Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Beer Bottles Find Medicinal Use

Though the reason for buying these packets of Oral Rehydration Salts at my local pharmacy was lamentable, the packaging design was totally worth the 80 pesewas (about 40 cents US) I spent, absent any health purpose.

Made in Ghana for distribution in West Africa, the graphics are locally-motivated and culturally appropriate.

Directions (click on photo to see larger, more readable version) specify using a beer bottle (a standard size regionally, bigger than the usual US beer bottle) to measure the proper amount of water for mixing.  To a Western mindset this is complete humor, but for local use it's right on - a normal Ghana 'kitchen' is often a space outdoors and won't include marked measuring cups, but the beer bottle is ubiquitous.

Not laughable - the injunction to use clean (i.e. uncontaminated and drinkable) water.  Access to water that is free of contaminants and disease is not a given in this part of the world.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Funnier in Translation

Buying my favorite packaged-for-Europe rice cakes at my local MaxMart grocery store in Accra, I noticed someone had (very helpfully) stuck on a sticker translating the ingredients and the marketing hype.

"Ingredients: 98. % natural brown rice, sesame.  Perhaps check the rice cakes, for example, for breakfast including, as a snack for in between, at home, traveling or at work.  The recipes are as delicious as it manifolds: it tastes better with butter, honey, fruit spreads, curd, cheese, hearty cold cuts, delicious biozentrale spreads or as companion to all kinds of fruity yogurt."

It makes me laugh when I come across such examples of semi-mangled English.  These even wittier for trying (and mostly succeeding) to sound upscale.

Sometimes things are simply funnier in translation.

"…check the rice cakes…" - Check them for what?  Well, if it's my kitchen these days, for ants.

"…as a snack for in between…" - For in between?

"The recipes are as delicious as it manifolds…" - Gotta applaud the random use of "manifolds."

And I love the way "it tastes better with butter" rolls off the tongue.

I must admit that, after photographing the packaging just now, I had a rice cake with some fruity spreads.

Guess I'm a sucker for marketing hype.  Maybe things are tastier in translation, too.