Chez Lexicool, via MM, Katia, who, using Facebook in English, described herself as being in a civil union with Juan, only to have a lucky escape from her mother-in-law, who, using Facebook in Spanish, had understood that this was in some sense a homosexual union, and was just about to order some educational literature from Amazon.es when light dawned.
This minor disaster is an unfortunate side effect of an initiative this time last year which, with the aim of doing well by doing good, broadened the repertoire of relationships available to include the options “in a civil union” and “in a domestic partnership.” In many jurisdictions same-sex marriage may be the most common end facilitated by civil union legislation, but being able to form a legally recognised, affectionate partnership without taking on board marriage’s historical baggage is valued by a wider public. So it’s curious that the translation “unión civil” was rejected.
How does Facebook translate its UI? Is there some element of inverse correlation floating out there between the profitability of an enterprise and its willingness to pay for translation?
- 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.
- The Cali Word Games, plus a Civil War gag from Alfonso Guerra
Lenox, who has been discussing the role (roll-on, roll-off?) of Google Translate in quality public service provision, has passed along this little gem from the wider reaches of linguistic dilettantism – Colombia, where 1,221 medals were cast for the World Games without wasting precious time on letter-checking:
Lost Letters Departments have of course swept the world
- When did you born? Birth, agency and Whorfian politicology
Wine-buff Víctor de la Serna (via Carlos Ferrero) has nailed Domecq Bodegas for an amusing slip on the otherwise impeccable site, “When did you born?” I haven’t really looked for literary or scientific evidence, and I’m pretty ignorant of non-me dialectal forms, but I’d hazard that this form is actually quite common among some groups of …
- Mayoress´ Gretting
What does the English translation of the official presentation website for Vinoble 2010 tell us? That the Mayoress of Jerez cares more about how her hair looks than about how her words are interpreted? That her administration is as thick as pigshit and happy to wallow in it? Well, not necessarily.
Our etymology department has been …