Welcome to Inglisc: Mèd Een Eetaly

What’s the most offensive thing about Inglisc? The fact that it exists solely because of arrogance and duplicity.

Arrogance on the part of translators, most of them non-native-English speakers, who insist they are “bilingual” and can “render” English translations as well as any native-speaker.

In fact, “render” — meaning to tear apart — is exactly what they do.

The arrogance of Italian business owners, university professors, politicians, translation agencies, cartoonists, writers, and website developers who treat English as though it were Pig Latin: the sort of thing anyone can pick up in about a half-hour.

And duplicity on the part of English-native-speaking “translators” (“I’m in Italy for the summer and could use some extra cash!”) who haven’t the merest clue how to write or to edit in their native language but don’t understand how translating could possibly require more skill than, say, babysitting or dog-walking. So sure: Let’s say I’m a translator! (Also a rocket scientist, just in case you have any satellites you need put into orbit.)

When Errol Morris wrote about “The Anosognosic’s Dilemma” for the New York Times, these were the kind of people he had in mind: the ones too stupid to recognize how stupid they are. (Or, as David Dunning, a Cornell professor of social psychology, put it: “If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent.”)

The harm these categories are doing to professional translators is irreparable and, apparently, unstoppable.

But “Inglisc: Mèd Een Eetaly” at least intends to embarrass them a little.

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