Lost in Translation: Saloon Turkey

There are many barbershops in Jeddah that are very proud of their Turkish barbers – I don’t know if Turkish barbers are supposed to be better than barbers from other areas of the world – and they have no qualms about making it known loud and clear. I just find it humorous when I read signs like these using my American mentality. Growing up in the American Southwest not too far from Tombstone, that famous Western town of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, a “saloon” to me is a bar, pub, or drinking establishment. So where I might think that the word “salon” would probably be more appropriate, “saloon” is the word of choice here. And of course, for “turkey” I tend to think of that bird we all eat on Thanksgiving. In Arabic, the adjectives come after the nouns, like in Spanish – and just the opposite of English. I just love stuff like this…


About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Buildings, Photo, Saudi Arabia and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Lost in Translation: Saloon Turkey

  1. alyaba says:

    The real interesting thing to me is the fact that the arabic name has nothing to do at ALL with the english name, In arabic it says “Light of the moon salon”. how does that translate to “saloon turkey” i have no idea lol

  2. Pathfinder says:

    Hehe good one Susie.
    I have no idea why it is translated this way, the banner in Arabic is “Salon Daw al Qamar” which means in English Moonlight Saloon, while the English translation of the banner is Saloon Turkey….What a miss!

    Turkish and Moroccan people are well known to be good barbers in the Middle East that is why they mention nationalities sometimes.

  3. A Blog Reader says:

    I just wanted to point out another thing. The English text isn’t a translation of the Arabic script. In fact, the Arabic doesn’t reference turkey at all and actually reads “Moonlight Salon.”

  4. Chiara says:

    The word salon and saloon have the same derivation via the French from sala (Old High German–for sell) with the augmenting suffix via the Italian -one ie a large room (also latin and french salle), and one in which sales happen.

    Brits use saloon more generally than Americans do, and a number of non-native speakers of English whom I know and who have had some British influence at some point use saloon generally. I think it sounds more English (as opposed to French), to them and is easier to read and spell than salon.

    I was very startled the first time a friend told me she had spent the morning in the saloon…until she went on to say that she likes to go to the beauty saloon from time to time to have her hair professionally done.

    She also has a saloon in her home–as opposed to the more casual family room.

    Interesting English translation of the sign. Should have probably been Turkish Saloon! LOL 🙂

  5. Hamdah says:

    Hi Susie. I understand how translation can be a tricky business especially in Saudi Arabia. You know that you can do sociolinguistics research just using the shop boards, labels, and restaurant menus in Jeddah ! 🙂 That is not a joke by the way..

    But you know that Jeddah has many international workers and most of the barbershops have foreigners working there, so the boards outside shops are done by them, so it involves different cultural aspects.

    I hope you understand what I mean.

    However, I wonder where does the word “Salon” comes from ? Is it French? Or ??


  6. mahdi says:

    my yahoo id :

  7. mahdi says:

    Hello Mrs.. I am from Iran. I do not master English and translator software translation of this text I have. Excuse me. I love each other and ideas about life and cultural issues, together with the Forum have. Please email if you have to tell me. If the ID you use Yahoo messenger Add me please. Thanks!
    Mahdi from Iran.

  8. Dina says:

    It IS very funny.
    Nice how you can see the barber and the customer in the chair.

  9. And we all love that you capture them for us to enjoy with you!

  10. Jerry M says:

    If you look at older dictionaries, the primary meaning of saloon wasn’t a place for imbibing liquid refreshment. I still wouldn’t see how saloon becomes a barbershop.


    • I guess they are just taking it from salon – maybe in another language like French or something, it might come closer to barber shop than it’s origins in English – I really don’t know.

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