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Permalink 01:16:48 am, Categories: For professional translators, 82 words  

Need more resources for your research?

From Naked Translations blog:

144 public library authorities in England have joined together for the first time to share the cost of a 2-year national licence for a range of OUP's online resources. This means that anyone who is a member of a subscribing library . . . can access for free and from any computer "the entire Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and 170 other dictionaries, companions and atlases on a myriad of subjects"..

Good news for us translators...



Spamish translation of the week #2

Here go the most brilliant excerpts of Big D Apartments' "About Us" page in Spanish:

Nuestras adentro descripciones profundidades de las propiedades y agentes útiles pueden hacer su búsqueda para un apartamento agradable y lío-libre.

Big D combina tecnología y servicio personal para proveer de usted la manera más fácil de encontrar apartamentos de la estofa en el Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

And the back-translation for your delight:

Our inside descriptions depths of the properties and useful agents can make your search for a pleasant and mess-up-at-will apartment.

Big D combines technology and personal service to provide of you the easiest way to find apartments of the disreputable kind in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

What else is there to say?



Spamish translation of the week

Excerpted from the "Sea Metido en Sus Servicios Médicos" (Be Inserted in Your Medical Services) page on

La Cirugía
Si usted tiene la cirugía, cerciórese que usted y los profesionales médicas que tratan usted están en acuerda y saben claramente y exactamente lo que se hará.

La cirugía en el sitio equivocado (por ejemplo, una operación en la rodilla izquierda en vez del derecho) es rara. Pero una vez es demasiada. La cirugía en el sitio equivocado es el 100 por ciento evitable.

Which would back-translate more or less as:

The surgery

If you have the surgery, make sure you and the she-medical he-professionals who treat to you are in he agrees and know clearly and exactly what will be done.

The surgery at the wrong site (for example, an operation on the left knee instead of the he-right) is rare. But one time is she-too-much. The surgery at the wrong site is the 100% avoidable.

I really like the "sea metido en sus servicios médicos" title. In some Latin American countries, this can even be interpreted as "be nosy in your medical services."

Looks like the translator wasn't even a native Spanish speaker...



New section

I am so convinced that the web is full of substandard Spanish translations that I have decided to create a regular "Spamish translation of the week" section, where I will post my findings when browsing the net for poor Spanish translations. Hopefully this ongoing effort will help increase general awareness about the risks of selecting a translation provider first and foremost on pricing considerations! And hopefully it will turn out to be fun, too.

Of course, for us translators to enjoy this kind of thing we need to force ourselves to take our professional linguist hat out for a second—with which we would rather cry than laugh—and just relax and enjoy these fine blunders!



Why bad Spanish turns out to be spamish

Since I am the one who insists that poor Spanish translations look and feel spamish, I figured out that I should probably explain why:

- A spam e-mail message is usually (among other things) a poorly fitted mosaic of misspellings and grammar errors. A bad Spanish translation carries just about the same traits, with an added artificial flavor resulting from the transferring of English words and grammar structures to Spanish without the sound judgement that is the knack of skilled professional translators.
- In both cases, the terrible texts hurt the eye and put readers off, no matter what is being sold or offered.
- The companies from which those messages or translations arise are considered as amateurish by their audiences. There is no real connection established between the providers and the potential customers due to lack of trust.

More about the metaphysical relationship between poor translations and spam in this blog's earlier post.


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