González Byass: You will be a message

If you are good (or if you are bad but unsackable) you will eventually get sent on a course where you will eat and drink as much as you can while some loon repeats to you glib mantras derived from Ciceronian oratory. One of these, “you are the message”, turns up slightly disguised on the “thanks” page of the González Byass website:

Customer focus or fucked translation? I’ll get back to you with the answer, sortly.

Contributed by Warren Edwardes, who writes about food and wine, and would be delighted to sell you some of the latter.

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Last updated 02/05/2018

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.

González Byass (1): González Byass is one of Spain's most well-known sherry bodegas.

Spain (1881):

Spanish language (504):

Translation (788):


  1. I'm not sure it's a translation. One very curious mistake that I have noticed over the years among my students is that they confuse 'be' and 'have'. Why they do so I cannot imagine, but that they do so is a fact.

    It looks to me like bad construction by a native Spanish-speaker.

  2. Strange what Peter says. I guess that's just with the very beginners or children?

    But we're losing the whole Zen-ish philosophy behind it. And there's also a book by one Erich Fromm: "Haben oder Sein". So it's not only Zen. It's fucking fundamental!

    Which brings us back to drinking. Esta cuestión tiene solera.

  3. Oups.

    Actually I don't think there's any hidden philosophical question. If it's not alcohol induced, we now learn that it comes from some general cultural or specifical linguistic *bias*.

    Like the "e" they always introduce before an initial "s". I think I have observed that even teachers (if Spanish) do so. And it's really tough trying to stop them (all the speakers) doing so.

    On a little side note: Peter, I disagree that this is not about translation: not doing the translation/checking professionally (i.e. letting a non-native do foreign texts) is entirely an issue of fucked translation.

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