All pictures courtesy of Wholesale Clearance

These Unofficial Olympic Guidebooks Are a Hilarious Trainwreck

Rio de Janeiro Humor Art + Architecture
by Albie Hartshill Aug 4, 2016

WHOLESALE CLEARANCE THOUGHT THEY WERE BUYING 50,000 useful language guides for the Olympics in Rio. But when the ‘Unofficial Brazillian Phrase Book For Travel To Major Sporting Events’ arrived, they discovered something: the guides were a complete disaster. They were produced by a firm called Hao de Fanyí Guides, based out of China, and the mistakes were so huge and glaring that they couldn’t in good conscience use the guides.

So they decided to share them online instead. And they are a trainwreck. They wrote on their blog that what they expected from the product was:

• A handy pocket-sized language guide.
• Printed and disposable, ideal in a country where smartphones are at risk of theft.
• Specifically produced for the ‘World Sport Cup’, which is a copyright-sensitive way of saying: ‘Games of the XXXI Olympiad’, or ‘Rio 2016’.
• Expertly illustrated throughout with two adorable cartoon squirrels, inferring a professional attempt at a well-designed booklet.
• Practical sections throughout, including food, travel, emergencies, and sporting phrases.

Instead, what they got was:

• Typos throughout, even in the main title.
• A front cover featuring a football as the sun.
• Translations that appear to be broken Spanish, most likely taken straight from software.
• The Brazilian flag printed upside-down.
• Half-hearted attempts at translations, which seemingly bear no resemblance to Brazilian Portuguese or the equivalent substituted ‘garbled Spanish’.
• Very disturbing content for a family friendly guide- including intimate sexual advice in the ‘relationships’ section, and tips on what to scream during an event of political unrest in the ‘emergency’ section.
• Wonky layout, low quality paper, and printing errors.
• Hand Gestures advice including how to say ‘screw you’ just using your hand.
• Cartoon squirrels that may or may not intentionally resemble a crude part of male anatomy.
• Hao de Fanyi Guides’ slogan: ‘We knowledge you’re tourist good’.

Here are some of the highlights.

An upside down flag… and a quick run-through of Brazil’s many military coups.


Common travel phrases: “I didn’t bring my canoe.”


Common restaurant phrases: “Just the tip.”


Common relationship phrases: “Don’t kiss me there.”


Also, just a note that “harder” (which should absolutely not be in this phrasebook) is translated as “more difficult.”

Common health phrases: “Don’t body shame me.”


Common emergency phrases: “I dropped my ice cream.”


“How much for a hotdog? HOW MUCH FOR A HOTDOG?”


And we all know, of course, how courteous Americans are about shouting “USA! USA!” in the local language.

Common sports phrases: “I’ve never been interested in the shot-put till now.”


Common hand gestures: “Screw you.”


Wholesale Clearance made a judgment call and decided not to sell the guides. But they were cool enough to publish them so we could have a bit of a laugh at their expense. Happy Olympics, everyone!

You can see more at Wholesale Clearance’s blog.

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