October 14, 2011 Leave a comment
How much do you want to bet this work cost peanuts!
… what else can you do when people refuse to be ashamed of themselves?
October 14, 2011 Leave a comment
How much do you want to bet this work cost peanuts!
March 26, 2011 Leave a comment
Criticizing the Italian Ministry of Tourism for its embarrassing, amateurish, ham-handed publicity efforts is a little like shooting fish in a barrel: there’s hardly any sport in it.
On the other hand, how can you resist? Especially if you take into account the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of millions of Euros the Ministry has spent on a money pit of a national tourism website (with ugly, shameful translations in a half-dozen languages) and on publicity campaigns like these.
Many times, an image is worth a thousand words. Here are two. Plus a video. (The leggy redhead in the lesbian-fantasy-porn high heels is the current Minister of Tourism, Michela Vittoria Brambilla; the guy in the video [below] is the former mayor of Rome and, at the time the video was made, Minister for Italian Heritage and Culture, Francesco Rutelli.
Rutelli welcomes you!
(If you cannot see the video, download it here.)
“Italy: Perhaps you dreaming about.”
Now there’s a quotable quote. Michela! Let’s get that on a brochure!
July 23, 2010 Leave a comment
ProZ.com is famous for allowing translators to claim to be “native speakers” of any language that pops into their heads and for taking no action whatever to ensure that second- (or third-) language translators aren’t defrauding potential clients by claiming to be able to do what they cannot actually do.
But even on ProZ, some people have more chutzpah than others.
Take this translator, who claims to have twenty-three years of experience and to be a “native English translator with Italian parents.” (In other words, arguably, not a native English speaker, but whatever.) She also advertises herself in English as “Dr.,” one of those small Italian scams that Italian translators sometimes try to get away with — in Italy, you’re a “dottore” or a “dottoressa” as soon as you finish you undergraduate degree, but that doesn’t make you a “doctor” in any other language.
Confronted in the past, this translator has argued that the bad translations of websites listed on her résumé were “changed by the client” without her knowledge. OK, here are three perfectly ghastly messes from her current ProZ profile. In other words, she put them there herself.
First, here’s an attempt to render the description of an art exhibition. I know, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. She didn’t even bother to run a spell-check on the piece, her punctuation is shameful, and she never met a calque she didn’t like. Still, phrases like “unctuously aestheticising” and “the state of principal essentially non-event” are evidence of a glaring lack of familiarity with basic English (as is the failure to realize that “Middle age authors” suggests something quite different from “authors writing in the Middle Ages”).
The fact is that Italian clients are frequently in no position to judge the quality of an English translation–they simply don’t read the language well enough. So they count on the translator. And there’s nothing wrong with that; they should be able to count on the translator. But that’s assuming they choose one who knows what she’s doing …
… and not one who slavishly follows every twist and turn of a truly atrocious Italian text to create an equally atrocious (and no less meaningless) one in Inglisc.
Finally, here’s a recipe.
Sure, you can figure out what she’s saying (though that “browny even colour” and “little livers” might give you pause), but the question becomes: How hard would it have been to give this text to someone who could translate it properly, edit out the run-on sentences, and use correct cooking terminology? More to the point, a translation you have to “figure out” isn’t a translation; it’s a hack job.
Perhaps the rationale for all this madness lies in the fact that this translator advertises her services starting at €0.04/word (about $0.05). Despite translations like these, she boasts that she has “developed a good reputation in this field as I am committed to high-quality translations.” She demonstrates that “high quality” once again on a different professional networking site, where her profile includes this description:
Specialized In videogames, tourism, travel, winery, marketing, technical translations, also software localization and subtitiling and websites, i have translated 50 wesbites this year many on Hotels and hospitality, Forex and online casino.
Yes, written just like that: crazy capitals, run-on sentences, “wesbites,” “subtitiling,” and all.
Frankly, this kind of translator — and the collusion of ProZ.com, TranslatorsCafé, and their ilk in finding clients for them — would be less offensive if she were at least honest: “I’m an Italian-speaking translator with a second-rate ability to write in English. My translations into English are neither elegant nor fluent, but they are very cheap.”
The English would still be terrible, but at least it wouldn’t be fraud.
July 14, 2010 Leave a comment
From the online menu (Inglisc version) of the Pizzeria Le Macine. If you’re in an especially cynical mood, you might want to try the “fettuccine to the hypocrite,” followed by a contour of “spinaches to the sour one.”
Appetizers First flat Second flat Contours Pizzas
Fruit and Sweets
Ham and melon
Appetizer to the millstones
Appetizer to the Italian
Imagination the chef’s appetizer
Appetizer of bread carrè
Appetizer of vegetables
Bruschette to the tomato
Bruschette to the oil
Bruschette with beans
Bresaola, rucola, parmiggiano
Rucola and parmesan cheese
Slices tomato and rucola
Scamorza to the oven
Scamorza with ham
Bucatini to the matriciana
Spaghetti garlic oil and peperoncino
Spaghetti to the carbonara
Spaghetti to the puttanesca
Fettuccine to the hypocrite
Fettuccine mushrooms and whipped cream
Fettuccine to the meat sauce
Fettuccine to the boscaiola
Fettuccine to the millstones
Ciriole to the millstones
Ciriole to the mushrooms
Ciriole to the hypocrite
Pens to the salmon
Pens to the vodka
Pens to the norcina
Pens to the angry one
Pens to the four cheeses
Pens in pink sauce
Tortellini whipped cream and sausage
Tortellini to the boscaiola
Tortellini to the meat sauce
Tortellini whipped cream and cooked ham
Ravioli butter and sage
Ravioli to the meat sauce
Ravioli to the hypocrite
Ravioli to the whipped cream
Beefsteak of pig to the fire
Beefsteak of vitella to the fire
Lamb scottadito to the fire
Portion of sausages to the fire
Scaloppine to the mushrooms
Scaloppine to the white wine
Scaloppine to the lemon
Scaloppine to the hypocrite
Spinaches to the sour one
Spinaches to the butter
Pizza to the four seasons
Pizza to the capricious one
Pizza to the raw ham
Pizza to the fruits of sea
Pizza to the tuna and slices tomato
Pizza to the mushrooms
Pizza to the millstones
Pizza to the asparaguses
Pizza to the bismark
Pizza to the salmon
Pizza to the ortolana
Pizza to the Mexican
Salty pizza of artichokes
Pizza to the flowers of pumpkin
Pizza to the nutella
Pizza to the zucchines
Pizza to the potatoes
Pizza ham and melon
Pizza daisy wheel
Pizza to the sausage
Pizza to the corn
Pizza mushrooms and bacon
Pizza white raw ham and slices tomato
Pizza to the mushrooms, cooked ham and fresh whipped cream
Pizza rucola and stracchino
Pizza rucola and prawns
Pizza rucola and parmesan cheese
Pizza to the four cheeses
Pizza to the hypocrite
Pizza to the spicy salami
Pizza to the porky mushrooms
Pizza to the carbonara
Pant to the ham
Pant mushrooms and ham
Pant to the sausage
Pant to the spinaches
Pizza breads to the ham
Pizza breads of mushrooms and ham
Pizza breads spinaches and sausage
Pizza breads mushrooms and sausage
Pizza breads to the rucola
Crouton mushrooms and ham
Crouton anchovies and tomato
Crouton to the hypocrite
Crouton to the asparaguses
Crouton to the sausage
Crouton to the sausage and tomato
It made up for
Hamburger and chips
Roast Wurstel and chips
Wine to the thorn
Wines in bottle
Bianco di Torgiano
Rosso di Torgiano
Beers in bottle
Drinks to the thorn
Asti conte Cavour
Cognac e whisky
Liquori e amari
Liquore alla liquirizia
Strawberries to the lemon
Strawberries with whipped cream
Sweets of the house
Pears to the beautiful helena
Cooked whipped cream
July 9, 2010
From the Ristorante Baglio Santacroce’s online menu. (If I might make a comment, I think that implying that Sardinians are mean and filled with scratched bread is just plain bigoted. And using them to make sauce for your macaroni is almost certainly illegal.)
The Sicilian Cuisine
Sparkling, cheerful, ritual, fanciful. The Sicilian cuisine is as its earth. Alive of sun, of sea, of love. And of turned on colors, of intense odors, of sharp contrasts.
The history of the Sicilian food custom starts with the first inhabitants of the island, the Sicanis, the Phoenician ones, the Greek, the Romans. You narrates that the rich characters and the most greater exponents of the Greek culture used to send their cooks to learn the Sicilian culinary art. Continuous to evolve him and himself/herself/themselves it directs toward new tastes with the arrival of people invaders, from the Vandals to the Byzantines, from the Arabs to the Norman ones, from the Angioinis to the Aragonese ones. And the continuous tradition, grows, it becomes wealthy of new elements of different cultural influences. They hands down new recipes, popular dishes cohabit and they are measured with “flat modern.” But the primary characteristics of our gastronomy are unchanged: the imagination, the elaborate taste in to introduce the dishes, the employment of aromas, of the seasonings, the profusion of tastes.
Some of the Dishes of the Sicilian Cuisine, that, besides those of National Kitchen, they prepare him to the Restaurant Baglio Santacroce, are:
Insalata di Mare: salad of octopuses, squids, prawns, mussels, clams seasoned with lemon and parsley.
Panelle: crocché done with flour of ceci and then fried.
Caponata: cold dish which eggplants, oil, vinegar, garlic, toasted almonds, pinoli and other seasonings enter.
Pesce Spada marinato: fish sword made to soak with oil and lemon.
Bottarga di tonno: fettine of ovary of tuna served with oil and lemon.
Busiate al pesto trapanese: seasoned pigtails of fresh pasta with pesto of garlic, oil, basil, almonds and pomodorini.
Pasta con le sarde: macaronies with saffron and seasoned with sauce composed of onion, anchovies, parsley, wild finocchietto, almonds, pinoli and Sardinians the all soffritto in oil, flat typically and originally palermitano.
Busiate alla norma: seasoned busiate with eggplants and covered of ricotta seasoned salty.
Cuscus: flat of sure Arabic origin. It is a brodosa and tasty soup of fish with a lot of vegetables, that you/he/she is opportunely poured on a base of prepared bran.
Busiate con pesce spada e melanzane : seasoned busiate with sauce of fish sword and eggplants.
Involtini di melanzane: full of spaghetti in sauce of tomato, basil, salty ricotta and gratinate to the oven.
Second of meat:
Involtini di carne alla Siciliana: full involtini of meat of bread grattato,pinoli,uva passa,salame and cheese first salt.
Scaloppine al Marsala: medallions of meat browned in the Marsala.
Second of Fish:
Sarde a beccafico: the Sardinians cut in mean, are filled with scratched bread, sugar, cinnamon, raisin and pinoli. Cooked to couple in oil they are flavored from a leaf of laurel.
Tonno con la cipollata: floured tuna and soffritto with the cipolla.
Involtini di pesce spada: involtini of fish sword full of scratched bread, parsley and cheese.
Sweets and dessert:
Cassata: cake covered of pasta real and candied, full of ricotta and chocolate.
Cannoli: sweets with full of ricotta, chocolate and candied.
Cassatelle fritte: full ravioloni of ricotta, fried and dusted of sugar to veil.
Tastes that they happily marry him the proud production vinicola of Sicily.
July 9, 2010
… but don’t even bother if you don’t speak Latvish…
Desperately seeking a qualified Latvish-to-English translator to explain the meaning of the phrase:
“Engagement in Latvia is a mutual promise to conclude a marriage … however, engagement is not an obligatory precondition for conclusion of the marriage nor the fact of engagement provides the rights to claim for conclusion of the marriage by court proceedings or in any other way.”
No, wait. Actually, I’ve decided I don’t really care.
From the Integration in Latvia site.
July 8, 2010
Translation jobs are increasingly being outsourced to Indian companies, and offers of translation work (from various languages into English) at one or two cents per word have flooded the market. (Take a look at what Proz, TranslationDirectory, TranslatorsCafé, and the like are thriving on, just to get an idea.)
It’s an interesting problem in “globalization.” If 1-2 cents/word is decent pay in India, good for them. But when Indian companies are in a position to compete with translators outside of India, who cannot possibly live on rates like that, what’s the ethical response?
Do we tell translators outside of India, “Ah, well, you’re just another unfortunate victim of globalization. Better start looking for another job”?
An additional irony is that the quality of cut-rate Indian translations is so often poor. Hey, but wait. They speak English as a native language in India, don’t they? Well … sort of.
When non-native-English-speaking clients aren’t in a position to judge the quality of the translations they’re getting (and they often are not), they’re happy to buy Hinglish. It’s cheap after all. In all senses of the word.
On the other hand, if you understand that the pair of “made in India” pants that cost you $12 are never going to last beyond one summer (if that), why would you expect your translation to be any better?
July 8, 2010 2 Comments
Solar Farm ⁞ Report card: C- ⁞ Here’s my offer to the Parma, Italy-based Solar Farm company, providers of “turn-key photovoltaic in Italy”: If I promise not to install solar paneling, will you promise to stop translating into English?
I think it’s only fair. Because if you ask me, “Is it still worthy a solar farm in Italy?” I’m afraid the answer is going to have to be, “No, it were not.”
The “Golden Rush” is pretty funny all by itself, but the “focues” and the “high energy-yeld” are just plain embarrassing. Even if you’re a bad translator (especially if you’re a bad translator), you should probably learn to use the spell check.
But it’s when we get to brief bios of Solar Farm’s principals, Marco Bonvini and Emilio Zechini, that their site qualifies for the Gallery of Wrongness. I’ll bet both of them are real smart guys, and there’s no question that Italy desperately needs alternative-energy resources.
But what if they think like they write? Or what if the care they put into their consulting services is equal to the amount of attention they paid to the English version of their website?
If I were someone interested in solar energy technology, and if I couldn’t read this site in the original Italian, considerations like those would certainly give me pause.
In the end, it’s the age-old question: What kind of business are you running if it isn’t worth the price of a decent translation?
July 8, 2010 Leave a comment
I have to thank a colleague, who is as astounded as I am by the amount of Italish that exists in public places in Italy, for these images.
In the first, the imposing Milano Centrale train station stands in the background. Hundreds of thousands of tourists cross this piazza every year–either because they’re visiting Milan or because they’re on their way to or from Malpensa (airport buses are lined up to the right of the photo, just out of sight). Still, no one at the panini bar thought it might matter to get the English right on the sign (see close-up). Here is available to reach a captive audience, so who cares?
Just goes to show: The world over, the coppers get grumpy if you don’t lend them the proper attention:
July 8, 2010 Leave a comment
Hey, it’s only content. Why should it matter if it’s gibberish?
What’s interesting to note here is that the Italian is hardly the best — it’s the kind of breathless publicity-speak written with the help of a thesaurus (but without the aid of someone who actually knows how to write a product description). From a translator’s perspective, texts like these are a translation nightmare.
Literal translation (which is pretty much what FitnessElite got) tends to make your eyes glaze over with its silliness. On the other hand, coming up with a decent equivalent in English requires more than just translation; it requires the skills of a copywriter. Unfortunately, since translators tend to get paid about 1/75th of what advertising copywriters make, clients generally don’t want to foot the bill for decent prose.
And why should they?
After all, it’s only their business we’re talking about!