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.
- Shock horror! Madrid employs native speakers to kick-start bilingual education programme!
I’ve met quite a lot of English teachers in Spain, but of the native speakers I only know a couple who have worked in the state education system, and then as poorly paid language assistants on here-today-fuck-off-tomorrow contracts. Back in January Esperanza Aguirre indicated her intention to break what she probably regards as the stranglehold of …
- Artur Mas: only the filthy Spanish are stopping every Catalan owning a farm right now
In a number of posts (see below) I’ve suggested that rather than use cheap, crap human translators customers should consider free, often-not-so-crap machine translation, so it was only a matter of time before someone called my bluff.
- A revolutionary Balkan gypsy begging flyer
The gypsy beggars and backing-track musos who work the Barcelona local train service systematically and efficiently are an example to Spanish local authorities looking to improve their act: no grasping, arrogant, incompetent, Weberian civil service; a fine tradition of no-budget graphic design; and simple, effective copywriting in the language most likely to mean something, not
- Author Translation, a literary translation agency
The excellent Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware, dedicated to exposing literary scams, has discovered Author Translation. This agency appears to specialise in EN->ES at extremely low prices – 0.02$ per translated word is quoted. As Victoria notes, they find English a struggle, but the sample Spanish translation provided (grab) -of an Arthurian romance self-published by one Kim