The world is a big place getting smaller every day as information flows seamlessly from one language to another. Until it doesn’t, I mean.
I’m going to bring you a regular roundup of the latest translation screwups because when it comes to translation, quality assurance shouldn’t be optional. But when it is, translation can be funny. And laughing at other people’s mistakes is the best medicine.
And you can help. Send us the latest global gaff for top billing and a big prize. Well, not that big.
Town Has a Clitoris Festival Courtesy of Google Translate
Not only is Google Translate free, sometimes it gives you more than you bargained for. The town of As Pontes in Spain’s northwest publicized its rapini festival celebrating the local vegetable. However, the text translated from Galician to Spanish by Google Translate incorrectly identified Galician as Portuguese. The result of the mixup was the town’s website inviting visitors to the “Feria clítoris” as “The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine.” For years Galicians have been pointing out that their language is not Portuguese. What did we learn? Not necessarily.
Irish Cemetery Error Carved in Stone
Talk about a translator’s worst nightmare. Glasnevin Cemetery had to correct the Irish spelling for the 1916 Easter Rising on their Remembrance Wall honoring the dead. The Trust also got flak for their non-historically accurate Irish translation of a 1915 speech that is performed at the Glasnevin Cemetery every day. Might some Irish speakers be rolling in their graves?
Spanish-Speaking Voters in Kansas Get Screwed, Some Prevented from Voting
Kansas’s most recent official Spanish-language voter guide was not up to scratch. Not only did the guide from the Kansas Secretary of State provide the wrong voter registration dates but it didn’t inform voters that passports could be used as voter identification, like the English-language guide did. What do you think: Is this a case of incompetence or someone’s secret agenda?
Moral of the day: Proofreading and quality assurance are integral parts of any successful translation process! (Just ask the Galicians.)