Shalom Life | July 31, 2014

Matt Leblanc Show Botches Attempt at Hebrew

‘Episodes’ relies on faulty Google translation for Jewish tombstone inscription

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: June 14th, 2012 in Culture » TV » News

Matt Leblanc Show Botches Attempt at Hebrew

It appears that reliance on Google translate is to blame for an error on the US television series, Episodes, starring former Friends star Matt Leblanc, which failed in its attempt to properly include Hebrew text on a Jewish tombstone.

In episode three of the show’s second season, which aired in the UK on May 25 and will be shown in the US on July 15, one of the scenes takes places in a cemetery and a Jewish grave is visible in the background, clearly inscribed in both English and Hebrew letters.

However, as Israeli blogger Shahar Golan noticed, the Hebrew inscription just didn’t seem right.

“At first the Hebrew words did not make any sense, until I realized the letters were in reverse order: left to right, instead of right to left,” he wrote. “Then I realized that even when read in the right direction, the words, while in Hebrew, sounded like a machine-translated version of English phrases.”

Golan entered the words, “Beloved husband and father, dearly missed,” on Google translate, and sure enough, the translation matched what the Hebrew inscription from the show would have read had it been written in the proper order.


Screenshot of Google translation. Photo: FRGDR.COM

The only other problem however, is the usual poor quality of internet-generated translations.

“Someone might say ‘he will be dearly missed’ but its literal translation to Hebrew comes out as ‘he was pickled at great expense,’” Golan wrote on his blog, FRGDR.COM.

Someone at set design couldn’t find a Jew to save his life and decided to wing it. Which begs the question: Aren’t we running this joint?” he added jokingly.

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