Clearing through truckloads of papers the other day, I came upon a priceless handwritten note from last summer that I’d given up for lost.
Vinegar bug holes
Rice with stroke
Tail of quick shave to the oven
Codfish to the old one
These gems were from the English version of the menu at a restaurant whose name I do not recall (location: Barcelona’s Avinguda de Gaudí). Okay, it’s very funny, and we did fall around laughing, especially as my dinner companion of that day is a teacher of translation and interpreting at the university.
But beyond the laughter, it’s sad. I’m going to say it here, for the umpteenth time, publicly. The problem is not translation software in itself. Machines do what they do. What is sad is that there’s such a widespread lack of understanding of language, of how it works, and how translating from one to another works. There are plenty of highly qualified and skilled translators out there. But if you must use translation software for your bits and pieces, if you don’t have enough of the target language to recognise rubbish when you see it, surely it’s a no-brainer to find a native speaker to check it over? One hilariously meaningless menu may not make or break your business, but it’s the thin end of the wedge.
Let us know if you can figure out what the above delicacies are. And the title of this blog (taken from the menu shown here.)