Servicios / Tualet

With alien hordes roaming the streets, desperate for a leak, Cazorla Council cracked open the piggy bank and commissioned this marvellous sign:

But is the target audience English- or French-speaking? And, since the verbal and iconic messages aren't coordinated (users don't immediately associate the arrow and icon on the left with the words on the right), how many of these needy foreigners actually end up serving poetic justice by pissing against the door of the municipal consumer information officer?

(Many thanks for this and other photos to El Ciruco, and apologies for the delay in following up. Suggested charity: the WWF, in whichever incarnation you wish.)


We keep our fine wines in old boots

Avert your eyes, epilepsy sufferers, as the Flash animations load, but stay on for the fucked goodies on the Bohórquez family estates, "where the brave bull wanders", "the horse gallops to his whim", and everybody else simply skips to their Lou as the sun withdraws discretely behind the "intricate skirted passages of ever bloomed plant pots" and the water, "always omnipresent[,] confer[s] this garden full with mystery the spirit and beauty of the Moorish Andalusia."

Over at the bullring, we find Elvira Madigan, which is to say a cheesy flamenco take on the slow movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K467. Do not mock: "Elvira Madigan (December 4, 1867 – July 20, 1889) was a Danish tightrope walker and trick rider, whose illicit affair and dramatic death at the hands of her lover were the subject of a famous Swedish film from 1967". So she would have certainly felt at home in this home of sport-lovers, "where bull and horse run even to a singular architecture without paragon in any other part of the world, unalterable to the passing of time." That Fermín Bohórquez has "a mount capable of dancing with a pretty Andalusian woman" does not mean that he would object to it dancing with a dazzling Dane, even if over at Activities she might regretfully have been informed that rejoneo is for gentlemen only.

So all well and fuckèd--even Scheherazade might have blanched at the howlers committed here--but just don't drink any of their produce: "Old oak boots keep a treasure, the Sherry wine that the Bohórquez Family raises and keeps with zeal for the great occasions."

Due to this blogger's inefficiency we're now a fortnight away from December 1st, World AIDS Day. But if you want to help children in southern Africa who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, then you can donate to Starfish Greathearts Foundation at any time. Like now, for example. Think of it as an early Christmas present.

I rather liked the translation of the Swedish ballad in Wikipedia:

Unhappy things still happen.
Even in our time,
Saddest of all is this
What happened to Elvira Madigan.

Lovely was she as an angel:
Eyes of blue and cheeks of red,
Waist as slender as a flower;
But she got a cruelly dead.

What an bad girl she must have been, to run away Lieutenant Count Bengt Edvard Sixten Sparre, who was married:

But, you see, their cash ran out,
Nought to live on!
To avoid poverty’s fate
Home they built inside a grave.



"the Virgen Moroneta"

A moreneta is a little black woman. English speakers might assume that the moroneta Julià Travel is going to take you to visit is a stupid little woman, but Base de bandades says she is the patron saint of all Catalonia's Moroccans. (There's no direct attribution to Julià Travel on the site, but the texts are almost identical to those used on their site, where they hope to demonstrate that not being able to spell Baracelona Barcelona does not mean you know absolutely nothing about the place.)

Casablanca de Llobregat

Rather off-topic, and of regional appeal:


"one of the most rooted wine families in Jerez"

The Ayuntamiento de Jerez gets EU money to assist with tourist promotion, but professional translators won't work with it because it never pays on time. So instead of employing someone who can speak English and knows how to use a spellcheck, translation jobs seem to go to some witless illiterate at town hall who may, due to family connections, have passed the street cleaning oposiciones. The original is cheesy, but this is a Titanic of a translation they've cobbled together for Bodegas Valdivia's Villa del Duque:

Villa del Duque is an unique and singular place. Thought as the guest house of one of the most rooted wine families, It has hosted most of the vibrant and active society from Jerez and all over the world, around its Wines and Brandies.

You will find, in this historic place, ten stunning bedrooms and magnificiants lounges, perfect for meetings or social events. With its bodega, Villa del Duque offers you the opportunity to be the real protagonist of our magic world.

Context here. To add to the general misery, Villa del Duque's website doesn't work on the Google Chrome browser.

(Thanks to Anon, who suggests that given the time of year you might like to make a contribution to The Royal British Legion's Help for Heroes appeal.)

"Language Policy at Catalonia"

A delightful mistranslation on the Generalitat's translation page (you'll probably need to click through to the English version if your language default is Spanish or Catalan). (Thanks JD)


No dog launching in Algorfa, Alicante

The chief of police of this small tourist town has apparently published an English version of the municipal bylaws. Among other things he wants you to do is to "Alter public order and tranquillity with scandals, disturbances, brawls and noise." Will fucked translation constitute an adequate defence for British hooligans? Is the council--whose income from urbanismo has dropped like a brick--looking for ways of persuading foreigners to get themselves fined?


Plague of "Our Mrs of"

MM points out that "Our Mrs of" is a popular variant on the web (289 ghits), although still not quite as popular as "Our Lady of" (7,360,000 ghits). "Our mistress of" doesn't sound quite as strange to native readers of dismal Tolkien epigonism, but let's use the net to promote "Our Mrs of", "Jesus Christ Our Guv", and so forth.

Do You this FC Barcelona should let Messi's live his Dream

Barcelona Reporter needs to fine-tune that poll question.


Our Mrs. of Gracia

Wikipedia has found a homely name for a church in Carmona, Seville province.

Fucked society

The most heartbreaking experience I've had recently was watching a smallholder digging up the vines he planted during the 60s and 70s boom. Brussels used to pay him subsidies to plant, but now they've said that he'll only be able to earn money by destroying what they regard as his means of production but which for him are the story of his life--these, put in when his daughter was born, those, over there, when his nephew got married.

Andalusian government is not shy of irony, so while the brochure produced by the Ayuntamiento of Jerez de la Frontera with the support of Cajasol for their Fiestas de la Vendimia (Harvest Festival), is written in dreadful English and embraces a visual style which could easily and happily have been abandoned twenty years ago, I'd just like to focus on one little feature:

That's right, they've spent what is probably a quite considerable sum of money on viability studies, landscape gardening, ongoing care etc etc to plant 200 completely ordinary vines on a completely ordinary roundabout. Who gets the quota? Will an underpass be built to prevent locals being killed as they harvest? Where and when will the buck stop?

(Many thanks to Anon for the scans. If you don't want your name mentioned here, I'm also perfectly happy to link to the charity of your choice. Or something like that.)


Weal chop

"Txuletón estilo vasco" is the original in this restaurant in the Eixample/Ensanche, Barcelona, so it's not a wreal chop for these hungry times, nor a flogging and amputation SM dish, but a Pickwickian morsel:

"Well," said Mr. Weller, "... Ain't you a goin' to sign it?"
"That 's the difficulty," said Sam; "I don't know what to sign it."
"Sign it, Veller," said the oldest surviving proprietor of that name.
"Won't do," said Sam. "Never sign a walentine with your own name."
"Sign it 'Pickvick,' then," said Mr. Weller; "it's a wery good name, and a easy one to spell."
"The wery thing," said Sam. "I could end with a werse; what do you think?"
"I don't like it, Sam," rejoined Mr. Weller. " I never know'd a respectable coachman as wrote poetry, 'cept one, as made an affectin' copy o' werses the night afore he wos hung for a highway robbery; and he was only a Cambervell man, so even that's no rule."
But Sam was not to be dissuaded from the poetical idea that had occurred to him, so he signed the letter,
"Your love-sick


Hotel chain adapting weather forecasts to client expectations on language basis?

Hotel Medium Confort on Travesera de Gracia, Barcelona has a little display device on the reception counter which tells you in several languages where you are, the time, and tomorrow's weather. Last night the mixed Spanish/Catalan version was forecasting "soleado", while the English version had it at "cloudy". Predicted temperature and air pressure were identical.


"Education for the Citizenship": deliberately poor translation from the Valencian government?


Just seen on CNN+, a Valencian teacher teaching central government's controversial new Educación para la Ciudadanía. In Spanglish, as required by her bosses. So the first words she writes on the blackboard are "Education for the Citizenship and Human Rights". Even Google Language Tools translates it correctly as "Education for Citizenship". The Valencian government's website gets the title right, but the damage is already done.

The content on the website is poorly written and plagued by poor and inaccurate translation. With very few Valencian teachers (or students) speaking decent English, there seems little chance of anything fruitful arising from the initiative. This may for party-political reasons be what the Valencian government wants, but it's difficult to imagine foreign businesses looking at this and saying, Hey, the Valencians are really taking education seriously, let's invest.

What a bunch of freaking clowns.


Darkness world ... Proposes to delete all lights and if possible all electrical appliances, to our planet can 'breathe'

More poorly translated save-the-planet spam:

Darkness world: On September 17, 2008 from 21:50 to 22:00 hours.
Proposes to delete all lights and if possible all electrical appliances, to our planet can 'breathe'.
if the answer is massive, energy saving can be brutal.
Only 10 minutes, and see what happens.
Yes, we are 10 minutes in the dark, we light a candle and simply
Be looking at it, we breathe and our planet.
Remember that the union is strength and the Internet can be very
power and can
Even do something big.

Moves the news, if you have friends to live in other countries send to them.

If they don't care about their message, why should we?

Highly recommended for ... foreign notorious visits, he is the sole bullfighter able to make the audience vibrate in a convention or congress

The organisation that pimped Aznar to Deloitte can't afford a translator:

There is only one person capable of combining intellectual stature, communication abilities, and bullfighting mastership: Luis Francisco Esplá. Highly recommended for international meetings and foreign notorious visits, he is the sole bullfighter able to make the audience vibrate in a convention or congress.

As a professional bullfighter, Esplá is still on active service. He is regarded as a "Maestro" who has reinstated the essences of bullfighting in every gesture, wearing characteristic XIXth century old-fashioned suits, a very clever strategic positioning in the coliseum when facing the animal and a unique ability to adapt to every different bull, even daring himself to move away from standard current practices. This art he also applies to his speeches.


Fashion retailer GURU on Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona announces: SALE (sael) (nuon; plular sales)

Guess which of the following didn't make it into the budget:
  • Retail space on Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona: €2,000m² per annum (Cushman & Wakefield are commonly assumed to make up these numbers as part of their commercial strategy, but whatever)
  • English-speaker to stop our advertisement making us look like complete fucking arseholes: €40 one-off


Visit us and it will be able to see a Warehouse Jerezana, small, but of great captivation and simplicity, personal and nice treatment

Bodegas Almocaden goes beyond the usual annoying Flash and cursor-stalker. All a bit sad: I've never drunk anything by them, but I suspect it's pretty good. Unfortunately there's more to life than product.


Fucked translation of the month

Congratulations to Begur, a council just over the Spanish border from France, which provides four languages on its welcome board telling you where you are. The Catalan and the Spanish are spelt wrong, the third language is probably Occitan (which most French tourists don't understand), and the English is correct but casual. (Of course this is more stupid illiteracy and fucked interculturality than fucked translation, but an exception needed to be made.)


a young and dynamic structure that bets by an educational formation and search of quality and advanced methods

To be fair to the University of Lérida, the general opinion is that they don't do anything worth translating properly.

This establishement has claims and complaint book at your disposition if you so request it.

Many thanks to Lenox Napier, who says this has been inflicted on businesses in Almería since at least the 1970s, and who notes the loving care with which fonts were matched when phone numbers changed from 6 to 9 digits.



It's difficult to imagine a European medieval library where no one spoke Latin. The modern Biblioteca de Catalunya appears to be devoid of English speakers.


"the religious women of Vera Cruz are occupied in teaching grammar to the parrots of Alvarado"

Critique of John Pinkerton's Modern geography (1807) in The Edinburgh Review: Or Critical Journal:

The original is, 'Hay en esta cuidad unas beatas que ganan su vida ensenando [sic] a hablar a los loros,' — i.e. by teaching parrots to speak. Mr Pinkerton has probably seen hablar in the title-page of some spelling book, and supposed that it meant grammar.

I don't think anyone has suggested recently that parrots are able to acquire grammar in any sense. Were the True Cross beguines the only ones to earn a living training birds to talk clean?


Bread made of Catalan woman

Someone once told the English that "tapas bar" was Spanish for "exotic chav drinking hole". El Sabio in Winchester has taken Alfonso, our royal name, in vain and concocted a quasi-Spanish menu that proves nothing more than that they are perfectly suited to running an English-style tapas bar. Pan de Catalana (which they believe is made with "sweet cherry tomatoes") is our favourite, but there are plenty of other entries in the illiterate peasant stakes. For example: "Aceitunas Mixta" might taste better if the adjective agreed, "Albondígas" have a dangerous rear lurch, "Croketas de queso Manchego y Champinones" revolutionise Spanish orthography and phonetics (here are some ñs for El Sabio: ññññññññññ), "Tortilla Espanola" demonstrates that they can't even spell the name of the country they are screwing, we figure "Paella de Vendors" must really be a rice dish made with estate agents, "Champinones Sacteador" looks like the champiñones have suffered the attentions of the Inquisition (they may simply have been salteados, however), and "Real Ali Oli" isn't a sauce invented by Cassius Clay but proof that they can't spell in Catalan either. To end on a positive note, their "Crème Catalana" not only demonstrates a daring combination of correctly spelled French and Spanish/Catalan, but succeeds in insulting the entire Catalan establishment by describing their work as a "traditional Spanish dessert". Highly recommended.


I assure you that if you trust us, you will not regret

Lenox has more here:

In Essan Translations we work with specialized translators whose job is excellent. Therefore, if you need translation services, whether translation of documents, web pages, books, letters, etc., as well as searches of information in other languages, altogether with the corresponding translation, please, do not doubt in communicate it to us. I assure you that if you trust us, you will not regret.

Essan Translations is based in Valencia and the piss-poor quality offered by them and many of their compatriot translation agencies is one of the reasons Spanish institutions give translation contracts to relatives or to some guy in a bar who once went to London.

This is pleasent to walk there the night

The excellent Lenox Napier points us to http://www.ibiza-tourism.net/. This is one of a legion of sites dedicated to spamourism--posting ostensibly useful, functionally redundant tourism information with the sole genuine purpose of harvesting Google adclicks. The domain registree, who is apparently based in France, is too thick or too lazy to use machine translation, so we get stuff like:

This is the walk situated around the San Antoni bay (Badia de Portamny). This is pleasent to walk there the night. At one end of the walk is situated Sa Punta de Moli (place where an old mill is maintained) and at the other, this is San Antonio center with a splendid fountain which rate its movements with the the music diffused on the public place.



The Culture in Barcelona

The actual content is now in decent translation, but the site infrastructure remains medieval. I liked Mail of Culture, too.