CATENGESP


FORKED TONGUE

(07/11/2008)

Aquest article no estÓ tradu´t al catalÓ; es mostra la seva versiˇ en anglŔs

On a cocked up Welsh roadsign and similar blunders.

CATALONIA TODAY ľ SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE


I'd hardly been back in the UK a day when I heard about the recent Swansea Signpost Cock-up. Given that bilingualism is mandatory for official signs in Wales, when the functionaries of this Welsh city found they needed to put up a new road sign, they sent off their English original to a translator, unaware that he wasn't available. They got a reply nonetheless and duly transcribed it, with the result that the said sign warns drivers in English that there is 'No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only,' while telling the same drivers in Welsh: 'I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated'.
The editor of a Welsh-language magazine pointed out that mistranslations of this kind are as commonplace as they are unnecessary (teeming as the country is with competent Welsh speakers). If such mistakes are made, he hinted, it was because the people responsible don't really care, Welsh being for them a complementary, minor-league vernacular to which only the most token of lip services need be paid.
Much the same attitude, indeed, was shown in Spain a few years ago by the Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo, whose Basque-language version of an anti-drug poster campaign had the ministry urging the youth of Euskadi to consume all the dope they could handle.
In Catalonia, at least, such blunders are rare, for the simple reason that nearly all the signs posted directly by the Spanish government are monolingual; according to its plaque, for example, the 'Delegaciˇn del Gobierno en la Comunidad Autˇnoma de Catalu˝a' is that and nothing more. A pity, because it'd be cute of directly underneath it read: 'Ara mateix no hi sˇc, a l'oficina. Si us plau, envieu-me els textos que voleu que tradueixi'.



- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programaciˇ: Nac -