The World Is Not Enough
I have nothing but respect and appreciation for people, businesses, and institutions that take the effort to translate their signs into Spanish. Whether they do it out of respect, appreciation, or just business savvy, I can’t help but feel somewhat flattered.
But every once in a while, you run into translations that are such a disaster, they bring to mind the scene from the movie “The Mexican” where Brad Pitt asks a crew of Mexican laborers: “take me in your el truck-o to the next el town-o”.
We ran into one such botched translation today at the Children’s Museum. In the newly unveiled Clifford the Dog room, I ran into exhibit A shown in the picture below on the left. My humble translation of the Spanish translation would go something like this: “Manufacture your own music! A step in phase with Clifford and the friends. Push a button on the wall to achieve beginning.”
In this case it is clear that someone ran the original English text through a translation algorithm (ala Babel Fish) and the output was not validated by a person who’s fluent in Spanish. Unfortunate. What’s interesting, though, is that there were other signs also translated into Spanish, but quite flawlessly (like in the image on the right).
I suppose the only way that something like this could affect my child is if when he starts going to school he receives instruction based on materials that are equally as shoddy as the first sign (which is unlikely), but it does serve as reminder that he’ll need some solid language basis at home if I want to keep him from going around town “stepping into phase” in order to “manufacture music.” On the other hand, I could learn something from the second sign and like a good friend, be respectful and make my friends feel good.