Wednesday, May 31, 2006

American scientists have found ways of using rabbit cells to solve the problem of erectile dysfunction. Anyone acquainted with Spanish slang will regard this as only too appropriate.

I regularly complain that the Spanish live in a little bubble which reduces their sensitivity to others. I briefly left my bar stool today to get a newspaper, leaving on the counter not just a full cup of coffee but also my pad, my cap and several sheets of paper. None of this stopped a woman sitting on the stool. But she was, of course, thoroughly apologetic when I reclaimed it. They invariably are.

A reader has commented on the poor quality of English in Galician brochures and suggested there's a business opportunity here. I'm afraid not. After several abortive attempts to help organisations for free, I've come to accept the view of my Spanish friends that what happens is the local organisation gets a budget for translations by qualified people and then spends it employing relatives who may have studied English at school but who have certainly never spoken it.


The president of the Galician Xunta has said it's a shame most of the Lugo council has been arrested for corruption as this gives the impression everyone is up to it. Surely no one would be so simplistic as to rush to this conclusion. With the possible exception of Everyman and his wife.


Lenox said...

Colin is right about the translations into English. They are, presumably, put in English to inform, refresh or (above all) sell something to English speaking visitors or customers. To take their money. But, few Spaniards like the idea of actually paying some foreigner (gasp!) to put the text into decent English.
So we find leaflets, bill-boards, notices, menus, magazines and so on, addressed to the Brits, but written in some mushy Spanglish. There's a sign outside our office window for some apartment block: 'finished to the last'.
Here's a thought: if the customer is chuckling at your advert, while mildly indignant that you didn't use a native citizen... you may not sell as many units.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lenox, last year I pointed out a mistake to somebody I know who sells houses and had had a sign printed 'State Agent',I explained the significance in Spanish,( yes, some of us actually do speak Spanish along with other languages) The sign is still exactly the same this year. One part of me thinks, never mind, this beautiful part of the world will remain untouched by change, and the other part of me says why pay for a sign without checking first with somebody who speaks, reads and writes English, if you are in a position to do so. I would more than willing to do a free translation (or should I say correction)of our local tourist leaflet which leaves a lot to be desired, but there's not even a market for free, correct, translations - as Colin said. I really want to contribute to the community I live in, but nobody asks and if you offer, you never here anything about it again. Clearly somebody must translate these things, I wonder if it's just one person who has a monopoly because the same literal translations appear everywhere. The Region is trying it's best to sell tourism in Galicia to the rest of the world, with expensive television advertising campaigns and developments in tourism. If the powers that be are reading this, please ask us, we will help, we love Galicia.

Un beso...