2011/12/29

People, fucked translation is our opium, let's smoke it while we can

Various posts here have been devoted to encouraging fucked translation from Spanish as a brand differentiator, where linguistic sloth and incompetence transmit a sensation of cultural authenticity and other stuff I'm afraid I can't remember, and don't particularly care to.

For I suspect that most of you care very little for all that crap, and send in tiny masterpieces of imbecility because they offer a glowing wormpipe to a different dimension, which still holds out against the compliance, HR, and arsebandits of all creeds and nations, who seek to inflict on us cultural greyout in the form of yet more freaking autobahns, James Blake albums, and conventional linguistic usage.

Contributions from Catalan suburbia have been in rather short supply, so I'm delighted with the following trip into Alice's rabbit hole just erected (we're talking three metres, lads) in quadruplicate by Mataró Parc, a mall a few miles up the Maresme coast from Barcelona.

"Wellcome" is clearly a tribute to Henry Wellcome, pharmaceuticals entrepreneur and benefactor of the über-splendid Wellcome Trust, and an instruction to you to inhale from that Sherlock Holmesian hookah (sometimes spelling does count):


What happens inside is up to you, but on exit your farewell is what I take to be an echo of between-wars manly jargon, of the type found in boys magazines, still widely used in Gateshead men's clubs, and developed significantly by Bobby Charles (See you later, alligator/In a while, crocodile), whence the repartee of Middlesbrough men's clubs (See you later, masturbator/In a while, paedophile):


But interpretation is in the bloodshot eye of the beholder, so loosen up, and I'll help you find a defence lawyer.

[
Dear reader, I am so sorry for these outbursts. If challenged, I will recount that one of my mother-in-laws almost nailed me the other day with a plate of oysters, which survived a sea of cheap cava and ferocious curry to set up home in my intestines. I will then enter a plea of insanitary.
]

2011/12/23

Esperi el seu torn: Wait his turn

If I'd had less Campari, or rather if Campari were less toxic, I'd point you to a profusion of posts re the mistranslation of possessive pronouns in Romance languages, occasioned by confusing the third person with the polite second person form - su, or in this case el seu:


Since there is no stopping this train anyway, let me career into a Bad Santa punishment hallucination. Kindly soulds have been carefully explaining the grammatical differences between Iberian dialects and peripheral patois for at least 500 years, so some kind of beating is clearly in order, and maybe your man is concealed behind the boards, flogging all comers. If I've lost you, let me tell you that the real Bad Santa - Terry Zwigoff's - is, like his Ghost World and Crumb, simply splendid, and that its viewing might be of some comfort to anyone else condemned to spend the next few days dressed and burbling like a golf club arsehole.

(WTF do Sould Park do? I checked the website, but apart from figuring that they're in the sheds to the left when I go to Sant Antoni de Vilamajor I'm in the dark. Which may be my fault.)

(Thank you and a happy Götterdämmerung to Anon and all!)

(Discreet enquiry from upstairs: if this blog really has several hundred readers, why have only six converted themselves into members, or whatever it's called?)

(I actually like golf. One of my first steps on the path to dishonourable poverty consisted in stealing golf balls from the nooks and crannies of a rural course and reselling them at a discount.)

2011/12/15

Is Spain a massive nihilist literary experiment?

Lenox comments on Almería's latest tourism whizz: the incomprehensible in pursuit of the inexistent, perhaps. For some reason this recalled Milorad Pavić's Dictionary of the Khazars, a wearisome metaphor for the failure of Serbia, which I wouldn't necessarily recommend - I can't even remember whether I was given the male or the female edition. Some of the Khazars are said to have made it to Spain, but it would be hard to blame the sins of Pavić and Spanish public administrations on them.

Update: Candide says buy, so here's a link.

2011/12/08

Vitoria, golfing Mecca, or Golgotha of the ecologists/indignados?

Carlos links to an interesting story about the sodomy committed on Vitoria's new slogan by some no doubt well-paid functionary, "donde el verde es capital" becoming, word for word, "where the green is capital."

I think we can all agree that, in a miserable start to their meaningless year as European Green Capital, they have failed to communicate the idea of ecological commitment. But I wonder whether, as Martin Simonson suggests to El Correo, the result is likely to attract golfers. Surely if you wanted to puff the marvels of your putting green and fairways you'd need the plural, "where the greens are capital," and for the audio version you'd call Terry Wogan.

In English I think it is generally true that "the [noun] is [adjective]" is used instead of "the [adjective] [noun]" in order to focus audience attention on the adjective. (Grandma experts may mutter about attributive and predicative position.) Classic imagined examples involving "capital":
  • "You are aware," asked Michael Gove of Paul Evans, "that the offence is capital?"
  • "The expenditure is all capital - this is a splendid gift to future generations," said the Mayor of Vitoria as he cut the ribbon on a new 18-hole course adjoining his weekend residence.

Perhaps their message is that any English-speaking greenshirts who presume to occupy the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca or impede high-speed train line construction will in future be hung, drawn and quartered. And so say all of us.

I have no idea where Mariano Rajoy plans to save 30 billion euros, but genuine translators will surely be unaffected.

Curious times.