Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cataluña; Bull-goading; EU Migration; Google Translate: A Galician scandal; & Brian Sewell.

Cataluña: Things are not going well for independence-minded Catalans. In one short week, the EU has said Cataluña would not be a member of the EU if it seceded from Spain. And "major Spanish and European banks warned that Cataluña would put 'financial stability' at risk if it separated from Spain and the EU, potentially driving them to abandon the region." More on the latter here.

Bull-goading: This week will see a legal suit against the mayor of Tordesillas, brought by a number of groups sufficiently horrified by the recent Toro de Vega festival to want to try to stop it under existing laws. Technically, it will hinge on the danger to spectators. The fiesta's days are surely numbered, even if this action fails. As it probably will.

The EU Migration Challenge: No one could accuse the EU's response of being comprehensive and effective. Here's an interesting take from a Catholic organisation, addressing the difficult balance between compassion and common-sense. Right or wrong, at least it has the courage to address the issue of increasing numbers of Muslims from eastern Europe, Iraq and Syria. Not to mention Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Google Translate: This is still a pretty dreadful app but I was impressed by this translation of hahhahahah into Hahhahahah.

Galicia: You can't be considered a serious Spanish region if you lack a major corruption scandal. Click here for details of ours, which centres on the now well-known scam of phoney training companies implausibly sucking millions of euros of easy EU money into, in this case, a small office in a town in the back of beyond.

Finally . . . The wonderful Brian Sewell has left us for a place - as a ex-Catholic - where the art will surely be better than he ever thought it was here. These are some of his beautifully waspish comments on the gaudy false gods of BritArt:-
Tracey Emin: Art’s Jade Goody – a cunning exploitation of ignorance, irascible emotion and raw sex to draw attention to herself.
Grayson Perry: His pottery is vulgar . . . most of his pottery could be intriguingly subversive if converted into table lamps.
Damien Hirst: To own a Hirst is to tell the world that your bathroom taps are gilded and your Rolls-Royce is pink.
Anish Kapoor: When he puts some wonky Meccano structure up at the expense of £16 million for the Olympics, that’s a joke. That isn’t art.
All four: Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry and Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor and whoever else really deserve every cruelty because it’s the only way. They are so accustomed to being told how wonderful they are and somehow it’s impossible to get through the complacency that is engendered by that.
Chris Ofili: Spurious rubbish, most of it.
Banksy: He is a complete clown and what he does has absolutely nothing to do with art.
A nice obit here.

Sewell had a link with Galicia, of course. He did an entertaining TV series on The French Way to Santiago de Compostela, though it was in an old Mercedes and, some say, in the reverse direction. He ended up(started??) on the beach at Finisterra, burning his clothes and weepily threatening a return to Catholicism. Worth the price of the BBC video. Trust me.


Bill said...

Brian Sewell is indeed a great loss. RIP.

As for "Google Translate", my view is that it's getting better, if still a long way from being perfect, if used intelligently. For a free service, though, I think it very useful. To get the best out of it when translating into another language it can be useful to go through several re-translation iterations because it does not cope well with idiomatic expressions, nor with most slang of course and it is often the case, in my experience, that if the back-translation into English is awkward or "rubbish", a re-examination of the original text and substituting un-remarked idiom with clearer and more literal text will produce a perfectly acceptable translation, not Shakespeare, but good enough. As for translations into English from foreign languages, one can usually get the "gist", even if gender usage when translating from certain Romance languages can produce strange results, but the context of the text in the original (where one has at least a small knowledge of the source language, ideally) can be useful here.

Colin Davies said...

Bill. Agree with your gist point and that it's certainly an aid but it can make horrendous mistakes with Spanish, eg because of inflections, lack of personal pronouns, and differing word order. I certainly wouldn't want it to disappear as it helps me, after modifications, to get a quick and dirty translation if i can't be bothered to do it word for word myself. As for it getting better, I hope so but don't use it often enough to tell. I use a couple of useful sites for specific phrases that are troublesome, either way round.

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