Why I might have to get a misspelt tattoo

Not long after I started my current job I was on break and one of my coworkers had a new tattoo poking out from her sleeve. Conversation turned to tattoos and people compared theirs. I showed off my own ink, and the girl showed a couple of hers.

On her upper arm was a text piece which looked a bit off. It turned out to be a drunken tattoo done on holiday and meant to be “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King.


Words to live by

The only problem was that it actually says “Hahuna Matata”. She explained that she knew this and, to be fair, she was pretty cool with it, so lived up to the motto she’d wanted.

I’d half forgotten about this when I caught sight of another coworker’s ink, and it was more writing. This time I couldn’t see the whole thing just the last word, and I tried to guess what language it was.

Luckily, they moved just as I was about to ask about it, and I saw the rest, which was in a language I recognised.

It was Welsh.

I hadn’t recognised it because it was misspelt, with two of the letters the wrong way around. I wondered if he knew this. Should I tell him?

I decided not to. I don’t know the guy that well and I didn’t want to embarrass the dude.

But really, this is Wales, wouldn’t someone have seen the error? If you don’t speak Welsh why go for the language, when the same idea is expressed in other languages? A Spanish or French misspelling would be bad on holidays but lots of Welsh folks could pick up on the error now.

Or couldn’t he or the artist have Googled the spelling? When I decided to get a tattoo that included a foreign language (Latin) I made sure to properly research it so that (a) it was spelt right and (b) meant what I wanted it to mean.

But as spelling errors in tats are such a trend at work maybe I shouldn’t have bothered? I’d fit in better, or should I just go get someone to mess up a new one?

Hmm, maybe not, my inner pedant means I would drive myself nuts glaring at the offending artwork.

People will want foreign phrases tattooed but you have to make sure you get it right, although it’s more embarrassing to cock up some ink in your native tongue.


Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


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