Can you translate this?

I recently came into posession of an old Pink Floyd poster. From the looks of it, it is probably from their Ummagumma period. The thing is, I don’t recognize the language they are printed in. In fact, the printing looks backwards to me. Here is a link. Any ideas?

hebrew. translation to follow.

It appears to be an ad for the movie Pink Floyd Live in Pompeii.

sorry. Can’t do more here at work. I’ll check in later to see if anyone handled the deatils.

It’s definitely Hebrew. Zev_Steinhardt or Alessan can give you full translations.

The printing is backward in the sense that Hebrew is read from right to left rather than from left to right. The resemblance of some Hebrew letters to Roman characters is confusing. Tsad and ayin both resemble the letter y. But tsad is pronounced ‘ts’ and ayin is silent. Kaph, which I suspect is the source of your confusion as it’s one of the large letters in pink (third letter over from the right edge) looks like a p, but is pronounced as a k.

For more confusion, in Hebrew- He is she, who is he and dog is fish.

The first set of large pink letters (second line down) say simply “Pink Floyd”!

The rest of it is hard for me because I’m not used to the 60’s style hand-lettering. The black lettering is definitely Hebrew, which I’m not good at (especially without the vowels).


[li]I’m most used to reading Biblical Hebrew. Not much use for anything modern, particularly since the bulk of my work I do in text that has vowel marks added to it.[/li][li]Many people (Jews included) don’t realize that Hebrew characters have always been used to write languages other than Hebrew. The best example is Yiddish, which was commonly written with Hebrew characters. The other big example is English! I’ve seen many pictures from New York at the turn of the last century that have signs written entirely in Hebrew characters. You’d be stuck trying to translate them if you were Israeli: the language is mostly English. The signmaker figured that his audience knew Yiddish and some English, and would be better able to read the sign in Hebrew characters than in Roman ones. Such is the case with this poster. I also see this quite often with signs in Israel.[/li][/ul]

Sorry, I wasn’t specific enough. The large pink letters are Hebrew characters. According to established standards, they should be pronounced “Pee-nk Flo-yid” or, of course, Pink Floyd. It is not the Hebrew words for Pink and Floyd. I don’t remember these standards off-hand, except to tell you that the Roman letter/sound “W” is represented by two vavs. The vav is usually represented as a long vertical line; the character 3rd from the left in the large pink letters is a vav.

You may notice that both of the large pink words start with the same character. If so, how could it be Pink Floyd? The answer is that the character is peh/feh, pronounced either “puh” or “fuh” depending on exactly how it’s written.


I thought the yud and nun were a stylized tsad.

The pei/fei is upside down in relation to the formal script I was taught. That, and it’s so much easier with a dot. In Hebrew a dot or the lack of one determines if you’re looking at bet or vet, pei or fei, and het or khet. One letter is a shin or sin depending on whether the dot is over the right prong or the left. Vav is oh, ooh, or the letter v depending on the presence and placement of a dot.

Tell me you’re kidding about this part. Or at least the last example.

No kidding involved.

Phonetic Hebrew Word English translation

He She

Who He

Dog Fish

Is there a Hebrew word for Floyd?

The first line says:

Halahakah ha-mefursemet ha-yoter ba-olaom
The most famous band in the world.

Then it says in big pink letters:

Pink Floid
Pink Floyd

*Bapompei *
(don’t know what that means. Not a Hebrew word)


Bein ha-shirim ba-seret:
Among the songs in the movie:

Z’hirut im ha-garzan, yoo-jin
Be careful with the ax, yoo jin

Tzluchit m’le’ah sodot
A saucer (small dish) full of secrets

Kavven et ha-kaftorim el lev ha-shemesh, ve-od ve-od
Adjust the buttons (controls?) for the heart of the sun, and more and more.

Then big English letters: Pink Floyd.

At the very bottom it says:

Ha-tz’vaim galpanfilm
(not sure how to translate this) The colors (are?) (galpanfilm) – don’t know what galpanfilm means.

Since Hebrew is not written with vowels, some of this is guesswork since I don’t know anything about Pink Floyd other than they were a band from the 60’s 70’s.

This is great! Allow me to sharpen this up a little:

‘Bapompei’ means “In Pompeii”, which refers to the movie Pink Floyd at Pompeii, which was a ‘live’ concert film shot in an empty amphitheater in Pompeii in the early 70’s. It is available now on DVD.

yoo jin = Eugene

Adjust the buttons = Set the Controls

And when you call a girl, you say ‘boy’.

This is an old joke, based on truth:

The Hebrew word that is pronounced “hee” means “she” in English.

The Hebrew word that is pronounced “hoo” means “he” in English.

The Hebrew word that is pronounced “doh-g” means “fish” in English.

Another fun one (if I remember it correctly) comes from German:

Maedchen, noch ein Glas bier, bitte! (Miss, another glass of beer, please!)

The “beer” is masculine, the “glass” is feminine, and the Miss is neuter (das Maedchen). Go figure.

(thanks to Mark Twain)


I think the red writing says “Pink Floyd.”

Glad I could help!

Thanks a lot everybody. You rock… like Pee-nk Flo-yid Bapompei