Monday, May 19, 2014

The dead politico; The EU elections; Spanish project costs; Talking crimes; Evil Islam; & Whence

This is a profile of the woman politician who was gunned down in León last week. It's in English but I wonder how accurate some of the translation from the original Spanish is. For example, I doubt that tener mucho carácter is best conveyed by 'to have a strong personality.' Unless you're indulging in British understatement.

I think the last time I mentioned the forecast of how many Spaniards would turn out for the EU elections it was 64%. Well, now it's down to 43%. And this in a country which is still very positive about the EU. Talking about voting . . . Postal voting is possible in both Spain and the UK. I wonder what proof of identity is required in both countries. Anyone know?

Talking of the EU . . . It financed €30bn of Spanish infrastructure projects between 2004 and 2013 but is now worried about the extent and level of the cost overruns. In every case, apparently. Read more here.

In Germany it's a crime to express Nazi sentiments. In Spain you can be tried for 'glorifying murder'. This relates mostly to ETA, of course. I'm not sure that a similar crime exists in the UK, despite the IRA campaigns. But, anyway, the Spanish police have arrested 3 young men for making what they consider to be criminal internet statements in respect of the murder of the León politician. And I bet more are to come. Can this really be consistent with freedom of speech? Are they really inciting anyone to murder?

Talking of harsh laws . . . It's reported that an Islamic court in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum has sentenced a pregnant woman to hang for apostasy after she married a Christian. However, in a gesture of mercy, she'll be allowed to give birth before she's executed. Whenever you read things like this you wonder what the 'moderate Muslim' world is doing to stop what they see as an evil misinterpretation of the Qu'ran. Likewise Boko Haram in Nigeria, of course.

Finally . . . I wonder just how many people know what 'whence' means. It's: from which/where. Which means that a phrase like 'to the fringe from whence it came' is wrong, as the 'from' is superfluous. Just thought I'd mention this.


Anonymous said...

Hello Colin,

In the example regarding "tener mucho carácter" and its English translation of "to have a strong personality", I agree that it is a bit vague. We have to remember that the Spanish version in this case refers to a "negative" trait and the English version is being sanitized for the sake of simplicity. In any case, a person with "mucho carácter" is someone with a short fuse, thick-skinned, harsh,abrasive and perhaps not the kind of individual you would invite to your Sunday BBQ! On the other hand, a person "de buen carácter" will always be invited and a pleasure to have around.


SF Bay Area

Colin Davies said...

Many thanks, Jorge. That exactly what I suspected. But wasn't familiar with the mucho/bueno matiz. Cheers.