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.

Tom has sent over a lovely piece from Ara re the use by the Catalan regional government of Google Translate to provide the English and Spanish versions of, which, aka, and in conjunction with a considerable international PR campaign, appears to be designed to pave the way to full independence, or at least create that impression for nationalists open to more radical political options.

The link to the English version has this very moment disappeared from the site, but Ara has a fine collection of pearls (e.g. “Joseph and Mary Pilgrim” for “Josep Maria Pelegrí”), and I loved the vaguely Rhodesian bit here about “raise our taxes, own a farm and have been able to modify the laws in Parliament.”

So… Do we only care about the economic stats, or do words, well-considered and -translated, have some residual worth? Should the state economise on translation for non-voters and play to the gallery by for example reducing motoring costs? What is the implication of also using MT to provide a version of the site in Barcelona’s lingua franca, Spanish? Would Merkel finance a farm for every Catalan?

I haven’t got the answers.

Similar posts

Posted on

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

Barcelona (492):

Catalonia (141):

English language (432):

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.

Generalitat de Catalunya (7): The Government of Catalonia or the Generalitat de Catalunya is the institution under which the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia is politically organised.

Spain (509):

Spanish language (428):

Translation (467):


  1. Reality beats fiction, again. The Catalan regional Gvt. is shedding out millions to the crony press, but doesn't have the couple of thousand euros it would take to promote it's own ideas beyond the IEBL.

    I'm also reminded of that commenter on the Catalan blogosphere who ironically demanded "independence, and new tires for my tractor".

    This is Animal Farm, any which way you look at it.

Your email address will not be published.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