2011/01/21

With a FROB in the throat: but what's wrong with moderately fucked translation?

At a crucial moment in Spain's fortunes, the bank restructuring fund (Fondo de Reestructuración Ordenada Bancaria, FROB) has come up with a lousily translated Powerpoint (h/t) explaining what's being done.

But anyone with half a brain can figure out what they're trying to say (partly because it's so bland, and unrevealing of the crucial numbers), so its linguistic errors will disturb translators rather than investors. That's not because the former necessarily suffer any cephalic deficit, but rather because I think they tend to emphasise guild over client interests.

I suppose that in some circumstances a fucked translation might be preferable to a fixed one, being closer to the horse's mouth. Two interesting cases spring sprightly to mind: Schoenberg's great unfinished opera, Moses und Aron; and Cervantes' and Motteux's Quijote, with Motteux lurking between three languages.

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