The legislation affecting the Catalan language is different depending on what state you are speaking

One of the inconveniences of living or doing business on Mallorca over the last decade has been language legislation which, unless like Palma-based Air Berlin you are big enough to ignore the law, has required all (ie not just customer-facing) public employees to speak fluent Catalan and all businesses to provide all consumer information and, where your head count > 2, Catalan-speaking staff. (Similar, Franco-era legislation exists for Spanish, but it is not afaik enforced.)

The perception that this stick is too big and perhaps illegitimate (not to mention economically damaging), and that perhaps carrots have been rather neglected, cannot but be accentuated by the piss-poor translation that has gone into this effort to explain language and legislation by the Consejo de Mallorca/Consell de Mallorca, the island council. If they don’t take The Language seriously, then why should anyone else?

The title quote is surreal rather than grammatically incorrect:

Do I hate you? No! Not hate?
Hate’s a word far too intense,
Too alive, to speak a state
Of supreme indifference.
Once behind your eyes I thought
Worlds of love and life to see;
Now I see behind them nought
but a soulless vacancy.
(William Wetmore Story, “Black eyes“, Graffiti d’Italia (1868)


(H/t the excellent Mr Clarke.)

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

Barcelona (490):

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English language (429):

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 (505):

Spanish language (426):

Translation (464):


  1. The German version is even worse, and that's keeping in mind that "Mal.lorca " is practically a Bundesland.

    Or do we see here some passive-aggressive resistance of the few remaining locals against northern colinialism?

  2. Hey, your "If they don't take The Language seriously, then why should anyone else?" has made a great quote for my latest entry. That is just the way to put it.

    Duly credited.

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