It’s turning out to be more complicated than I thought: post first, correction below, clarification bottom.
Esperanza Aguirre’s Madrid appears to have made impressive advances in implementing bilingual (Spanish-English) education in the region. Unfortunately it didn’t bother to check that Adsolut, the creative agency on the system’s new ad campaign, had included a translator in its €127,600 budget. And so, as El País reports, “want” becomes an intransitive verb and the administration looks like a bunch of amateurish wuzzocks. Here’s an alternative scenario:
– Hi, Adsolut here, we heard you’re a decent translator and we wanted to run something past you. Is ‘Yes we want’ good English?
– No. And public flogging is being introduced for crap Obama ripoffs.
– OK, we’ll get back to you.
– Thanks, I’ve billed you at my base tariff of 60€.
Anyone got a picture of the ad? What’s bilingual education in Madrid really like? Is David Blundell talking out of his posterior end when he says that it’s not a good idea to mix Spanish and English in marcoms? How long will it take Adsolut to emerge from hiding (for an adman in a storm, any pub is a good pub) and announce that this so-called mistake is in fact a cunning way of attracting massive attention for bilingualism in Madrid?
Someone has kindly sent in grabs of the screens of the Flash animation, from which it is clear that unless you think font colour has a determining influence over grammar Adsolut’s work contains adsolutely no linguistic error, as was claimed by Mariann Larsen Pehrzon of the Facultad de Filología of the Complutense, Caridad Baena, President of the Asociación de Profesores de Escuelas de Idiomas de Madrid, translator Leonie Woodin and other authorities quoted by El País’ reporter, Elena Sevillano:
So, while the campaign may not be terribly graceful or creative, my apologies to Adsolut and the Comunidad de Madrid. And a raspberry to El País, who surely weren’t looking for any old stick with which to beat dear old Espe…
See Peter’s comments and this photo. Here from El Mundo is another screen grab someone sent in:
I think it’s like this minor disaster from Barcelona Council: professional conception, amateurish execution.
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There is too much material here to deal with in one post, but we can report that modern forensic linguistics, combined with a couple of glasses of wine, have led …