Seniorita's sauna and massage parlour, Chatsworth Road, Clapton, London

Google Brain is rounding off this blog's already manifest redundancy, so let's treasure Seniorita's while we may:

Seniorita's is of course advertised on pimpsites as a brothel (grab). This supposed punter will never make it in the grocery trade:

Senioritas At 2 chatsworth rd london E5 you will find a mp with about 8 young chinese girls.All between 7-9[?????].Nice clean place with good showers and a working sauna.A few eastern european girls sometimes.15 pounds to get in and 50 pounds for a half hour usually excellent service.

We Spanish might naively assume that the following was the result of the police and the council not having received sufficient discount:

“Of the workers, two admitted to offering sexual services to punters, but the remaining two were reluctant to discuss any type of service offered. It is important to stress that the workers were all there voluntarily and there were no concerns that they had been trafficked or held against their will.”

Sgt Hicks added that no prosecution was anticipated, but a follow-up visit was due and depending on the outcome, police may consider a prosecution if the premises was felt to be running as a brothel again.

Whence the name? Perhaps from a traditional anglicisation of señorita, although George Formby uses a different pronunciation in his Lancashire Toreador (01:15):

... and Al Jolson doesn't even attempt it in The Spaniard that Blighted My Life - the only blemish on a great song:

I don't know the history of the establishment, but I suppose a wandering brain might suggest that the name can't be blamed on the British. The owner since a previous raid is a young Bulgarian Turkish woman (grab), presumably from one of the impoverished post-Ottoman communities in the lower Danubian plain which have so far weathered the sweet rains of Balkan Slav nationalisms. The somewhat older accountant (grab), who one imagines has quite a lot to say, is a Greek, presumably Cypriot, and like the best of his generation probably speaks a bit of Turkish. But why, oh wandering brain, might people from the Eastern Mediterranean give their club a Western Mediterranean name? Did the Balkan Sephardim use this term for a brothel? Is the Roman myth of the Dancing Girls of Cadiz still told in Black Sea resorts? Did Eudoxus actually circumnavigate Africa in his second great ship (< Posidonius < Strabo), cutting out the Ptolemies and bearing to the rulers of India puellae gaditanae, whose techniques were copied by the tribes who migrated west and became known as gypsies? Was the Bulgarian-Turkish-Roma-whatever tragic talent Reyhan heiress to such a tradition?:

What is happening on Chatsworth Road?!

I think I'll have a cup of tea.


By the face

Jordi Pujol Ferrusola has apparently been paying Liberty Seguros an average of €45 per annum per car to insure a Mercedes Benz 230 SL Pagoda, a Porsche 911 S 2.7 turbo coupé, a Lotus Elan and a Ferrari F40. Crónica Global:

Un informe de la UDEF revela que a Jordi Pujol Ferrusola las pólizas de seguro de cuatro de los coches de lujo de su propiedad le salían by the face, o casi.

I don't know that expression in English, and the Urban Dictionary entry is neither impressive nor useful in this instance. I think they've just translated the Spanish "por la cara", meaning "as a result of his family connections", into English to impress what they perhaps privately consider to be a rather un-global readership. Any other readings?


Comparatives: Spain vs Yugoslavia

Montenegro's population is only a tenth of that of Catalonia's, but Critilo's conclusion over at ¿Hay derecho? - that the political sovereignty of (new) state(let)s is posited on monetary and economic sovereignty - still deserves a wider audience than the translation suggests.

(On the other hand, Candide, who brings considerable knowledge of the Balkans to bear on Iberian problems, appears to be thoroughly fluent in the English, German, Spanish and Catalan which he uses at this end of the continent, but his voice has not been heard.)


As Pontes' clitoris festival

La Voz de Galicia, the oldest Google source for the story, says that the council of Puentes de García Rodríguez posted the work of Google Translate on its website, but I can't find a screengrab.

As if all those mistranslated greens weren't bad enough, the town's illiterate English Wikipedia entry tells us that:

The town principal sector is the coal power plant and the coalpit run by Endesa. The power plant is the largest in Spain, and its chimney, with 356 meters of height, is the higher construction in the country and the second largest tower in Europe. Besides the municipality has numerous wind farms. The town has three industrial parks.

Only a towering clitoris festival, or claims thereof, can save such a dreadful place.


Brantridge Brantrindge Barntrindge Barntridge: Herbert (Rainford) Towning and the Pujol clan

Four mentions, four spellings in Crónica Global's piece about a British tub in the Pujol clan's money laundry. This dyslexia appears sourced from Antonio Fernández's new book, Pujol & Puig, which mixes the forms "Brantridge" and "Brandtridge".

CG follows the Spanish practice of assuming that foreigners also have two surnames, and refers to "Herbert Arthur Rainford Towning" as "Rainford." In fact I think this individual is probably generally known as Herbert Towning or Herbert Rainford-Towning, and the judicial investigation will be simpler if this is known and digested.

Re an internet marketing scam, the Daily Mail/This Is Money wrote in 2002:

Here, one of the people behind Fast2Net is Herbert Towning. He told me: 'We have about 11,000 website owners in England. When you buy the website, you are linked to a series of merchants who supply various services, depending on which sites you buy.'

So doesn't this mean that if you sign up with Fast2Net, you are immediately in competition with 11,000 people who are already in the same business? The simple answer is yes, but according to Towning this is not as bad as it seems, since there are almost 60 million people in Britain.

Finding Herbert Towning listed as a director of Fast2Net was a real blast from the past for me. More than 20 years ago he was declared bankrupt with debts of millions of pounds after he ran a fringe bank, David Samuel Trust, which collapsed. Another of his companies, casino group Scotia Investments, was the target for a Department of Trade investigation.

More recently, he was active in the US, investing in and speaking in support of a company called International Heritage. More than 150,000 people joined before it collapsed into bankruptcy.

The watchdog Securities & Exchange Commission says International Heritage was nothing more than a huge pyramid scheme, perhaps the biggest America has ever seen.

Our Herbert, a true son of that most glorious and extraordinary of enterprises, British India, seems to have spent most of his life exploiting jurisdictional uncertainty (and perhaps cross-cultural confusion) for financial gain - see e.g. this 1998 EFTA Court case regarding Liechtenstein. It is curious and embarrassing that CG provincialises and belittles as English such a universal man. How about a claim for reputational damage in the Spanish courts?


How to piss off America

Via the poke:

WTF is Steam? Can we finally stop identifying states with languages?


Juncker: Catalonia leaving the EU in Spanish, but not in English

...leaving Rajoy looking like a pillock. Those translators certainly earn their 10K tax-free/month. Q: Why would anyone want to stay in, particularly with Juncker in charge?


Dutch words that sound obscene in English

  1. Cock/Kok: family name. Also kok: cook, coccus. Re David Cameron's #piggate laddishness, British Labour MP Emily Thornberry has posted a pack of pickled smoked cut beef (not pork) marketed under a brand of Darwin Award-worthy stupidity, Cock's Fresh. De Cock is the family name and the products are preserved, not fresh. If you tell a glowering Antwerpian that filet d'Anvers / Antwerpse filet / Antwerp fillet is indistinguishable from any other carcinogenic cow you will not understand his response.
  2. Dik: fat. A Dutch GF -mainly good at hitting balls and running fast- went through an entire summer singing "Short dick man" in the belief that she was prejudiced against obese dwarves:
  3. Kont: bum.
  4. And so voort.

The Spanish take a perverse pride in the belief that their politicians are the least gifted linguists beyond the barnyard, but few Dutch politicians are anything but adequate in the language of the money-laundering capital of the world - surely a sign of their honesty. This leads to Dunglish (more). For example, fokken is to breed (animals). An old joke which all educated foreigners in Holland are told at least once a week relates a conversation between Prime Minister Joseph Luns and John F. Kennedy:
JFK: So what do you do for a hobby?
JL: I fok horses.
JFK: Pardon?
JL: Yes, paarden (horses).

Which brings us neatly back to the new joke about the leaders of both the UK's major parties having been accused in the past week of having fucked a pig.

What was this blog about?


A friend who has had the pleasure (not Jess Phillips, leader of the Labour Party in 2016 and election-winner in 2025) tells me that Diane Abbott is a Weeble: knock her down and she gets up looking smug:

Appropriately there is a mistranslation right at the beginning of the Dunglish article: steenkool is coal; houtskool is charcoal.



Julian the Apostate (331-363) addresses himself to Galileo (1564-1642)

Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Dumas Club, tr. Sonia Soto (London: Vintage Books, 2003):

"I know what you mean. It's Julian the Apostate crying, 'You have defeated me, Galileo.'"


Brown Shit hair dye

Caca Marron: Solid Henna: Turn brown into amburn with a shine like fresh conkers: Vegan:

Some of you will probably get off on Polkadot Lily smearing Lush brown shit into her hair:

They also do Black Shit, known in the trade as the Guinness look.

H/t Manolo A.


Translation error in the puenting tragedy at Cabezón de la Sal in Cantabria

Two versions:

  1. El País: the instructor says, "No jump, it's important. No jump," and the girl understands, "Now jump."
  2. De Telegraaf, among others, citing words which no longer appear on El Diario Montañés: the instructor says, "[When it's time to jump], don't worry, just jump."


Wurst is German for sausage

Wrust is a Spanish speciality and a Botswanan all-black metal band:

Did they intend to call themselves sausage? How strong is the residual regional influence of German South-West Africa, not to mention boerewors camp?

More namby-pamby posturing from Gaborone:

A very shy black friend once became the lead singer of a moderately good all-white Leeds heavy band. Singing as a cure for stammering let him down then, as it did later when he tried to hold up a Manchester post office with some pathetic piece of scrap iron. Last seen in Strangeways. The best of times, the wrust of times. Life is like a sausage: there's a beginning and an end, but the middle is often a surprise.


SpainWTF? Fine but fake

Here. How can a country with such poor Photoshop skills regard itself as modern?


Joan de Son Rapinya: English lesson no. 1

There's a clever name for phonetic language parodies which I have forgotten because it's hot and I have been undergoing ye notorious Spanish wine torture:

Shades of Maria Luisa Puche, the undisputed champion.

My favourite one actually makes more sense than the poésie concrète I wrote for a political campaign some years ago and is of the Welsh cant dirge, Land of my fathers:

My hen laid a haddock on top of a tree
Glad farts and centurions throw dogs in the sea
I could stew a hare here, and brandish Don's flan.
Don's ruddy bog's blocked up with sand.
Dad! Dad! Why don't you oil Aunty Glad?
When whores appear on beer bottle pies,
Oh butter the hens as they fly.
Dad! Dad! Why don't you oil Aunty Glad?
When whores appear on beer bottle pies,
Oh butter the hens as they fly.

Joan also does wordless communication:

But his major hit is Rap a la mierda:

Here's Joan's secret: do what you're bad at, nay, celebrate it. Most Britons can't dance, most Dutch can't sing the Neapolitan popular repertoire, and most Spaniards will never speak any recognised human language; the sensible ones don't let their justifiable depression bother them or hold them back.

The Real Spain

Time for change, but literacy and numeracy and asking for advice from beyond the tribe might still be a step too far for The Real Spain, which is distributing postcards to tourists:

While the Spanish peple face fines of up to 600,000 euros for defending their social rights, Politicians and bankers still walk free after robbing the Spanish people of more than 6.8 million euros.

There is a terrible sense of plus ça change about all this everywhere one turns. Let me turn to Ada Colau reinventing her husband as an Ayuntamiento de Barcelona spad; saying that, like Mas, she will ignore the laws that offend against the people...

If it were only 6.8 million I think we could all afford a proper fucking holiday: Owen Bennett looking for a gents' in the Walpole Bay while awaiting the South Thanet result is for me the best of Following Farage.


Listen to the Chinese: branding is bollocks

This lot can't even decide if they're going to transliterate their trademark as Lepai or Lepy (I hope there's somewhere where they call it Leper):

But it's a brilliant little amp, none of your Apple shite.


Late June lawnmower roadtrip across Northern Spain: call for sofas, haylofts etc.

Company would be most welcome along the following route, assuming a purchase is made on Wednesday:

(Pontevedra,) N-541 O Carballiño, N-541/N-120 Orense, N525 Verín, Benavente, Castrogonzalo, N-610 Palencia, Villalobón, Valdeolmillos, Torquemada, Cordovilla la Real, Quintana del Puente, N-622 Lerma, Covarrubias, Hortigüela, N-234 Soria, Calatayud, A-1504 Miedes de Aragón, Cariñena, A-220 Belchite, A-1307/N-232 Alcañiz, N-232 Valdealgoría, N-420 Gandesa, Corbera d'Ebre, Mora d'Ebre, Falset, Reus, T-315 Tarragona, Vilafranca, (Barcelona.)

The route sounds a bit strange, but that's because I've used CycleRoute.org to check and vaguely optimise route elevation profiles, and that's because my prospective lawnmower:

Piaggio Ape Kasten.jpg

... is said to be able handle a maximum gradient of 18-22%, beyond which this happens (getting out of Galicia is particularly fraught):

At 25-30 km/h I reckon it'll take 5/6 days. Petrol consumption is ca. 30 km/l, so it shouldn't break the bank.


And then I'll be looking for space (250*126 cm) in a trustworthy premise/garage @BCN in exchange for promotion.

Contacts here.

They just don't create song titles like they used to

Sez Colin re "Make Love To Me!" (1954). Well-known but worth repeating, from a Dutch English-language school:

The Singing Organ-Grinder mashes the chorus onto a canon of Barcelona street songs (Ctrl-F for "Crits del carrer") but has not yet found an appropriate podium.


Tourism in Barcelona: deep ranks of visitors slung round cameras

Where is the Economist's Gulliver from, what is he/she taking? A robot wouldn't make this kind of error:

As any visitor can attest, the narrow Gothic streets behind Las Ramblas, a tree-lined shopping promenade, can feel like rush-hour on the tube; the must-see Gaudi sites tend to be well-hidden behind deep ranks of visitors slung round cameras; and at certain times of the year the beaches can be invisible under the quilted rectangles of towels.

Prediction: Colau will fail, because part of her vote relishes (and invented) the nocturnal alcoholic and diurnal velocipedic mayhem that so distresses another part of her vote; because councillors and functionaries also own illegal tourist flats, and pijo lefties have begun to realise that no evictions means no tenants; and because the police still won't give a shit, even now their sworn enemy has the whip hand. But what do I know.


It's English, but is it human?

Understanding Podemos, c/o Rikard. The old question: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

Quick nod in the opposite direction to the human and apparently also English girlfriend of boxer Serge Ambomo: He’s speaking English a lot more what I’ve learnt him.


Two famous English students

IRQ posts a brilliant photo of Espe and abstentionist dog above a piece by "Hughes" which kicks off with Ana María Jiménez. The former presumably owns several palaces and speaks decent English. The latter has been living in a glorified cardboard box at Sofá de la Frontera for a couple of years to protest the housing situation and, if she has indeed been taking lessons from a Gibraltar gentleman (do say hello!) since "Tracyfeliz" filmed the following, is also probably pretty competent by now:

Let's see: what could the translation angle be here? Some kind of trading places thing? Ach, who cares.

Come on Ada Colado, and kick out everyone like me (except me).


The reality of bilingual education in the Community of Madrid

Susana de la Nuez at ¿Hay Derecho? uses "scam" rather than "reality":

Llamaron a los profesores de primaria del colegio, les presentaron el programa educativo y ante su manifiesto temor, les propusieron “trabajar” su inglés. Algunos se fueron becados a Irlanda (tres meses), otros recibieron clases intensivas de inglés (tres meses) y otros decidieron confiar en sus conocimientos o experiencia como docentes (superior a tres meses) y esperar a ver cómo iba la cosa. A la profe Lola, tras llegar de Irlanda, se le asignó la clase de 1ºB. Y mi hija comenzó su andadura por el sistema bilingüe…

The paradox of studying the basics of language in the English class, while the science class presupposes an advanced knowledge of that language:

En definitiva, mientras en inglés trabajan el verbo to be y los más avanzados comienzan a preguntar por el tiempo (“Isitcloudy? Isitsunny?”), en “Science” estudian la fotosíntesis o el ciclo del agua.

Pero entonces, ¿cómo es posible que los niños aprueben la asignatura? Muchos estudios hablan de fracaso y abandono escolar pero siempre en etapas posteriores y en ningún caso con relación a la enseñanza bilingüe, ¿por qué? Porque los niños no suspenden las asignaturas impartidas en inglés. “¿Y cómo es posible, si no saben inglés?” Pues muy fácil…

Read the rest. Excuses: I don't know how typical this is; it's better than Catalonia, where bilingualism is officially regarded as an affront to the Nation's Glorious Martyrs; throw mud against a wall and some will stick…

I'm trying to think of how bilingual education was implemented in Holland - I think it was more or less along these lines, but the comparison is unfair, because of the proximity of Dutch to English and traditional popular attainment. Any other comparatives? Perhaps the best solution is invasion - tourism has surely achieved far more for people's English skills than decades of British Councils.


Libertarian literary translation question

A reader writes:

I have found an excellent novel in Spanish by a long-dead author who is still just in copyright. He was already forgotten when he died, and has remained so. I'd like to translate and self-publish it. How much should I offer the rights-holders?


"Heidi stole my voice!"

The recollections of Selica Torcal, 86, who 40 years ago started dubbing the protagonist of the Japanese series into Spanish. She didn't like dubbing Japanese or Isao Takahata's animation style - "poorly done, with her mouth open all the time, it was extremely difficult" - and preferred being Lois Lane and Shirley Temple.

The only thing I like about the series is the German-language signature tune:

... but then in the version sung by drunken men when drunken women began dressing up as Heidi for carnival: instead of "Heidi, Heidi, deine Welt sind die Berge", the mountains are your world, "Heidi, Heidi, deine Berge sind meine Welt", your mountains are my world.


The Old Curiosity Shop -> La tienda de antigüedades / El almacén de antigüedades / El pequeño gabinete de antigüedades?

An old junk-shop or an old-junk shop; an old shop that sells curiosities, or a shop that sells old curiosities? One person's trash is another's treasure, and I wondered idly whether the Spanish translators hadn't all got it wrong -perhaps misled by the building's current, posh aspect- and whether it shouldn't have been La vieja trapería, or some such. But Dickens:

The place through which he made his way at leisure was one of those receptacles for old and curious things which seem to crouch in odd corners of this town and to hide their musty treasures from the public eye in jealousy and distrust. There were suits of mail standing like ghosts in armour here and there, fantastic carvings brought from monkish cloisters, rusty weapons of various kinds, distorted figures in china and wood and iron and ivory: tapestry and strange furniture that might have been designed in dreams. The haggard aspect of the little old man was wonderfully suited to the place; he might have groped among old churches and tombs and deserted houses and gathered all the spoils with his own hands. There was nothing in the whole collection but was in keeping with himself nothing that looked older or more worn than he.


the store-room of old curiosities

Our maternal, London grandfather had a professional interest in buildings, and once took us on an inspection trip round town, subsidised, to his amused Tory embarrassment, by Reg Goodwin and Evelyn Denington's free-passes-for-pensioners scheme. I recall thinking that Nell could never have afforded to live there (and the attribution may be spurious).

CC Lonpicman:


Transformative translation: Schloss

We're all fucked in the end -the reward for life is death- but meanwhile the profession would be greatly improved if rendered client-free. MM:

My career as a translator of guides to buildings in Central Europe started ignominiously when I gave in to the resident of Schloß Leitheim, who insisted it was Leitheim Castle.

Others calls it Leitheim Palace, but are they right? Would Chateau Leitheim work? Schloss works, but I think of the American who asked the way to the Schlob in Heidelberg...

I have neither Ms Marks' talent nor experience, but I think that in a case like this I would look the client in the eye, take them by the hand, and lead them into the grounds. "Regard that marvellous building [CC Manfi. B]," I would say, "possessed of both the strength of the castle and the sweetness of the palace:"

"In fact, dear client," I would say, "all it lacks is a Transformative Translator® to give adequate expression to it in the motherfucker of all languages. Now, get out your wallet and start counting, because we're going to call it Leitheim Turgid Torpid Rhinoceros Pigfucker. For cast your eye again, from right to left, and you will see a hornèd head, followed by a weak back and monstrous fat arse, the latter two qualities indicative respectively of addictions to CSI and cranberry juice, the whole terminated by a piggy tail and some pink shading whose genetic origins we are, under consumer protection legislation, obliged to recall and disclose."

Borges wrote that "German is a very beautiful language; perhaps more beautiful than the literature it has produced," and perhaps you could say that its speakers require imaginative assistance. On the other hand, Borges' Autobiografía (1970, aged 71) is only a third of the length of Nigel Farage's Fighting bull/Flying free (2010, aged 46), so maybe the reluctant Argentine's opinions weren't that interesting or important after all.



A revolutionary Balkan gypsy begging flyer

The gypsy beggars and backing-track musos who work the Barcelona local train service systematically and efficiently are an example to Spanish local authorities looking to improve their act: no grasping, arrogant, incompetent, Weberian civil service; a fine tradition of no-budget graphic design; and simple, effective copywriting in the language most likely to mean something, not to some hypothetical ancestral Volk, but to the punter. This however is remarkable:

Got it?

Recent Balkan gypsy incursions into Spain, both the one starting in the 1960s (which for instance led to the establishment of an impressive mafia clan in Barcelona's Zona Franca) and then the one following the outbreak of the Balkan wars in the 1990s (which populated city centres with an invalid freak show), have tended to show the linguistic signs of passage through Italy: a Spanish vocabulary which is still heavily Italianate complements grammatical tendencies which don't owe very much to any language I know; English is poor.

But here the Spanish is borderline gibberish, while the English is pretty good:

Hello, I Can't Find Work and Have two Children, Which I can't Support
Please Help me with a coin.

Help, no pueden encontrar trabajo y tener dos hijos, lo que no puedo apoyar
Por favor, ayúdame con una moneda

What's going on? A one-off pater familias who learnt English from informal contacts with UN personnel in Kosovo, or something similar? A generational shift (dad may not have designed the flyer) towards informal, online language learning which favours English (schooling certainly can't be blamed)?

But then I'd expect you to find more examples.

Pub Guardianistas regularly imply that I am the reïncarnation of Adolf Hitler because I say gypsy instead of the PC Roma. Not so, honest: I used to know the well-heeled interpreter (the state is important) for one of the settlements into which the Dutch gypsies were forced about 40 years ago as part of the denomadisation campaign, which has been running on and off for the last five centuries. He was very clear - an oriental potentate slumped on his Louis XIV couch, which he wanted to sell along with the house - that he was Sinti, not Roma scum. Romani also introduces more confusion than it dispels, and gypsy still seems to me a reasonable choice.

Update: Mr Commonsense suggests that the guy is a Romanian rather than a southern Slav gypsy, and that he learnt English begging in the UK, from which he was deported and to which he has decided not to return. Or that he has school-age and school-attending relatives in the UK, who have discovered Google Translate. Or something. So a victory for Theresa May!



"All day I've faced, the barren waste,
without a taste of...

Can you see that big green tree,
Where the sandwish's running free,
And it's waiting there for you and me?"

I do Cool Water with the organ, and it's a great favourite, but the other day I made the mistake of introducing the mirage song as a possible gloss on Psalms 42:1: "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." Afterwards a clergyman came up to me and said, "The problem with you atheists is that you are stricken by paranoia and see God everywhere."

Here, to give Hank Williams a rest, are The Sons Of The Pioneers with their 1947 hit version:

(H/t CH)


French lessons: Grannie on her bike rides across the pool

Boby Lapointe, an obsessive, deranged comic genius who seems to have drunk himself to death aged 50, points to one of the delicious traps lying in wait for elephants who proceed beyond their French-English phrasebooks - the fact that of the supposed infinity of possible sentences in natural language, most are nonsense:

What time is it? Quelle heure est-il?
Deux heur´s moins deux : Two to two
Quelle heure est-il? What time is it?
Deux heures deux : Two two
De deux moins deux à deux heur´s deux voyons
ce qui se pass´
Consacrons-y notre class´

From two to two to two two. De deux heur´s
moins deux à deux heur´s deux
Daddy on his bike is riding to town
Papa à vélo-o se rend à la ville

From two to two to two two. De deux heur´s
moins deux à deux heur´s deux
My sister is swimming across the pool
Ma sœur, en nageant traverse la piscine.

From two to two to two two. De deux heur´s
moins deux à deux heur´s deux
Grannie is in bed eating her pudding
Grand-mère est au li-it, mangeant son pudding

From two to two to two two. De deux heur´s
moins deux à deux heur´s deux
Dreaming uncle John is petting the dog
Rêveur, oncle Joh-hon, caresse le chien.

Et maintenant vous possédez tout un voca-bu-lai-air´
Vous pouvez grâce à tous ces mots tenir "conversation"
Vous mélanger formant des phrases de mille manié-èr´
Mille "signi-fi-qua-tion"

From two to two to two two. De deux heur´s
moins deux à deux heur´s deux
The dog is swimming, he´s swimming to town
le chien nage, nage jusqu´à la ville

From two to two to two two. De deux heur´s
moins deux à deux heur´s deux
Grannie on her bike rides across the pool
Grand-mère à vélo traverse la piscine

From two to two to two two. De deux heur´s
moins deux à deux heur´s deux
My sister´s in bed, she eats uncle John
Ma sœur est au lit, ell´ mange Oncle John

From two to two to two two. De deux heur´s
moins deux à deux heur´s deux
Daddy is dreaming he pets his pudding
Papa en rêvant caresse son pudding

A creepy Occitan cokehead made me listen to "Ta Katie t'a quitté" a couple of years ago. I'm still trying to learn it by heart, and now I go through periods with Mr. Lapointe's entire repertoire on loop in order to anaesthetise myself against whatever stupid puff I'm writing. I have always meant to watch his first film - Truffaut's Tirez sur le pianiste / Shoot the piano player - and TPB still seems to be working where I am, so night-night.


Moreno's master's: polysemy, polydon't

Jesús Fernández-Villaverde y Luis Garicano at Hay Derecho had a look last year at the CV of Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, Rajoy's excellent choice of candidate for the Andalusian elections, and were puzzled by what they found:

Empecemos por el MBA. Si su título de grado es de 2010-2011, su Master en Dirección y Administración de Empresas por la EADE tendrá que haber comenzado después de estas fechas (a menos que EADE siga la peculiar política de permitir matricularse en su MBA a estudiantes que no son graduados). Pero el 30 de Diciembre de 2011 fue nombrado Secretario de Estado de Servicios Sociales e Igualdad. Es decir, que nos imaginamos que habrá tenido que simultanear sus estudios en EADE con su cargo de Secretario de Estado.


Sigamos por el “Master en Programa para el Liderazgo en la Administración Pública (IESE)”. Este master sencillamente no existe. Lo que el IESE tiene es un Programa para el Liderazgo en la Administración Pública, que es un programa que se reúne “de octubre a julio en jornadas intensivas de una tarde de lunes al mes, con almuerzo incluido.

[...] Terminemos con “Master de Oro del Real Forum de Alta Dirección”. Esto quizás lo entienda algún lector como un master universitario, y efectivamente, así lo ha entendido la prensa. En realidad, no lo es: es un premio que da una asociación privada.

In Anglosajonia "a master's" is "a master's degree", a contract under which you (or your employer or your rich auntie) gives something called a university (or something which pays commission to one) some money, and after some time (and some sexual adventures and even some work, though outsourcing is often an option) that something gives you a piece of paper which may or may not help you find another employer or reduce dependence on the auntie.

In Hispania, "un máster" is also the exchange of many notes for one, but the word admits an infinity of meanings, customers are more naive, and salesmen even less scrupulous - many awarding bodies wouldn't recognise a university if it bit them on their posterior end. I currently have on my fridge área's fly-posted "Máster en Social Media y Community Manager" ("Community Management," children!) in San Sebastián, where in 350 hours and for roughly €3K it seems that you will discover how to set up Wordpress.com, Facebook and Twitter accounts - check the student projects:

False friends also find opportunities when translating Spanish educational concepts into English. A profesor in Spanish is just a teacher, or even someone who is rather good at something, while in British English a professor is a top-ranking academic unless modifying hints are received. So the BBC is misleading the poor old British public when its Tom Burridge describes the ex-"profesor titular interino" Pablo Iglesias as a "university professor". Catedrático suffers from the same problem. I suspect that there is mention of this in Peter Harvey's Great English mistakes made by Spanish-speakers.


El Risitas, the new Hitler

Armando Ferreira's "translation" has an Apple engineer discussing the new MacBook:

I hadn't heard about Juan Joya Borja and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Osona: the power of pigshit

Anon enjoys juxtaposing the gibberish from the tourist body for the Catalan district containing Vic, Manlleu and Torelló:

Discover thepower ofcatalan land, close to Barcelona

... with news from Grup de Defensa del Ter that the average level of nitrates in tested springs in the area -vital for walkers- has increased over the past year from 64 to 78.7 mg/l; that there are peaks of 456.5 at Taradell, 353.4 at Santa Cecília de Voltregà, and 343.9 at Gurb; and that more than half of the springs exceed the WHO's recommended limit of 50 for drinking water.

Conspiracy theories

  1. GDT believes that politicians and civil servants are in hock to big business, which is to say pig business. (Aside: A Dutch gent who ships his pigs for fattening in Osona before returning them to Holland for slaughter says that the lack of environmental checks has a crucial impact on his pricing, and the effect on nose and eyes is often reminiscent of parts of Holland in the bad old days.) However, human water consumption is more than four times that of our snorty friends per head, so both sides may be hearing shortly from porcine rights activists.
  2. Anon suspects murderous xenophobia - "Let's get 'em here, and poison 'em." But then they'd have produced a decent translation, no?
  3. You already know what I think.


A nurse called Callous

Some Spanish media mistook a translatable adjective in a Daily Mail article for an untranslatable proper noun, perhaps even imagining that it ran in the great tradition of Spanish female first names: Angustias, Benigna, Consolación, Dolores...


Tourist apartment in San Sebastián "situated at a pederastian square"

"In front of a child playground," no less. Bit chillier than Vietnam/Cuba/..., but conceivably preferable to Westminster. (H/t C)

Update: I'm told that the agent pronounces it "pederastian".


"The failure of bilingual education"

That's the thesis of Primitivo Abella Cachero, Podemos schoolteacher from Avilés, Asturias. His segue into fluent Caracas vernacular in para. 2 was causing dizziness and loss of vision, so I skipped to the conclusions:

No se niegan las ventajas de una mayor capacidad de comunicación con personas de otros países, lo que aquí se plantea es que el mal llamado “programa bilingüe” no desarrolla adecuadamente la competencia lingüística, afecta negativamente a otras competencias y tiene un efecto segregador.

What's his idea of good bilingual education? Possible hints:

  1. His Asturianist jobs-for-the-boys club, the curiously named CSI, publishes its education blog in only Asturian.
  2. Pressure from Asturian "left-wing" nationalism has been instrumental in forcing on parents schooling in moribund dialects like Bable at the expense of languages like French, which may be struggling in France but seems to be the principal second language in London's W postcode.

End of two-party politics in Spain? Rebranding, actually: Podemos is IU v2, but also gobbles up a chunk of those who regard themselves as PSOE lefties; and Ciudadanos is PPSOE v2. The former will maintain the arch-conservative policy of seeking to deny students who rely on the state system the linguistic skills that will help them, by increasing their mobility, improve the price of their labour (those pushier, wealthier Madrid families will pay for private tuition anyway); and it is to be hoped that the latter will fight to bring an end to this madness - though the need to form coalitions with regionalist retards may continue to frustrate, as long as the electoral system remains the same.

I suppose the good education news at the moment is that obligatory religious education seems de facto parrot, following the 2013 LOMCE reform, which, by allowing the market to opt for something apart from religion, albeit equally stultifying, did far more damage to the church than the PSOE's aggressive prohibitionism.

Just in case anyone starts taking me for a progressive tosser, I had a go on one of these the other day and thoroughly recommend it:

Update: Ciudadanos didn't take long to mature.


Ex-mayoress of Jerez ONLY arrested for embezzlement! What about her translation sins?!

Pilar Sánchez Muñoz (PSOE) is responsible for various entries here between 2005 and 2011. Now she's been arrested -like half the Andalusian PSOE during the caso Edu- for complicity in the theft of educational subsidies:

En Cádiz, las pesquisas han salpicado a los responsables políticos de Mercajerez SA, la entidad controlada por el Ayuntamiento de Jerez de la Frontera que explota el mercado de abastos del municipio. Mercajerez recibió en diciembre de 2010 una ayuda para organizar cursos por importe de 142.695 euros. Sus responsables no sólo incumplieron el compromiso de contratar al menos al 60% de los alumnos durante los seis meses siguientes a la formación, uno de los requisitos de la ayuda, sino que habría subcontratado con terceros la totalidad del programa, incumpliendo también la normativa en este otro aspecto. Por su responsabilidad en estas irregularidades ha sido arrestada la exalcaldesa de Jerez del PSOE Pilar Sánchez Muñoz (2005-2011), que ocupó la presidencia de Mercajerez entre 2008 y 2011.

But, dear God, do I have to talk to Manos Limpias before anyone will take translation-related embezzlement seriously?!

Apropos of nothing, seen somewhere: Emilio Botín was so good in his lifetime that when he died he went straight to a fiscal paradise.


English-speaking sheep in La Mancha?

The economy's stirring, and there's a job going for a shepherd-shearer (via) in Solana del Pino (pop. 363), on the border between Ciudad Real and Jaén provinces. But there's a catch: unlike many Spanish-English translators in this country, he/she needs to be able to speak and write English.


Author Translation, a literary translation agency

The excellent Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware, dedicated to exposing literary scams, has discovered Author Translation. This agency appears to specialise in EN->ES at extremely low prices - 0.02$ per translated word is quoted. As Victoria notes, they find English a struggle, but the sample Spanish translation provided (grab) -of an Arthurian romance self-published by one Kim Headlee- is also amateurish (observations / corrections in square brackets):

  • the moon lit the ice-crusted rocks and brush where Prince Badulf and his band hid -> la luna iluminaba las rocas con costras de hielo y rozaba [matorral: the translator has confused scrubland and a fleeting touch] donde el príncipe Badulf y su banda se escondían
  • the hardiest war-band -> la más dura de las bandas-guerreras [bandas guerreras: unhyphenated in Spanish]
  • a striking snake -> una serpiente batiéndose [serpiente mordiente: the translator has a snake beating itself, or something a fighting snake]
  • ...

I suspect this is just one more person trying to figure out how to get through the crisis, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the good people of Virginia. On the other hand, even the good kings of Britain are beyond salvation.

Can you say, "Se siente el diente hiriente de la serpiente mordiente"?


Irish break


I suppose the murder of Nicholas Walsh before he completed his pioneering translation into Irish of the New Testament may have alienated talent from the market.



A verisimilar vignette, from the English sketch and the German/Dutch echt, Yiddish עכט, "real":

El juez de la Audiencia Nacional Javier Gómez Bermúdez ha imputado por un posible delito de humillación a las víctimas del terrorismo al guionista y director de 'Tuerka News', Facu Díaz, y le ha citado para el próximo día 15 en relación con la emisión de un vídeo en la que según una denuncia presentada por Dignidad y Justicia se equipara al PP con ETA.

El titular del Juzgado Central de Instrucción número 3 ha adoptado esta resolución en virtud de la denuncia que la asociación de víctimas presentó a principios de noviembre contra 'La Tuerka', el programa en el que también participa el líder de Podemos Pablo Iglesias, por la emisión de un vídeo cuyo contenido consideran "claramente ofensivo y humillante para las víctimas del terrorismo".

La asociación denunció que en dicho vídeo se equipara "en tono burlesco y de mofa" al Partido Popular con la organización terrorista ETA, y que "la escenografía utilizada es la propia de los comunicados audiovisuales de dicha organización terrorista". En él aparece un miembro del PP encapuchado y con el anagrama del mismo haciendo un comunicado consistente en cesar "la actividad armada y entregar las armas".

La providencia de Gómez Bermúdez, a la que ha tenido acceso Europa Press, señala que el Juzgado ya ha recibido el CD del "skecht" denunciado por DyJ y un escrito de Facu Díaz y advierte a éste que deberá comparecer "asistido de letrado que le defienda o, en caso contrario, se le nombrará de oficio".

It is sad how few of these ingenious neologisms are adopted by English speakers.


La riqueza de nuestro léxico. Wait a minute.

Héctor G. Barnés has entered the fight against the barbarian invaders,

estas palabras que por desidia o contaminación utilizamos en inglés cuando buenamente podríamos emplear palabras de nuestro idioma. No se trata tanto de preservar la lengua –afortunadamente, el español se encuentra en una situación privilegiada a nivel global– como de preservar la riqueza de nuestro léxico.

Afaik léxico first appears in a Spanish dictionary in Núñez de Taboada's 1825 tome as an utterly needless Greek synonym for the Latinate diccionario. Avoid it.

Amado Nervo, La lengua y la literatura (early C20th?) lists some nice borrowings in "Hipertrofia del idioma". Had you realised that arrurruz is from the English arrow-root? Do you know what arrowroot is?

Gordon Ransay

Off-topic, like most of the posts these days, but the Tenerife brand-hijackers (right down to the distinctive R in Mr Ramsay's signature) are still at it. Couldn't happen to a nicer man.

More Iberian creativity: Duffin Dagels/Dunkin' Donuts, Bar Kentumy/Kentucky and Women'Secret/Victoria's Secret, Consum/Conssum, etc. And then there's Iran.