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Twenty years ago, kanji was a staple of tattoo shops and in many cases, neither the client nor the artist could confirm whether the translation was correct. To this day, many collectors continue to gamble with this tattoos, which has led to some pretty funny interactions for those who are fluent in these languages. Reddit took it upon itself to collect some of the funniest tattoo mistranslations from users around the world. Take a peek at their stories in the gallery below, then let us know if you have your own story on social media.


"Took Mandarin in high school. My teacher told us about a woman who had a tattoo of the word "免费"--probably thinking it meant 'free' as in 'free-spirited,' but it actually means free' as in no cost.'"—jesuisunchien


"While stationed in Japan a friend got a tattoo by some random guy outside of base, he wanted some Shinto quote for a prosperous life but instead got the kanji reading something like 'fat fish eat long' the Japanese workers just called him fat fish for the next 3 years... it caught on life fire even random people from other commands knew his nickname." —Axino11


"Guy had '変態外人' on his arm, said it meant 'Lover of Asian Beauty' when in fact it means 'Foreign Pervert.'"—takatori


"I met a girl when I was backpacking in China who knowingly had the characters for 'prostitute' tattooed on her hip - she thought it was funny, and the only people who saw it would be ones she chose to show it to. The Chinese guy who was drinking with us in the hostel was horrified, and suggested that she get another tattoo underneath which said 'only joking.'"—SilentSamamander


"The four elements tattoo with 'Dirt, hot, blow, wet' was pretty funny."—chronocaptive

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"I speak Mandarin, and it works both ways. Here's one in reverse. On the beach in Taiwan I saw a huge - and I mean huge, ripped Taiwanese guy walking on the beach in Hualien with his girlfriend. On his back in black gothic letters, flanked by swords, was the phrase: 'Slut Dude.' Told him it was an interesting choice in behind it? Turned out he thought he was getting a tattoo that said 'Swordsman.' When he found out what it actually said, well...wouldn't want to be that artist."—JimBobBoBubba

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"Colleague of mine wanted his name (Nick) tattooed on his arm in Chinese characters (spoiler: shit don't work that way). To the credit of the artist, the stuff on his arm IS pronounced 'Nígū,' 尼姑. It translates to 'nun."—Ayindar


"Not my story but a friend of mine:

She could read kanji and was in class one day noticing this girl’s tattoo for the first time. Confused she inquired about it: 'What does your tattoo say?'

'High princess.'

Turns out it actually said pig princess."—whereegosdare84


"Dude was so proud of his grandson that he had a tattoo that said 'I love my grandson.'

Except I’m guessing everyone just googled 'I love my grand son' because it came out reading 'I love fat boys.'"—MisterComrade


"I don't know if this was stupid or brilliant but someone had "您有小龍湯圓嗎?"which is respectfully asking if they had soup dumplings. I thought it was really stupid until someone said that they must really like soup dumplings..."—1n1billionAZNsay