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Apologies to other as yet unpublished contributors: I’m working through a number of backlogs.
- 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 you where you are. The Catalan and the Spanish are spelt wrong, the third language is probably Occitan (which most French tourists don’t understand), and the English is correct but casual. (Of course this …
- “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 line here, where quite large numbers of people still believe that Stalin (substitute Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Companys etc as you will) was a benevolent (although misunderstood) genius. All’s quiet on the domestic front this morning, so I just want to spend a short while correcting some of Poch’s errors of fact and interpretation.
- 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 with curious haircuts than from guys who have dispensed with the razor guard altogether. Mein Kampf etc are familiar but I don’t really know the “left” national-socialist equivalents. Here, however, is the Stalinist machine in full …