2010/11/08

Fucked translation, not Hitler's fault, and not without merit

Studiolum over at the excellent Poemas del río Wang has dug up a German-Russian lexicon, published in 1942 by Mittler & Sohn for use by Germany's armed forces, which introduces itself thus:

The war has demonstrated the simplicity of the means with which the German soldier can make himself understood anywhere. The correct words, juxtaposed without regard to grammar, are almost always adequate.

I doubt whether Hitler's Spanish troops on the Eastern Front, the anti-Stalinist División Azul, were as well equipped. The Spanish had perfectly good linguistic tools at that stage, not least because of Soviet participation in their Civil War, but the evidence accumulated on this blog suggests that in Spain dictionaries have often been misused, underused or simply ignored.

And who's to say that the outsights resulting from this approach are any more damaging than the insights achieved by more careful folk? Maybe all you miserable multilingual pedants out there should consider offering your clients hilariously fucked translation as a means of relaxing communications and increasing brand recognition. Just don't ring the Wehrmacht.

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Apologies to other as yet unpublished contributors: I'm working through a number of backlogs.
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