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10/28/08

Funny Spanish phrases

Just an example to see why word-for-word translation is not possible, and automatic translation is miles away from generating genuine human language:

"I have a friend that lives in the fifth pine, so we had remained in seeing us yesterday in a park, but I remained with two inches of noses because did not appear. This morning in class I asked him what had passed. Told me that had remained fried and that when awoke already was too late..."

This is of course an automatic translation of a few Spanish phrases carrying funny idioms: "Tengo un amigo que vive en el quinto pino, así que habíamos quedado en vernos ayer en un parque, pero me quedé con dos palmos de narices porque no apareció. Esta mañana en clase le pregunté qué había pasado. Me dijo que se había quedado frito y que cuando se despertó ya era demasiado tarde..."

The idioms explained:
- "Se había quedado frito" literally means "he had remained fried", but the actual meaning is just "he had fallen asleep."
- "Vive en el quinto pino" literally means "he lives in the fifth pine tree." The idiomatic meaning would be "he lives way far away."
- "Me quedé con dos palmos de narices" literally means "I remained with two inches of noses." Difficult to translate into an expression, but it generally means that someone was expecting something and almost taking it for granted, and then was very disappointed and surprised it didn't happen. Therefore, he obviously remained with two inches of noses. ;)

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10/25/08

Permalink 08:34:30 pm, Categories: For professional translators, 94 words  

How not to introduce yourself to translation agencies

I recently received this cover letter from a freelance translator looking for work, and I will only quote the introduction:

To whom it may concern:

Dear Sir/Madam.

I'm a Spanish freelance translator who is just undergoing a client captation mass campaign.

Good for you! But I for one am not interested in being "massively captated" - a word I understand, by the way, only because I know the Spanish word 'captar' which this translator 'tried' to translate into English.

Remember that the person receiving your résumé is, well, a person after all...

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