Here’s the most recent object lesson:

When Meghan DeTore got a Chinese symbol tattooed on her ankle, it made her feel like part of the in crowd in college. But a few years after graduation, it triggered a different emotion: embarrassment.

“It was supposed to symbolize a warrior and a scholar,” said DeTore, 31, the marketing director for a Boston investment firm, “but who knows what it really meant. A Chinese-speaking friend later told me the closest translation was ‘mud pie.'”

I’ve compiled several others here, including the case of the kid who thought his Mandarin tattoo read “Love, Honor, and Obey” but actually said “At the end of the day, this is an ugly boy.”