Fucked translation, not Hitler’s fault, and not without merit

Studiolum over at the excellent Poemas del río Wang has dug up a German-Russian lexicon, published in 1942 by Mittler & Sohn for use by Germany’s armed forces, which introduces itself thus:

The war has demonstrated the simplicity of the means with which the German soldier can make himself understood anywhere. The correct words, juxtaposed without regard to grammar, are almost always adequate.

I doubt whether Hitler’s Spanish troops on the Eastern Front, the anti-Stalinist División Azul, were as well equipped. The Spanish had perfectly good linguistic tools at that stage, not least because of Soviet participation in their Civil War, but the evidence accumulated on this blog suggests that in Spain dictionaries have often been misused, underused or simply ignored.

And who’s to say that the outsights resulting from this approach are any more damaging than the insights achieved by more careful folk? Maybe all you miserable multilingual pedants out there should consider offering your clients hilariously fucked translation as a means of relaxing communications and increasing brand recognition. Just don’t ring the Wehrmacht.

Apologies to other as yet unpublished contributors: I’m working through a number of backlogs.

Similar posts

  • Rehabilitation of Hitler’s “traitors”
    German and Spanish approaches to rehabilitation of what may or may not have been anti-fascists.
  • Fucked translation of the month
    Congratulations to Begur, a council just over the Spanish border from France, which provides four languages on its welcome board telling
  • “The USSR saved Europe from fascism”
    Stalin apologist Rafael Poch has published an article in La Vanguardia which belittles, falsifies, misrepresents the Normandy landings. That’s a common
  • Fixing the rootless cosmopolitans
    Most of the people I know regard themselves as left-wing, so I’ve heard this form of apocalyptic xenophobia more from guys
  • Chistabín
    Currently doing a bit of literary translation out of one very strange dialect into another, and here’s something not so completely
Last updated 08/11/2010

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

Barcelona (1399):

English language (462):

Föcked Translation (414): 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 (1881):

Spanish language (504):

Translation (788):


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *