This blog has speculated over the years that much translation in Spain has been commissioned primarily in order to enrich and/or reputation-launder the clan commissioning it, rather than to benefit the institution involved by delivering words in Furrinese that cost-effectively reflect the original text.
The case of the inheritance of the crony capitalist Julio Muñoz Ramonet (1912-91) is different. Here mistranslation of a detail in his will is said to have been crucial in ensuring that part of his ill-gotten fortune passed into the hands of the City of Barcelona, rather than those of his loathsome daughters.
According to El Confidencial, that detail was the specification that his Spanish loot be held post-mortem "unter dem Patronat der Stadt Barcelona," which means something like "bajo el patrocinio de la ciudad de Barcelona" ("under the patronage of the City of Barcelona") and which confers only obligations, but which the Council conveniently translated as "bajo el patronato de la ciudad de Barcelona" ("under trusteeship of the City of Barcelona") and confers rights as well as obligations (have your sic bag ready):
En alemán, la palabra 'patronat' significa ‘patrocinio’, mientras que el patronato como órgano tiene diferentes nombres: 'Stiftungkuratorium', 'Stiftungvorstand', 'Vorstands', 'Stiftungausschuss' o 'Ausschuss'. Y es importante tener en cuenta que, en castellano, la palabra ‘patronato’ tiene intencionalidad jurídica porque equivale al gobierno de la fundación. En alemán, en cambio, no tiene intencionalidad jurídica porque se refiere a patrocinio o 'esponsorización' y no al gobierno de la institución
Why did it take the heiresses 25 years to bring this up? I don't know, but who can resist a clientelist-on-clientelist war over patronal rights?
Labels: Ajuntament de Barcelona