2010/10/26

The divine prohibition of bullfighting in English and Cagancho in Almagro: whatever won't be, won't be

Programmes are rarely distributed at bullfights, and are never translated into English. There is an excellent reason for this, recounted over at La Aldea del Tauro in an interesting piece on the Taurine Bibliophiles of America (via Salmonetes no nos quedan):

It's said that while negotiating with Cagancho the possibility of him filming a movie the representatives of the American company talking to him asked him if he spoke English. The response of the bullfighter from Evangelista Street was more or less the following: God forbid!

According to the Ministry of Culture, soon to be responsible for subsidising bullfighting (the quid pro quo is rumoured to be ballet's departure for Interior), Joaquín Rodríguez Ortega, "Cagancho", was born in 1703, died at the age of 191 in 1894, but was still going strong in Mexico in the 1940s. Perhaps not, but the view of many Spanish historians that references and research constitute an infringement upon their right to plagiarise and invent makes it quite difficult to establish in the time available this morning exactly what this Triana gypsy Muhammad Ali of beef butchery got up to as man or zombie. So we find that the expression "quedar como Cagancho en Almagro" or "quedar peor que Cagancho en Almagro", used to designate spectacular public failure, has its origins in one (1) bullfight in the miniscule city of Almagro in Ciudad Real held variously in 1927, 1932, and 1942.

In the last version he is absent because he has tickets for a Betis match, but other storytellers recount a disastrous evening crowned by the appearance of a well-fed Kodiak bear in place of the sixth bull and the almost simultaneous exit of Cagancho, pursued by a rancorous crowd raining bottles and snot. The Guardia Civil accompany him to the comparative safety of the Ayuntamiento and stand guard while he lights up and sighs to a passing blogger, "That's life. I wanted to look good, but whatever won't be, won't be."

In bullfighting, as in translation, sometimes discretion is the better part of valour.

2010/10/15

Revealed: the class of people that uses Google Translate

Accountability is the ostensible reason why this blog is generally about institutions rather than individuals - public and private mass service providers take on liabilities that a lonely blogger as a whole does not. However below this do-gooding sheen lurks cowardice, because the local council is much less likely to come after you with an axe than is perhaps a lonely blogger.

For example, let's take my reasons for not naming the name of the fervent nationalist and racist and assiduous participant in online fora who comments here, presumably with the help of Google Translate, that

Mahatma Gandhi said:

Your enemy
First they ignore you
then laughs
and after t’ataca
finally win!

Now I obviously want you to think that I'm maintaining his anonymity here because as a private citizen he has neither the resources nor responsibilities of the Spanish Government.

However, dear readers, I have to confess that my silence may have more to do with the fact that this gent was believed by prosecutors to have taken time off from his most interesting website to pop downstairs in the company of his daughter and knock off his mum, the village tobacconist.

In fact the daughter was found to have canned gran all on her own: daddy merely covered up, and so he is completely innocent and back at work in his mum's shop, and I haven't the faintest idea what this post is about.

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As is often the case with this kind of thing, the aphorism turns out not to belong to Gandhi. A brief trawl suggests an interesting ghit distribution, with rapid growth from the 1990s and nothing much before until we get back to the 1919 convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America:

First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America

I seems to me quite unlikely that a radical, American union would have quoted an early bon mot from Gandhi, then going through his Kaffir-hating phase, and anyway the phrase turns up in recognisable form in the mid-1880s, when Gandhi was being a schoolboy, getting married, and having babies. I imagine the trope is far older.

However I suppose that if you want to market yourself as a transforming personality, attribution to Gandhi rather than to the The Medical Times and Gazette or to some obscure pre-Victorian sage does make some kind of sense. If Gandhi did use it widely or prominently, then perhaps he picked it up after arriving in London in the late 1880s. Sidney Hillman of the ACWA is another possible conduit.
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Tip of the hat: C
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2010/10/12

Maulets, leading the literary-critical revolution

Opinions vary regarding Maulets. I think that those who I know who have experienced its attentions tend to see its members as state-subsidised rustic neo-Nazi thugs. Sympathisers on the other hand would perhaps describe them as sturdy young men and women responding energetically to legitimate concerns that the Catalan Nation is rapidly falling under the control of alien elements, is endangered by global capitalism, and is under siege in colonies (Valencia, the Balearics, etc) acquired during the Middle Ages. Which is quite different.

Whatever the case, a brief trawl of the net suggests that its programme of violence and intimidation doesn't sell well away from home and has virtually no international resonance. So it's rather a shame that its English-language presentation appears to have been translated with MT inferior to current incarnations of both Google and SoftCatalà (the latter nobly struggling on despite the increasing superiority of the former):

Maulets is a youth political organization independentist and revolutionary, organizing, mobilizing and fighting since 1988 for our territory, Països Catalans. During this time, we have realized many local and national campaigns in favor of the independence, emancipation of the popular classes, defense of the environment and the sexual and genre liberation. Always from a young view point and directed to the youth.

As an organization we make an open task, participative and based in assembler basis always far away from the actual dogmas. We fight to create and impulse social structures and individual practices to bring a popular counter, that, redistributes in a real democratic and participative way human and material resources..

The Spanish and French State keep on oppressing and repressing our nation leading our society to the subordination of the big states, market economy with their fatal consequences. Maulets fights against the society's classist model, rejecting all systems and ways of domination, exploitation and oppression.

[youth building....INDEPENDENCE AND REVOLUTION]

When it comes to genre liberation - which I'm all for, and which has nothing to do with gender - maybe some brave soul would like to start by freeing Maulets from their ideological rut.

2010/10/09

Abycine, pretty good really

The static parts of the site for the excellent Albacete International Film Festival are all OK, and the bits for 2010 are fucked but still reasonably comprehensible, with something of the mendacious, incoherent charm of blurbs for Soviet-sponsored Cold War literary shindigs:

ABYCINE is also a claim of a contemporary culture place for young people, a meeting point for young Spanish cinema professional people from a city which is far away from the clichés developed from the ancient generations.

Reasonably comprehensible is still, however, a fucking disgrace when you consider that the regional government has thrown away 640 million on Ciudad Real airport, and translation perfection for Abycine would have cost a couple of hundred euros at most. Cultural Albacete, get your lobbying arse in gear!

2010/10/07

Junta de Andalucía's Fucked Translation 101: try plagiarism first

Lenox at The Entertainer Online picks up El Mundo's report on the Junta de Andalucía's new tourism portal. Developed at a cost of €5,400,000(!) by Telefónica(!), it was launched by the Andalusian president José Antonio Griñán at a massive junket with 500 guests and the baritone Carlos Álvarez (who I believe makes in the region of €7-8,000 for one-offs of this nature, not having been foolish enough to actually work in tourism in his native Málaga). Luciano Alonso, the regional tourism councillor, announced that this was to be a quality enterprise: "We don't want stuff to be posted there just for the sake of it," he said.

So it's a shame he didn't look at the site pre-launch. Lenox has a delicious sample of fucked translation -

There are still very few who, in a illustrated and planned form, come to Andalucia to enjoy the flamenco tourism. It is our intention that those who wish to know flamenco in Andalucia by tourism, find in this site, ordered and varied references that help you know by a incipient form, of the great cultural and festive treasure, that flamenco supposes.

- and there's piles more. But there's also quite a lot of less fucked English, much of which appears to have been plagiarised from Grupo Albelmar, an Almería-based tour operator. Take for example the Junta's page called Sun and beach:

A thousand kilometres of coastline with one common factor: the Sun. Let yourself be captivated by Andalusia’s coast, where you will find a succession of unspoilt beaches, majestic cliffs, salt marshes teeming with wildlife and a little-known underwater world just waiting to be discovered.

You'll find it a veritable paradise for your holidays. With pleasant temperatures no matter what the season, Andalusia's outstanding beaches are a gift to any traveller.

Small coves and immense golden-sand beaches line the hundreds of kilometres of Andalusia’s coast, where you can enjoy an unforgettable holiday.

Andalusia shares its life between two loves: the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. One is calm and gentle, the other aggressive and exciting; two large coastal areas with their own identities, both governed by a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate. The coast of Andalusia offers you the chance to lose yourself in contemplation of its deep red sunsets and its waters, caressed by the easterly wind.

Andalusia’s beaches are its natural heritage and have their own personality. The coastline, encompassing the Almería Coast, the Costa Tropical in Granada, the Costa del Sol in Malaga, the Costa de la Luz in Cadiz and the Costa de la Luz in Huelva, is an idyllic natural setting, with warm waters and non-stop sunshine.

Mild temperatures join forces with the magic of Andalusia’s towns and villages, its charming harbours and an excellent range of hotels, along with splendid countryside and the convergence of sea and breezes. These are the basic ingredients for a destination not to be missed.

And compare it with Sun & Beach over at Albelmar:

A thousand kilometres of coastline with one common factor: the Sun. Let yourself be captivated by Andalucía’s coast, where you will find a succession of unspoilt beaches, majestic cliffs, salt marshes teeming with wildlife and a little-known underwater world just waiting to be discovered. You will find it a veritable paradise for your holidays. With pleasant temperatures no matter what the season, Andalucía’s outstanding beaches are a gift to any traveller. Small coves and immense golden-sand beaches line the hundreds of kilometres of Andalucía’s coast, where you can enjoy an unforgettable holiday. Andalucía’s beaches are its natural heritage and have their own personality. The coastline, encompassing the Almería Coast, the Costa Tropical in Granada, the Costa del Sol in Malaga, the Costa de la Luz in Cadiz and the Costa de la Luz in Huelva, is an idyllic natural setting, with warm waters and non-stop sunshine. Mild temperatures join forces with the magic of Andalucía’s towns and villages, its charming harbours and an excellent range of hotels, along with splendid countryside and the convergence of sea and breezes. These are the basic ingredients for a destination not to be missed.

Calidá a la andaluza, and what the fuck happened to the 5.4 million?

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All of this is not to say that Grupo Albelmar is any more angelic than the Junta. Founded in 2002 by inter alia the current Managing Director Nadia Bennouna, the business and associated companies like Hispantour have had repeated brushes with the authorities for the non-payment of social security contributions, transit fines, etc etc. Hispantour achieved brief notoriety in 2006 when the driver of a bus carrying 40 Africans from Almeria to Brussels via Ciudad Real(!) was arrested for driving while banned, seven times over the limit, and talking on his mobile. The bus appears to have been something of an ancient mystery, having changed hands ten times and numberplate thrice. Still, honour among members of the Brotherhood of Dodgy would have been kind of nice.
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