Thursday, November 06, 2003

There are many examples of badly translated English in the world. A lot come from the Far East where the languages are structured entirely differently to our European languages. One example is What’s New Pussycat?, a memory game in which you have to remember which cat pictures you’ve already seen (It’s better than it sounds; try it – it even has a Tom Jones theme tune. My top score is a respectable 14). When you do this successfully you’re greeted with the message: “Well done. You remember cat good”.

But such mistakes are not exclusive to speakers of Eastern languages. Yesterday I passed this sign in a shop window:

This seemed particularly strange to me since the Italian translation contains a preposition between middle and winter, so why have they missed the English one out?

And there are several humourous quotes of EFL legend. To pick a few:

“Intercourse between trams should not be more than six minutes”
“Playing with balls is a good way to relieve stress”
“I spent last summer in my grandmother”

(See: prepositions – words like of, in, on, at, with, about, etc. – are very difficult for speakers of other European languages. I here Italians getting them wrong all day, hence my confusion a couple of days ago with “..of/to/against dogmatic thinking”.)

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