Quixote and communication failure in the EU

Looby, the thinking, drinking man’s Bridget Jones/Helen Fielding, links at FB to something now being called “Anglo-EU Translation Guide”, although previous incarnations were said to be Anglo-Dutch. Sundry losers imply this to have been invented by themselves or their friends, but it’s been bottling anonymously in the Dead Sea of Email for quite some years now – see the excellent piece by Charlemagne@Economist way back in 2004.

Jokes and complaints about the translation vulgar bureaucratese have presumably been around ever since lawyers emerged, blind and grasping, from Satan’s arse in the Babelian sewer. Quixote’s comments during his visit to a Barcelona printer are probably the classic oldie:

[M]e parece que el traducir de una lengua en otra, como no sea de las reinas de las lenguas, griega y latina, es como quien mira los tapices flamencos por el revés, que aunque se veen las figuras, son llenas de hilos que las escurecen y no se veen con la lisura y tez de la haz; y el traducir de lenguas fáciles ni arguye ingenio ni elocución, como no le arguye el que traslada ni el que copia un papel de otro papel. Y no por esto quiero inferir que no sea loable este ejercicio del traducir, porque en otras cosas peores se podría ocupar el hombre y que menos provecho le trujesen.

Our lords and masters will bear this in mind, of course.

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This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Barcelona (490):

Catalonia (141):

English language (430):

Föcked Translation (413): I posted to a light-hearted blog called Fucked Translation over on Blogger from 2007 to 2016, when I was often in Barcelona. Its original subtitle was "What happens when Spanish institutions and businesses give translation contracts to relatives or to some guy in a bar who once went to London and only charges 0.05€/word." I never actually did much Spanish-English translation (most of my work is from Dutch, French and German) but I was intrigued and amused by the hubristic Spanish belief, then common, that nepotism and quality went hand in hand, and by the nemeses that inevitably followed.

Spain (507):

Spanish language (427):

Translation (465):


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