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'[OT] Mistranslations, from 18F Oscillator discussi'
> > My favourite mistake was asking a German farmer for a place to set up my
> > tent: "Haben Sie ein platz fur mich zum kampfen?" => "Do you have a
> > place for me to fight?" (Dutch "Kamperen" != German "Kampfen").
> Good one!
I seem to remember a possibly apocryphal story involving a major ballpoint pen
manufacturer which touted its new pen design as leak-proof by declaring in
Spanish speaking nations that it won't leak in your pocket and "embrazar" you,
"embrazar" being taken as the Spanish word for embarass.
Or so they thought. The story goes on to say that "embrazar" in fact means
"impregnate", which naturally caused a good deal of confusion as to what
exactly was in the pens in the first place!
My meager Spanish is incapable of establishing the veracity
of this claim; Snopes has no easily found article on the issue and Babelfish
translates "embrazar" as "to embrazar", "impregnate" as "impregne", and
"embarass" as "embarass". Perhaps Babelfish isn't so good with single
words? I'm sure someone will step forward and deny/verify.
> Or so they thought. The story goes on to say that "embrazar" in
> fact means "impregnate", which naturally caused a good deal of
> confusion as to what exactly was in the pens in the first place!
Not unreasonable considering the etymology of pencil/penis/pen and
even a fuzzy and coincidental connection to "penicillin"
I could imagine an "interesting" ad campaign. Worthy of one of
those "World's Sexiest Commercials" programmes
In days gone by, in simpler times, pre-PC, much language was
pretty down-to-earth. "Testimony" for example
And if I've got anything wrong here, well, to use one of Shakespeare's
claimed double entendres, "fiddlesticks" !!!! ;-)
PS, the car name Nova was a flop in Spain. In English it conjures
up something quite different to the "No go" in Spanish
Mike Hord wrote:
Could be true! But the detail is: "embrazar" does not exist in spanish. "embarazar" does, and means "to make pregnant".
But, if you hear both words, could be easily mistaken. So the story could be true. There are a lot of adds with poor translations, or things really well translated, but for the wrong planet region. I mean, words in Spain have different meaning than in many american countries. An example: in spain, "venga!" is colloquial for "it´s ok!". But in the rest of the spanish speaking world, it means "come in!"
Another case, this time with portuguese:
Camisa is spanish for Shirt
Camisita (ita, usual ending meaning "little) is spanish for Little Shirt
Camisa is portuguese for Shirt
Camisinha (inha, usual ending meaning "little") is portuguese for Condom
So, if you go to Rio and ask the hotel maid to "passar mi camisinha" (the logical sentence for a spanish speaker who wants his shirt been ironed) you will see her face, and probably your condoms will be fused to the ironing table.
The last one: I had an old boss who was named Fachin, an italian surname. Just imagine the hotel clerk face when he pronounced his name as "fackin" in perfect italian, but in the states.
James Newtons Massmind
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