Home Depot In Need Of Spanish Translator, Proofreader

Mike found this sign in the carpet section of a New Jersey Home Depot. The portion below the boldface type under the second bullet point highlights the fact that the sign could have used one last look before the person in charge of sign proofing gave it the thumbs-up.

The true victims here are the poor Spanish-only speaking shoppers at that particular Home Depot, who can only wonder what that first sentence of gibberish means as they try to read up on the lifetime stain warranty.


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  1. samonela says:

    Cue the “Signs in multiple languages are ruining America” discussion…and GO!

    • jaya9581 says:

      Why is it so much to ask that people who want to live here learn the language?

      Not trying to be snarky just wondering why you apparently don’t agree.

      • Nick1693 says:

        Because the United States doesn’t have an official language.

        • FuzzyWillow says:

          Its funny how conservatives who do not want their government in their life all of a sudden want the Gov’t to tell them what language to speak. To me that is more intrusion than is necessary if you ask me.

          If I want to speak pig latin so be it. perhaps some day in the future someone will invent some new language that is real cool and everyone wants to use it – but if English is the official language, we’ll need to petition the gov’t?!?

          • Bsamm09 says:

            Why do you assume he is a conservative or are you just making a generalization? (I am a Libertarian/conservative and I agree with your previous posts about gov’t intrusion and HD is a business so they can use whatever language they want.)

      • FuzzyWillow says:

        You can ask all you want – doesn’t mean they have to.

        Home Depot is making a business decision to provide information in spanish because more and more the people using their products do not speak english as their first language.

        They want to make a sale, this helps them do it – end of story – its none of your business.

        • diagoro says:

          Actually, it is my business. Who do you think pays for all the extra printing???? Ever notice how manuals are always at least english/spanish? How all the signs are now in both languages? You don’t think at least twice as much printing creates an extra expense?

          It’s also more difficult to find a job, since many of these stores are trending to hire those that speak both english and spanish. So now I have to learn a foreign language just to get a job IN MY OWN COUNTY!

          So yes, it is my business, and the business of any other American who says it is. Than again, it’s Home Depot we’re talking about, known mostly for catering/harboring all the illegals/day laborers that congregate outside their stores.

      • samonela says:

        While I can understand both sides of the debate, I tend to lean a bit more toward the “American English really should be adopted as the official language” crowd. I am of Hispanic descent myself and while growing up, my grandparents (the first generation of my family born here) instilled just how important it is to gain mastery of the English language.

        I also understand that English is not an easy language to master if it is your second language (or first language for some people *sigh*). However, it is also important for those that come to this country with the hope that they might improve their situation, that learning the language that the majority of the citizens speak is key to the level of success that one can achieve.

        If I were to decide to move to France, in my mind it doesn’t seem very fair for me to have an expectation of the French to accommodate for me because I don’t speak their language – regardless of how widespread my native language may be in their society. If I want to succeed, I’d better start learning French and not expect my kids to translate or for the society to gradually incorporate English into all of their signage and media.

        Although I will admit that as a business decision, if you want to reach out to a particular market, you gotta do what your gotta do…

        • Kate says:

          why would anyone assume that the reason Home Depot has Spanish sign is because (duh duh duh) a customer demanded it. Or more sanely, because they felt it would help their sales to make people who couldn’t speak English easily, more comfortable with Spanish signs explaining things for them.


    • TasteyCat says:

      We don’t need no signs in multiple languages. What are we, Canada?

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      “Cue the “Signs in multiple languages are ruining America” discussion…and GO!”
      Okay, I’ll take up that challenge:

      If one language can have everything made so easy for them that they never have to learn the language of the country they have decided to live in, why not all? Why not print all signs in not only Spanish, but also French, German, Yiddish, ad infinitum… Why discriminate?

      There are nearly 7000 languages in the world ( http://www.unesco.org/culture/languages-atlas/ ), should any one group be special?

      • Eviile says:

        The chances of someone who speaks only yiddish walking into your store are much lower than someone who speaks only spanish. People who can’t read signs don’t purchase many things. The cost of adding in an occasional translation is cheap in comparison to the additional revenue received. There is diminishing returns in adding additional languages, and not all additional languages offer increased revenue or sales.

        • stevied says:

          The cost of adding in an occasional translation is cheap in comparison to the additional revenue received. There is diminishing returns in adding additional languages, and not all additional languages offer increased revenue or sales.

          Bull Crap. I make $100 on a widget. I will pay $250 for a professional translator

          (cause if I make a mistake on the translation of a UL electrical appliance the lawsuit for wrongful death is going to be huge)

          Oh, and I might sell two widgets (during the 12 month product life) to somebody incapable of speaking my language.

      • Im Just Saying says:

        I agree with your point but I disagree with your logic. Companie don’t print the signs in multiple languages to be PC, they do it to maximize their potential customer base. It’s market capitalism at it’s root.

  2. florsie says:

    I was in Texas recently and I saw many translation mistakes not only in stores but in product packages. Some of them are truly hilarious like Diaper Soft Cloths translated as El Pañal Telas Suaves (which means THE DIAPER soft cloths.) whereas it should only be “Tela de Pañal”.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      Lots of Spanish translations get botched up when the noun and adjective aren’t switched. there is a mexican restaurant near my parents called “Loco Perro” It should be “Perro Loco”.

      I think the owners realize that most people know perro means dog and loco means crazy, but don’t know about reversing noun and adjective, so rather than have people think “the dog crazy” they just do it wrong.

      They also haven’t updated their website since the late ’90s, but that’s another issue: http://locoperro.com/

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    I once saw “FUR” lumber for sale at Home Despot. I should have bought a few board feet and claimed a new species in my name.

  4. wrjohnston91283 says:

    I was in South Korea in 2009, and some of the English there was awful. “Please remove so it does not cause the safe problem” (in reference to a toothpick in a burger) and “The phone aut ormatically conects to the Airport Information Counter”. All they needed was an English speaker to say “try again”. didn’t have to be someone who spoke Korean as well, just someone who knew enough English to realize “the safe problem” and “aut ormatically” probably aren’t what they were going for.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      This is why the UN requires interpreters to translate into their native language rather than out of.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Oh, man… I got a 7 band radio yesterday (that coincidentally, doesn’t work!) with the absolute worst English “instructions” imaginable. Prime comedy!

      • gman863 says:

        Translation: “Ugly American who share credit income number to long own similar to high definition audio sound box find reproductive performance to have impotence.”

    • Azzizzi says:

      Yeah, but this is a proofreader fail rather than a translation fail. It reminds me of the one in Europe somewhere where a sign was supposed to say “Bridge out” or something, but instead said, “Out of office autoreply” (or something like that).

    • FuzzyWillow says:

      You probably wouldn’t want to visit this site then…


  5. Megladon says:

    I thought the spanish only speaking people were in the bushes next to the HD, they shouldn’t care about warranty’s.

  6. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    The fact that many can’t speak English properly only makes the Spanish translations even worse.

  7. Willy_HSV says:

    You know what… This is America and the oficial language is English (at least the last time I checked). Forget the multi-language signs. Learn English or GTFO!

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      We don’t have an “oficial” language.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      I’m sorry, but the USA has no official language. Very, very, sorry.

    • FuzzyWillow says:

      Sorry I give you a only a 1.1 out of 10 on the troll scale. You lost major points for making obviously false statements.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        “the last time I checked” , let me translate that for you: “I’ve never checked.”

    • TasteyCat says:

      It isn’t. It should be. Anybody refusing to learn even passable English is just limiting themselves.

    • youbastid says:

      You haven’t done much traveling outside the country have you? Every other country I’ve been to has signs posted in their “official language” as well as English. People there don’t seem to mind, even though their country actually HAS an official language and we don’t.

    • faislebonchoix says:

      Actually, we should call it American. That’s how other countries name their languages even when they’re very similar to their neighbors’ languages.

    • Conformist138 says:

      No official language, no official religion… The whole *point* of freedom, is, you know, freedom. It goes to the “I disagree with what you do/say, but I will support your right to do/say it”.

      And note, no company is *forced* to put signs in multiple languages, they do it because it makes them money to have a wider customer base. So, even if English was the official language, it wouldn’t force non-English speakers to leave and it would violate every idea of private enterprise to make them remove the signs.

  8. Nick1693 says:

    Reminds me of this.

  9. benh999 says:

    Does it matter? The “No Loitering” signs are written properly in Spanish and seem to be ineffective.

  10. HomeDepotInfo says:

    Thanks for pointing this out, we are looking into it now. In the meantime, talented proofreaders are encouraged to apply to join our team anytime! http://careers.homedepot.com. Thanks consumerist and Reader Mike!
    Sarah, The Home Depot
    Twitter @homedepot

    • B* says:

      FYI, this may be an error post-proofreading. As a proofreader, I often write notes like these for the person after me (usually the editor). Looks like someone missed this note.

    • Hoot says:

      That’s amusing. How many other companies think this site is worthy enough to have their own account on here? This obvious “oops” moment story is hardly worth it, but props if you’re actually officially representing Home Depot.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        They apper to be on the up-and-up. Looks like Sarah has made posts here before. Kudos to Home Depot for paying attention!

        Now if only Comcast and others would get onboard…

  11. KPS2010 says:

    no ingles no care

  12. bben says:

    I once worked for a Swiss company that translated all documentation into 7 languages, Their English translations were always perfect. The documentation included technical documents relating to electronics, mechanical, pneumatic and safety. Currently I work with a German made motor control. The English documentation is sometimes completely incomprehensible – because it was written by a native German who actually speaks very good English. And much Asian/English technical documentation is pure gibberish.

    The Swiss company hired a native English speaking proofreader who was also an Engineer. I assume they hired native proofreaders for their other languages.

  13. sufreak says:

    I’m an immigrant and I fully believe that we need to adopt English (and maybe another language) as our national languages. It gives us a common method of communication and identity.

    Teaching and learning OTHER languages is a wonderful thing, but English is the established language.

  14. Press1forDialTone says:

    English – the primary language of America and you must learn to
    speak it clearly and intelligently or go away even if you’re an American
    already – problem solved. Next problem….illegal immigration…

  15. Press1forDialTone says:

    And another thing…
    I am sick of skipping endlessly over Spanish language
    channels on the Comcast onscreen menu and I’m not talkin’
    my favorites list just the standard 4 item per scrolling menu.
    I don’t speak Spanish yet (will probably learn it though) and
    for now I want a away to customize that standard menu. Why do
    I want this. Because every digital set-top box Comcast gives me
    LOSES MY FAVORITES LIST. Sorry about caps. They won’t do
    anything but give me another box (supposedly new, hah! with the
    latest firmware) but it still loses the list!!! And I only have one other
    choice, the toxically bad AT&T Uverse.

    • mommiest says:

      Sorry about the problem with Comcast, but when you want to learn Spanish, watching Spanish channels will help you. I knew Americans in France who learned French watching Canal Plus.

      I wish I could get French channels in French where I live.

  16. Intheknow says:

    I work with the public every single day – entering handwritten data online supplied by supposedly English-speaking individuals. Fully 90% or more of the time their grammar, punctuation, and spelling are so bad that I have to spend several minutes per paragraph just to figure out what they’re TRYING to say. BTW, these are people who are applying for money, so you would think they would try a little harder to make sure their communication can be understood. I’m constantly amazed at the ignorance of people of their own first language. They don’t seem to be able to understand that the average state employee is not going to make any effort whatsoever to unscramble the mess and they will be summarily denied – Just because they either can’t make the effort or are just plain illiterate!

    • diagoro says:

      That’s more a result of a failing school system than anything else. Allowing students to pass (if they even graduate) to continue on.

    • webweazel says:

      Agreed. I’ve seen some mighty mangling over the years.

      It’s “clothes” not “cloths”. It’s “chest of drawers” not “chester drawers”. It’s “A historic” not “AN historic”. That doesn’t even roll off the tongue right. And when in the hell did “ask” become “axd”? That one really gets my fur up.

  17. evilpete says:

    What about the poor English speaking shoppers when the products come with Spanish only labels

  18. damicatz says:

    Home Depot needs to stop catering to illegal immigrants (I mean, come on, it’s a well known fact that day labourers love to hang out around these stores trying to pick up work; I’ve seen it personally).

    This is America, we speak English. If I go to Mexico, I expect to be have to speak Spanish because Spanish is the official language of Mexico. In fact, in order to immigrate to Mexico, I have to pass a Spanish test. If I immigrate to France, I have to pass a French test.

  19. diagoro says:

    I see two types of ‘immigrant’ (legal and illegal) in terms of language. One sees English as the gateway to the American dream. They make an effort and don’t rely on the huge infrastructure of native language resources.

    The other views English as a mere obstacle. There are many illegals that believe they will be here a short time than return home, why learn the language?! Or, they can rely fully on those in their community that speak the same language, teach their children said language (and later rely on them for translating issues), and never stray from their comfort zone.

    Most Americans are understanding of language difficulties when coming here. Most of my friends have immigrated here and speak several languages. My ex is Korean, and her parents made sure the first thing they did when coming here was to learn the language. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been if I could never had any real communication/interaction with them (we were married). But it seems the second group holds their primary allegiance to the home country, regardless of life situation or plans. Failing to EVEN TRY and learn shows a complete disregard for the chance to start a new life (regardless of legal status). It’s just another form of ‘foreign flag waving’……but than, many Mexican’s (to single out one group of many) are taught, and believe, that the southwest US still belongs to Mexico……