Know What It Says Before You Tattoo It
If there is one thing worse than getting a tattoo that you grow to hate, then it must be getting a tattoo that you think is absolutely perfect right until somebody tells you that it is spelt incorrectly, and/or means something radically different from what you thought it meant. This is something that has happened to more people than enough when they get a tattoo in another language, and even though the majority of the people around them will never be able to tell that it is wrong, for them and the percentage who do know it is at best a standing joke.
The best celebrity examples of this mistake include the tattoo Britney Spears has had on her torso, supposed to depict the Japanese symbol for “mystery”. The perils of poor translation are exemplified perfectly here, for what it actually says is “strange”, which sounds a bit less cool. If you want to get a tattoo of a Japanese symbol, ask someone with a grasp of the language (if you do not have a friend who can read Japanese, ask around on a suitable Internet forum) to translate for you.
Other misspelled foreign language tattoos include David Beckham’s tattoo on his right arm, which spells “Vhictoria” in Hindi. Unfortunately his wife’s name is simply “Victoria”. Hayden Panettiere meanwhile has a tattoo on her back saying “Vivere Senza Rimipianti” – which would mean “live without regrets”, except that regrettably the Italian word for “regrets” is “rimpianti”.