silly translations

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Tue Sep 21 05:20:53 EDT 2004


  Esther wrote:

  > At the greengrocer, I noticed among other spice mixtures (Spice For
Schnitzel, Spice For Fish) Spice For Packer.  This puzzled me a bit until I
read the label in [Haim Semo]  Hebrew.  The spice mixture was for rice.
O-rez is rice.  o-REZ is someone who packs.  They must have looked at the
wrong line in the dictionary.  I hope.  Because I seriously doubt that
cooking packers is legal.  Let alone kosher.

  That's hilarious. Maybe because I understand Hebrew...

  it reminded me of another such howler: someone once sent me a photograph
of an Israeli icecream stall, selling icecream to English-speaking tourists
in all the usual flavors: vanilla, chocolate, caramel, strawberry,
tonsils...
  (tonsils = "shkedim" = almonds)

  And another true story, about a good friend of mine who during the height
of the '87 intifadeh prepared a little presentation for her English class on
current events. She had a lot to say about the "pickled territories".
  (pickled = "kvushim" = captured, occupied)

  Or how about the Hebrew subtitles for a British cooking show that gave a
recipe for pears in wine, with garlic? (a mistranslation of "cloves"). Or
another show, where the subtitle proclaimed: "he's had a difficult life,
he's a veterinarian" when what was actually said in English was "vet" (short
for "war veteran").
  Translators in the online forum I sometimes participate in refer to this
type of mistake, which involves latching on to the wrong meaning of a
particular word, "maran", after an infamous mistake of this sort. Maran is
an acronym for a phrase that once appeared in subtitles for a particular  TV
program: "meniakh re'afim notzri" - translated back into English, this would
be "a christian tile-layer". This was the given translation for the name
Christian Slater.

  See, I know too many examples.

  Gili
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