Google Translate takes on Goethe

I recently posted my translation of Goethe’s poem Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn? with a commentary on my translation, and the German original Do you know that land where lemons grow? – Language Miscellany In a comment on that post, Paul Pacter supplied a translation he’d obtained from Google Translate. Paul commented…… Continue reading Google Translate takes on Goethe

Translation gaffe at Gatwick

I was shocked to see this beginners’ translation blunder at Gatwick airport. This picture shows a box inviting passengers to donate their spare currency. The largest word on the box says Change. Presumably, this is the original English word. No doubt, the intended message is that passengers should give over their remaining small change. The…… Continue reading Translation gaffe at Gatwick

German and English Academic Usage and academic translation

I have just started reading German and English Academic Usage and Academic Translation (2021), by Dirk Siepmann. This starts with an exercise of translating a short passage of German academic text. It is only one paragraph, though quite a long one: Seit Mitte der 1980er Jahre hat Michel Espagne sukzessive das Themenfeld des interkulturellen Transfers…… Continue reading German and English Academic Usage and academic translation

Menu again

This restaurant in Madrid in 2017 served some unexpected translation delights. Here’s the first delicacy. “Dorada a la Bilbaina”‘ translated as “goldfish to the Bilbaina”.1. I love the thought of a restaurant serving goldfish. But dorada is gilt-head bream.2. “a la X” of course means “X style”. “to the” is a peculiarly poor literal translation.3.…… Continue reading Menu again

Translation and food packaging

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that UK retailer Tesco mis-translated chocolate powder into Czech. Tesco had translated it as čokoládový prašek (‘chocolate powder’) but the official Czech version of the EU Cocoa and Chocolate Products Directive uses čokoláda v prašku (‘chocolate in powder‘). The Czech authorities prosecuted Tesco and after…… Continue reading Translation and food packaging

Treats from Dubrovnik

One for my restaurant English collection, from Dubrovnik: “Mussels at the Dalmation”. If “a la” is good enough for the French, “at the” is good enough for us. … and another one. “With fresh rocked leaves”. Rucola or just well tossed lettuce? Dubrovnik, 2014

Bovine meat and swine ham

Several entries for best restaurant translation of the year. Bovine raw meat, anyone? Or Romagnola’s moorish swine breed ham? Turns out Mora Romagnola is a rare pig breed, but there are only 18 of them left according to Ristorante Bolognese via Boldrini Bologna, 2013

Unappetising dishes in Liguria

Didn’t fancy eating a Ligurian, not even fish baked. Somehow the verdure sound less healthy in English. Also, not sure why they are fried in English but rustic in Italian. Pictures taken in 2013 (in Liguria, of course)

What is that aioi?

An unusual translation error. This English translation contains the mysterious word “aioi”. Context, some guesswork and a quick google of the Spanish original (coartada) indicate that this is a misprint for “alibi”. Picture taken in 2017 at Centro de Interpretación Judería de Sevilla  


Another entry for the big book of menu translations. Who guessed that the English for tagliatelle is taletellers? Hotel Lido – Torri Del Benaco. Lake Garda, Italy. August 2016