Me speakee inglés

Carles Miró’s new blog links to the defunct fum i estalzí, which I also used to read, and which carried Johnson’s salutory tag: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.”

Money also drives translation projects, and only thieves and fools cost and conduct them in a way that lacks clear and defensible commercial goals. Unfortunately, a recurring trait in the publicly-funded and -run sector of the Spanish tourist industry, one which is only explicable in terms of larceny and lunacy, is the use of the local language and local media to promote local wonders to outsiders who neither speak that language nor consume those media.

My impression is that this is particularly prevalent in Catalonia – see for example a couple of rants re Ripoll Council – but embezzlement and imbecility are not imprisoned by the waters of the Ebro or the Noguera, and those of you resident outside of the Promised Land will probably be able to rattle off dozens of other such cases.

Now Lenox has come up with an intriguing variant: tourist advertising in the local media in the expat language:

… a full-page advert from the tourist division of the Diputación de Almería, advertising the delights of our province. Worse yet, it was in English! ‘There’s a lot to find when you get lost in Almería’.

This will do nothing to increase tourism, and demonstrates, perhaps in a way that even a Spanish libel judge could understand, that the budget is in the hands of thieves and/or fools.

What it may, however, demonstrate is some dawning in the collective consciousness of the Andalusian mafia of the notion that, with a view to maintaining the status quo, expats qualify for emotional and, for the fortunate few, financial kickbacks in the same way as other interest groups, and the hell with the economy. Perhaps that’s the closest to progress we’re going to get.

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