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10/28/06

Spamish translation of the week #10

Alternative title for this post: How not to target Hispanics, by Tenochtitlan Market!
(See http://www.kphi.org/sponsors/t/tenochtitlan/index.html)

Tenochtitlan market's Spanish page

I have spotlighted two text excerpts to the left, which I will now back-translate. Misspellings are shown in Italics as usual:

Tenochitlan is a 100% latin shop. We sell all the products from México, Centralamerica and Southameríca. We sell a great variety of meats, venetables at a spectacular he appreciates since the vegetables and fruits come directly from México. This shop is one of the main shops for the Ispanic population in the State of Utah.

The fresh fod -- is in should the wind blow he prepares to you eat of our tacó restaurant. Come one us for soume random cuisine authenticates of Latin.

When you think that their whole business is intended for Hispanics! Frankly, I don't think that their Spanish website version sends much business their way... But wait! They are not really targeting Hispanics! According to them, they are targeting the Ispanic population in the State of Utah! That definitely explains everything...

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10/21/06

Spamish translation of the week #9

Today we have an interesting specimen courtesy of Burlington County Board of Social Services:

Burlington County Board of Social Services Spanish page

And its back-translation:

If you this married and alone a person needs assistance, he could that we can assist you. For I care old person home we have food supplies so that the husband he stays in the you communicate to apply in order to part/all the revenue of the partner who ente the old person home.

We are here you stop help you !
There is not needed appointment to apply. You can see the Revenues / Guide of the Resource also like The List of Bank Check of the Verification that tells you what you need to bring or provide in order to verify your amounts of revenues and resource.

The best hours a come inside apply is during the week 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and until 5:30 p.m. tuesday and thursday. Please contact the Medicaid department of County adult of Burlington of Social Services to the telephone (609) 261-1000 in order to additional information. later

This text is interesting because it looks and feels like an automatic translation (because of very awkward, artificial, non-human "grammar") but there are some things that don't quite fit into that picture. Even though automatic translation is extremely limited as regards generating texts for human consumption, if there is something that it does right this is of course spelling correctly. However, this text contains a few misspellings along with quite a few genuine but nonsensical words in the context, which were created by missing the correct spelling of the intended word and generating a completely different word. None of this can be rightly attributed to automatic translation shortcomings. So it would seem like this translation was generated by following these two steps:

1) Having the English text translated into Spanish through an automatic translator
2) Having the machine translated text reviewed by an unqualified person

Unfortunately, two mistakes don't add up to a success as we can see!

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10/14/06

Spamish translation of the week #8

Time for Active Invest Miami to showcase their Spamish performance!

Active Invest Miami Spanish home page

And the back-translation (only the first box):

USA INTERETS BANCAIRES DU JOUR...

PRE-SALES

We propose
optións of previous
constructions to you.
Certain projects are still
highly confidientiels.
If you want to be a relative
with these cases, please
they enter in contact with
us

see the section...

As you can see, not only the Spanish is very poor, but it is also mixed with French! Though it may seem surprising that something like this could happen to a professional company, it can actually happen to any company relying on its in-house "bilingual talent" for translation...

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10/07/06

Spamish translation of the week #7

More Spamish fun, this time from a Spanish page on http://www.britainusa.com (no less than the British Embassy in the United States.) From what I understand, this page is intended for Spanish-speaking USA residents wanting to study in the UK:

britainusa.com Spanish page

And the back-translation (starting from the 5th requirement):

5) a) birth certificates naming both parents.
b) The costday order probaring the legal costday of the children accompanied of a previous marriage.

NOTE: A separate application, fee and related documents must be subjugated for each applicant.

Dependents of the student he can not precede the main applicant for the United Kingdom.

Applicants are strongly is warned to subjugite their application in good weather. Not all visas are is approved the same day.

So what are the chances of submitting an application to the United Kingdom in good weather?

(Please excuse the easy sunny-Spain/rainy-UK teasing.)

Actually, "tiempo" means both "time" and "weather" in Spanish, depending on the context. But "buen tiempo" is always "good weather"!

One would think that the British Embassy in the United States could afford to have their six Spanish pages professionally translated...

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09/23/06

Spamish translation of the week #5

Just to prove me wrong, here comes New Zealand College with an even higher density of serious misspellings than the Spamish translation featured last week. Here is a screenshot from one of their "Spanish" pages.

Screenshot from New Zealand College website's Spanish version

My back translation follows. Please note that the title "Application Procedure" was left in English for no good reason, so I rightly translated it into Spanish for effect. Also, when you see an accent in English—which of course uses none—this is because of an accent mistake in the Spanish translation. All misspellings are in italics:

Procedimiento de inscripción:

1. Sénd ás soon as possible the applicatión and the homestay request form by fax or mail.

2. NCZ will sénd the invoice minus the commissín of the agent. And other data about th estudent to be confirmed.

3. Sénd the fees by wire transfer, certified check, Visa card.

4. Upon receiving from the fees NZC will sénd an acceptánce letter. In order to accelerate this procedure, you can send a copy of your transfer of bank by telefax, NZC alternatedly to send by telefax a copy of the acceptnce letter. All charges of the bank in your cóuntry must be covered by the agent or by the student. NZC will cóver charges of the local bank only. Please investigate in your bank in order to other details.

5. The whole payment of funds must be received before arranging Homestay, collection of the airport be organized and at least ten das before the student startz classes

That's at least 20 word-level errors on this short text, not to mention errors beyond the word level. This time there is no possible excuse, defense, or extenuating circumstance for such a poor language performance. They are a language school! They offer English, not Spanish classes all right. But they have (or should have) enough linguistic awareness not to assign their website translation into Spanish to the first Spanish-speaking student of theirs who will accept ten bucks to do the job. Sorry for the acid criticism, but I find this intolerable on the part of a language school. They would have been much better off by just keeping the English version if they didn't feel like investing in professional translation. I know that as a father, I would never send my children to learn a language in a school which seems to care so little about the language they use. Pretty obvious reasoning, but apparently not so obvious for them...

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