The friendly "we"

The friendly "we" is virtually inescapable when reading (and translating) Hebrew itineraries, tourism brochures, travel routes:

"נעלה במעלה ההר... משם נערוך תצפית על... נקשיב להרצאה מרתקת אודות... נלמד על אודות תושביה ועל אורחות חייהם..."

(Can everyone see the Hebrew, or should I transliterate?)

I guess I should be glad they draw the line somewhere and don't follow us to the toilet.

This usage seems particularly inappropriate when written/said not by a tour-guide who, presumably, will be climbing the mountain with us, but by a lecturer who clearly will not be learning this stuff together with us, his class; he's supposed to be teaching it. In the case of the brochure I was translating, the text was written by the person giving the course. He's already learnt the material, that's why he's the lecturer.

I wonder whether this tone of familiarity is aimed at engendering a feeling of camaraderie between the tour guide and his flock, and/or among flock members. Whatever. I don't think it works in English. (Don't know about other languages – do let me know!)

So you, the translator, would have to dip into your English Michelin, Lonely Planet or similar guide, see how they phrase things, and adopt elegant solutions.


… The tour then carries on to the top of the hill, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of …


Inbal Saggiv said...

"we" congratulate you on your new blog :-)

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