To the extent that she is not merely chucking us clickbait, Elena Horrillo’s piece on supposedly untranslatable Spanish expressions suggests she hasn’t read the English Wikipedia article, some of which has been translated into Spanish. Translating difficult expressions, sayings and proverbs like those cited was already a minor industry in the late Middle Ages (anyone heard of Erasmus?). I think the untranslatability meme is more recent, but I’d be happy to be proved wrong.
- 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.
- Is the concept that certain concepts are untranslatable itself untranslatable (FR->EN)?
The Vocabulaire européen des philosophies has now been versioned in English as Dictionary of untranslatables and Spanish as Diccionario de intraducibles. Here Mark Liberman cites Adam Gopnik, who seems to think the book is self-refuting Sapir-Whorfism, and here Jacques Lezra, coordinator of the English-language version, seems to be indulging the following incoherence: linguistic relativism is kind-of racist, but out
- A judge orders materials at the Barcelona Foreigner Internment Centre to be translated into languages the inmates can’t read
Judge Joaquín Aguirre has identified a problem: many Senegalese etc can’t speak their national language, French, to a level that would enable them to understand the information given to them. But his well-meaning solution – translating into Wolof or whatever – is actually worse: state education in for example Dakar is conducted in French, and
- Spanish noun-adjective semantic ambiguity
None of the immediate context enables one to say whether the South Tangier refugee relief committee was anxious to grasp Helena Maleno’s breasts à la Egyptienne because they read her as a Spanish prostitute (adjective española classifies noun puta (restrictive)), or as a fucking Spaniard (adjective puta describes more fully the noun española (non-restrictive)):