Not fucked translation

The Daily Mail and Tesco and various translation pundits just booked themselves into the nether stretches of the intestines of linguistic hell. From the Mule:

I’m not hungry, thanks! Tesco brands Finest spaghetti bolognese ‘the balls of grandad’

  • Packaging features signs from an Italian market advertising ‘Le Palle de Nonno’ and ‘Coglioni di Mulo’
  • They translate as ‘the balls of grandad’ and ‘donkey’s b*******’
  • Tesco apologises, admitting ‘we didn’t check translation’

Both grandad’s and mule bollocks are, of course, well-known generics whose names are bestowed on morphological grounds, and you wouldn’t put either in a bolognese, so it’s difficult to know where to begin.

There’s no mileage in commenting that the Daily Mail’s exclamations ill befit a site written about monstrous tits by monstrous tits for monstrous tits, since all three parties generally appear deliriously happy with the transaction.

Nor is there in noting that, while Italy this lunchtime appears on the verge of becoming a failed state in the sense still unmentionable in Spain, at least it isn’t cursed with a mafia plague of the proportions of Tesco.

But this is turning into a hateful, stupid post, so I’m going to leave you and return to a world blessedly free of retarded, ignorant, clickbait content-milling: The Guardian.

(H/t MM)

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Posted on

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

Barcelona (492):

Daily Mail (3): The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust and published in London.

Donkey (7):

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.

Italy (67):

Spain (508):

Spanish language (428):

Tesco (3): Tesco plc, trading as Tesco, is a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer with headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom.

Translation (467):


  1. It would be quite unlike you, on the other hand, to use sensationalist headlines and $-grabbing keywords.

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