Planning my getaway from literal translations

For the past few weeks, I've been jotting down notes, bits and pieces of rants and ideas, but never getting around to actually posting on this-here blog. My excuse this time is, that I've been preparing for a trip to Canada, and had a "to do" list as long as my arm. By now, after weeks of intensive to-doing, the list is less than a foot long, which is far better than an [adult] arm.

One would think I was going to some god-forsaken uncharted no-man's land, from the amount of errands, shopping and "sidurim*" that I've been doing; when in fact I'll be in a Very Civilized country, where I'm sure every petrol station will carry most of what any Western weary wayfarer might wequire.

I can see myself sitting in a roadside diner, sipping awful coffee (I'm addicted to Elite Brazilian Botz**) and leafing through the local paper. Will I get as upset with the Calgary Clarion, the Banff Bugle, the Waterloo Weather Weport or the Kitchener Kitchen Knews as I do here in Israel with the Jerusalem Post?...
Only Time will tell, and this time draws near, thank goodness. Just a few days away.

Meanwhile, I'll share with you some of the annoying snippets, the likes of which I hope not to encounter when on vacation:

1. An ad for the Mega supermarket chain gave a recipe for a zucchini-pepper-cheese dish. It says :"Oil an English cake dish with olive oil." For those of you who reacted with a "Huh?", this is a literal translation from Hebrew. It should say "Grease a loaf pan…"

2. In the same ad, a picture shows two types of strudel, and the caption says "Apple / Forest Fruit Strudel". Well, folks, there is no such thing as "forest fruit strudel"; what the translator meant was wild berries. Again, a case of literal translation

3. Yotvata sweet cream – it's not sweet cream, it's just plain cream, as distinguished from sour cream.

4. The Bank Hapoalim ad, pushing a new "budget management tool", says: "… a simple tool allowing you to monitor your incomes and expenses in detail, by category without any efforts". Once again, a case of literal translation from Hebrew. Writers in Hebrew tend to use the plural where it isn't really necessary, probably under the impression that more is better. In this case, it should be income and effort. Or use "effortlessly", in the right place in the sentence, of course.

5. The Marker's lifestyle magazine, Active, of April 2009, carried an article about fitness trends. Guess what the latest trend is? Having your own מאמן אישי וקואצ'ר - -- me'amen ishi ve'coacher – "personal trainer and coacher"… Yes, you got it, they mean coach.

6. Camp Kimana Israel is advertising its 2009 summer camps for kids and youth from all over the world. The colorful flier is all in Hebrew, except for… the words summer camp, which are liberally strewn all over the page. I guess the Hebrew words מחנה קיץ – makhaneh kayitz – just doesn't have a posh enough ring to it…

* sidurim -- inimitable Hebrew word covering a combination of errands and assorted tasks
** Botz - Turkish coffee; finely ground coffee to which you add boiling water and let the coffee grounds settle like mud. But I thought Brazilian Turkish coffee sounded silly.


Shira said...

I would even just call them berries instead of wild berries. Sometimes things are labelled mixed berries here. They're not so wild after all, these blueberries and raspberries...
And I'm sure you know, but don't say petrol station here - they won't understand you - it's strictly gas.

Post a Comment