Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Cautionary Tale about Tattoos in Other Languages.

I don't have a tattoo for two reasons. First, I don't like pain. Second, if I ever had a tattoo it would be of a ship. But I fear that as I get older the ship would appear to be sinking.

Victoria Beckham sporting a Hebrew Tattoo
But for many younger (and not so young) Christians, the taboo of the tattoo has faded. And people are permanently painting their body with everything from crosses to Bible verses. And I have seen some people with some permanent mistakes.

I once saw a tattoo written in Hebrew on the back of a young girl's neck. Two things struck me about the tattoo. First, that must have hurt! Second, it didn't make any sense. I then learned that whoever had drawn the tattoo had misspelled the Hebrew words which meant she no longer was marked by her favorite Bible verse but a bunch of gibberish.

From time to time a student will contact me asking how to spell a word in Hebrew or Greek or to write out a verse for them in one of those languages for a tattoo they are hoping to have done. And there are times I am tempted to give them something other than what they asked for. Once when a young lady asked me to write out in Greek “Jesus Wept” I was tempted to write “And Judas went out and hung himself.” I haven’t done that, yet, but the following story should be noted if you plan on getting a tattoo in a language you don’t read.

Over at the Aramaic blog Steve Caruso has posted a letter to someone who wrote to him. Steve creates various designs incorporating Aramaic. Apparently someone saw of one of his designs online and had it made into a tattoo. The problem, however, is the now “inked” individual used one of Steve’s samples instead of buying the design from him. Apparently Steve’s samples contain intentional misspellings in order to prevent his artwork being stolen. It appears that the “inked” individual now has a tattoo that either makes no sense or says something other than what they had hoped. They contacted Steve and he has posted a reply letter online. But he has also read the letter out loud. Here is the link where you can read the letter and here is the link where you can hear the letter.

And to those of you who are considering a tattoo in another language, I suggest you make double and triple sure it says what you think it says.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, double and triple check the spelling. You don't want this to happen: