Russian interpreter and claimed to have understood what he had to do, although he never signed the summons.

The Russian interpreter showed up in court, but not the trucker. She was asked to then translate what was written in the summons. Instead of (here I am translating this from Dutch) ‘you are to appear in court on 3 August 2010’, it went more like ‘you have to avoid being in court on 3 August 2010’. In Dutch, ‘vóórkomen’, with the stress on the first syllable, means ‘to appear’, while ‘voorkómen’ means ‘to prevent’.

With Google translate, the Dutch infinitive verb ‘voorkomen’ (no way to indicate which of the two identically spelled verbs you want translated) still today produced the infinitive verb ‘to prevent’ ‘предотвращать’ (imperfective aspect) and not even a hint of the perfective aspect of the same verb, ‘предотвратить’. In any decent dictionary both aspects are given so people can use the right one.

In Russian, if you pronouce the perfective verb ‘to write’ ‘написать’ with the wrong stress, you’re pissing instead of writing, so yes, stress matters.


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