¡Gracias y adiós!

I can't remember why I started this blog - most of my translation work has always been from Dutch, French and German - but I guess it had something to do with the various frustrations of living in Barcelona. However, I now live in London, and Spanish official and corporate gringoisms have improved beyond all recognition, so that the blog may henceforth be presumed dead. Many thanks to all readers and (financial) contributors during however many years have passed, and if you still haven't had enough, then you will find that I continue to do things with languages, including Spanish and Catalan, in my new public life as the Singing Organ-Grinder, followable at http://singingorgangrinder.com and https://twitter.com/elorganillero. x


Funding the hole in Spain's pension pot left by Rajoy's economic miracle

Maybe it's me, but my impression is that the quality of official EU translation has deteriorated quite sharply in the past few years. But I think we all know, in article 60 of the IORPs Directive, which the Commission is trying to smuggle past national parliaments without discussion or publicity on this busy summer weekend, what a "a Union legal framework" is and what "the Union may adopt measures" will shortly mean for Dutch pensioners in the face of the inevitable Spanish disaster:

(60) Since the objective of the proposed action, namely to create a Union legal framework covering institutions for occupational retirement provision, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale and effects of the action, be better achieved by the Union, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

There may still be money to be made betting on fiscal transfers as opposed to the collapse of the euro.


Benidorm: moderately poor translation as a selling point redux

I remember being rather disappointed when, aged 6, one of my first friends in England, the son of refugees from the new Islamism in South Asia, now the old Islamism in Tower Hamlets and Luton and Blackburn, explained to me that there were indeed streets and libraries in Pakistan. I have no idea what happened to BM, but I hope that he too, in this Starbucks world, would appreciate the sense of place and distance created by "THE 8:30 TILL 13:30 H." in the gallery over at El Confidencial.

If the Espanish are mistranslating in order to give us stupid monkeys something to talk about, then I wonder whether we Anglocabrones aren't also acting up for the Occidentalist, sensation-seeking locals:

The first thing an Englishman does on arriving in Benidorm is take off his shirt. Bumping into passersby with naked torsos, reddened by radiation, is commonplace. It doesn't make any difference how close the street is to the beach: taking their shirts off is a symbol of the temporary liberation which they have decided to undergo in a paradise in which the sun shines almost daily, and where one can watch Liverpool or Manchester United on a giant screen, seated on a terrace and with a pint of beer at a price of 1.5 euros.


"Barcelona Council misappropriated €250 million inheritance using mistranslation of German will"

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?


EU interpreter kicked senseless by admin colleague during Commission charity footie match


The Schuman Trophy has been a fixture on the Commission’s calendar for 20 years, with teams from each department playing each other and raising money for children’s charities.

But this year’s event — held on May 21 and sponsored by the likes of Volvo and Belgian financial services firm Easyvest — ended in chaos when a player from the Commission’s interpretation department and one from the administration department came to blows. The former ended up in hospital being treated for concussion.

It is said to have started when admin sneered, "You're nothing but a translator!"


Filho/a da puta

I fear a British employment tribunal is about to give undue weight to an exceptionally everyday Portuguese curse. But José "translator" Mourinho should be able to wriggle his way out of that, and if he can't then he can probably afford it.


The Royal Spanish Academy: patronising lardy-arsed suits pigging your tax euro?

The local branch of the Canute Society is campaigning against the (incorrect and correct) use of English in advertising:

The RAE "no es una startup." Confirmation in this video.

¡Numancia romana!




To the extent that she is not merely chucking us clickbait, Elena Horrillo's piece on supposedly untranslatable Spanish expressions suggests she hasn't read the English Wikipedia article, some of which has been translated into Spanish. Translating difficult expressions, sayings and proverbs like those cited was already a minor industry in the late Middle Ages (anyone heard of Erasmus?). I think the untranslatability meme is more recent, but I'd be happy to be proved wrong.



Useless extramural political appointees preferred to useless intramural political appointees for massively well-paid foreign gigs! Hard call, that, and the comments are a joy. Still, at least they didn't waste money by having their nephew translate the website:

(Try here if image doesn't embiggen correctly.)

To be fair, the Catalan, Galician and Basque versions are also in Spanish, and I think Turespaña regard Spain.info as the online point of entry for the blond and the brave punter.

You're a notoriously uncommunicative lot, but I'd be curious to know if any of you have had dealings with Turespaña in London, who don't exactly seem to welcome scrutiny of the way they spend Spanish taxes:

Our offices are open to visitors Monday to Thursday from 9.00 to 16.00 and Friday from 9.00 to 14.00. Visits are by previous arrangement only. Please call us on 020 7317 2011 to book an appointment.
64 North Row

Now, off to bribe a judge.


Vicente Fox

Man who can't write English got a piece of paper from Harvard Business School. No problem: been there, seen that. But same man has got 307K followers on Twitter - even more than the Singing Organ Grinder - many of whom attach symbolic, patriotic importance to his every utterance. If half of them donated one dollar cent on Crowdfunding, and Mrs could be prevented from spending it on yet more plastic surgery, then some expat translator in Guanajuato would happily be his slave for a month and the ex-president wouldn't look like a illiterate Mexican from a 1950s Hollywood B movie. Easy peasy.

  1. This's beautifull Marta my love! its birthday.What do you know about Love? Or you just know about hating . How sad!
  2. Marta. I love you an your birthday,PRECISELY BECAUSE YOU ARE MEXICAN. VIVA MEXICO.
  3. Trump, this is love, this is great moments, this is sharing,! that you don't know about. You are missing everything
  4. You now Trump,we don't like you. We are proud to share the party with mostly Americans that love MX
  5. Trump,celebrating Martha's birthday. Guess where? Cancun,And you will never be invited. You are not wellcome
  6.  En respuesta a 
    It's not just me, , it's every Mexican – within our country or abroad –, who are standing against this false prophet.
  7. Let's raise our voices against this dictator, | My piece published on the
  8. Trump,this beautiful Cancun. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.
  9. Trump has profound, insulting arrogance, he demands treatment of a king or dictator. Where is that great nation going? And the Republican?
  10. Trump is not sane to excersice power.He said "I am sorry losers and haters,but my intelectual coeficient is one of the highest -you now it-
  11. What we can expect from Trump, excessive shameless self promotion. If it works is HIM, if it fails is others.
  12. Trumps narcisism means he needs,excessive an permanent admiration. Personal behavior to explote others. Lack of empathy. He loves t provoke
  13. Pathetic,Trump suffers from, disruptive narcissist personality. Which means,the belive that he is special and unique.
  14. ¡Rompamos el Silencio ante la gran amenaza que representa para México y el mundo! vía
  15.  Retwitteado por 
    "Trump es un falso profeta que ha estado engañando con mentiras y posiciones ignorantes": a
  16. Taking by force the result of the hard and honest work of millions of Mexicans in the USA is an abomination.
  17. Trump, stop fighting with everybody. Stop destroying world relations. Document yourself,get information go back to school.
  18. Trump don't destroy,what we have built with so much effort. Do not destroy US world leadership.
  19. A war with Mexico is a lost proposition. What is happening with you. Why so much hate? What we done to you? Come and visit us!
  20. Trump,do you have any idea, what is the amount of remittances coming to US from abroad. Remember to Every action fallows a reaction.
  21. No podemos tomar como "broma" aquello que perjudique la estabilidad económica y social de nuestros paisanos.
  22. Trump is a looser, in business and in campaigning. He will never make it. He only is increasing hate ,violence. How can people stand him?
  23. If Trump thinks US will survive enclosed in 4 walls. The consequences is depression, unemployment, desperation, a isolation.
  24. Trump is absolutely crazy and ignorant.poor Republican party.poor US,
  25. How is it possible Trump's nonsense proposal to steal, take away money earned through decent work?
  26.  Retwitteado por 
    Obama: Trump "no sabe mucho" sobre política exterior
  27. Trump, you have united world leaders into action, to prevent further harming world relations. We leaders of the world hate this happening
  28. We the rest of the world, consider you Top Risk and we have declared "maximum alert"
  29. You have been so offensive to wemen that you are a real "MACHO" . Good for you! bad very bad for your egocentric aspirations.
  30. Hoy quiero agradecer a , gracias a él hoy me llena de orgullo ser MEXICANO.
  31. El muro de es uno mental que no le permite ver la grandeza de México y su gente
  32. Trump nobody except you & us tax payers will pay for the useless focking wall.
  33. Trump nobody likes you in or outside United States