Mexico's Tourism Website Gets Lost In Translation

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

"Excuse me, how do I get to Jumpsuit? You know, Mexico's ancient Mayan port city and UNESCO World Heritage Site?"

This might be a rather puzzling (and awkward) exchange if one relied on solely the Mexico tourism board's website as a destination guide.


The English version of VisitMexico.com suffered the ravages of a very bad case of auto-translate last week when the site appeared riddled with mistranslations of some of the country's most popular tourist spots.

While some name changes were somewhat related, others were entirely inexplicable. 

The ancient city of Tulum became “Jumpsuit” and the northern Gulf coast city of Ciudad Madero was referred to as “Log.” 

Entire states like Hidalgo and Guerrero got machine translated as “Noble” and “Warrior.” The nearby lagoon town of Bacalar, on the Caribbean coast, was switched to the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.

The Pacific coast resort of Puerto Escondido became “Hidden Port,” a literal translation, And The central Mexican municipality of Aculco somehow became “I Blame,” and the northern city of Torreon became “Turret."

The problems at VisitMexico.com drew chuckles and sneers, but also anger, according to the Globe and Mail. 

“Stop making Mexico look ridiculous!” former President Felipe Calderón wrote on Twitter.

Mexico’s Tourism Department issued a statement apologizing for the errors, but also implied something sinister had been involved.

“The Tourism Department expresses its most sincere apologies to the public and users for the effects that have occurred on the website VisitMexico,” the statement said. “Moreover, we make it known that these acts aim to damage the image of the website and the department, and so therefore a criminal complaint has been filed and appropriate legal actions will be taken against those responsible.”

Mexican media reports this may have been an act of revenge by a web supplier angry about not being paid for their services. Yup, that’ll do it.

The site has since been taken down, with a note saying a new doorknob... err website is coming soon.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.



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