A fake sign language interpreter sacking story has gone viral on French media, proving that humour is easily lost in translation.

On August 17th last year, The Poke – a hugely popular satirical news website in the UK – published a fictional story reporting the sacking of a prominent BBC News sign language interpreter after complaints from deaf people that she was “sometimes embellishing, sometimes just making stuff up”.

The article described how Leslie Grange, 32, an experienced sign language interpreter, had cited “personal difficulties – particularly a crushing professional boredom” as the reason for her devious antics.

Radioactive zombies

“Questions started to be raised around the time of the Japanese earthquake when several viewers emailed us to complain about our reports of radioactive zombies sighted near the nuclear reactor. We dismissed them as some sort of organised hoax.”

“However, when there were similar numbers getting in touch to ask if Rebekah Brooks was really in trouble for raping a monkey, and why the BBC was claiming that, as a special summer treat, the Prime Minister had told the nation’s teenagers they didn’t have to pay for anything any more, we realised something was wrong.”

Article undead

The article proved to be very popular on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, with more than 700 retweets and over 7000 shares. However, things took an interesting turn recently when the French media caught hold of the story and distributed it in translation amongst radio and online news networks. French radio channel RTL reported on the story yesterday, seemingly unaware that the original story was fake. France Soir soon followed, asking ‘Les zombies de la BBC seraient-ils un canular?’ in its headline.

Have you found any funny stories that have been lost in translation? We’d love to hear them!