Long Live Kitchen Klappot?

Klappot, according to today's kitchen designers, are in. "Zeh ma she'holech hayom" – it's le dernier cri, as the pushy designers keep telling me. Or at least they kept telling me, until I shook them off and chose a carpenter who still remembers how to make ordinary cabinets and doors (which, not surprisingly, are cheaper than klappot).

The subject of klappot recently came up on the Hebtranslators list on Yahoo Groups. By now – late June – I'm quite the expert; but when I first set foot in the sumptuous show rooms of several large kitchen companies, I was ignorant.

My Facebook friends may have noticed recently that I am considering the advantages of living in a cave. It says so in my "status", which has not changed in a while, because I am still considering.

I can tell you right off the bat that the main advantage of living in a cave would be that no cabinet maker or handyman would pursue me there with outrageously expensive proposals for renovating my kitchen. Not worth their while; caves don't usually have kitchens.

Yes, I know, I should be grateful that I have a kitchen and the wherewithal to refurbish it. Many people would be happy to have a kitchen half the size of mine – though in that case the fridge and stove/cooker would have to move out to the hall and they might have to eat on their laps. But – take my word for it – my kitchen cabinets, their door hinges beyond repair and the drawers beyond salvation, are about to come crashing down, dishes and all. The old terrazzo tiles are badly chipped, the fridge manufacturer has long ago run out of spare parts, our technician barely recognizes the model, I can't reach anything on the top shelves without a stepladder (dangerous for osteoporosis-prone ladies), and, in short, I had all the excuses I needed for ordering a new kitchen.

So how dare I complain?!

Um… who's complaining? I'm just, like, sharing.

Back to the klappot business. As the helpful folks on Hebtranslators list pointed out, this contraption comes to replace ordinary cabinet doors; it has special hinges and it opens upwards. See illustration 1 and Illustration 2, for instance.

I thought it was a funny name, possibly onomatopoeic in origin: clap, clap!

The klappot they (Décor, Regba, Topaz) were trying to sell us were huge, at least a meter long each. Can you imagine pushing up a 120 x 40 cm horizontal door, just in order to get out your favorite coffee mug each morning?... Seems somehow inefficient to me. Not to mention expensive. Yes, klappot are in – they're fashionable, expensive, and being aggressively promoted by most kitchen companies. Are they here to stay? Probably not. One day an alien archeologist will say: "Hmm… see this large flap with the primitive bit of metal looking somewhat like a hinge? Indicates early 21st century interior. Let's tag it and bag it. Was called a klappa if I'm not mistaken."


Tourism Text and Pizza

When the girl from the agency said there's another hotel leaflet on its way to me (see previous post), she added that the translator was given my corrections and said he'd do his best to incorporate them. Great. He really did. On the other hand, he made the following new mistakes:


Mangled English

תאטרון בובות

A doll-house theater [should be: puppet theater]

מול חנות הדראגסטור

Opposite the Dereg-Store [should be: drugstore]

Other than that and skipping five non-consecutive paragraphs, he did fine.


A certain popular pizza chain is opening a new branch a few hundred meters from my home. I refuse to give it publicity by stating its name and providing a link, because their copywriting offends me!

The beautifully designed brochure was delivered to my mailbox, and I read it not so much because I was dying to know what new toppings they have (none) but because I was curious about the copywriting: is it well-written? Original? Convincing? Is the register just right?

It's only a pizza; so the word ביס , originating in Yiddish but very common in Hebrew, is fine with me; no need to use the higher-register נגיסה.

But the following sentences managed to annoy me:

בין ביס לביס הם כבר בוחרים לעצמם את הסלייס הבא.

יש לכם הזדמנות לקחת סלייס מההצלחה...

Is this the latest English word to become "in", or איני , as they say in Hebrew?...

Suspicious Minds

As I was editing a tourism-related leaflet, translated from Hebrew to English, I found myself wishing that the translator had applied some healthy skepticism, or critical thinking.

On the whole, it was an excellent translation. The text flowed smoothly and gracefully, describing the various amenities and services at the Hotel de Kef, practically making me want to pack a suitcase and go there pronto. Well, practically. I do remember what Israeli hotels catering to families are like during the summer vacation.

As I was saying, it was a good translation. So the mistakes were all the more conspicuous. No one's perfect, I know. And if you haven't lived in Israel long enough, pitfalls in the form of obscure Hebrew expressions are everywhere. That's why we need a finely-tuned ear and a suspicious-detective's approach.




קלאב אין אילת

This does not mean "a club in Eilat"… It's the name of a hotel, Club Inn Eilat.

פיצה משפחתית

In Israel, this refers to the size of the pizza, not to a type of pizza; it's not a home-style or family-style pizza, but a family-sized pizza, which would be either a Large or Extra Large or Super – depending on chain or brand.


The easy way out was to assume it meant some sort of "children's football"; but we shouldn't be assuming things. It's actually a respectable branch of sport in its own right (which I personally am not familiar with), called futsal. Follow the link; looks very macho to me.


I, too, used to render this as Jacuzzi, until my daughter in Canada informed me that not every hot tub is a Jacuzzi ® . It may eventually go the way of Hoover and similar, but not yet. Mind you, the first time I wrote "hot tub" in a text for local consumption, the client thought me an ignoramus who was not familiar with the term Jacuzzi… Can't win, eh?


This word has different connotations to different nationals… That's what localization is all about, right?

To the average Anglo, toast means a golden-brown slice of bread that has popped out of the toaster.

But when a café on Ben Yehuda street or a hotel pool-side bar offers "tostim", what you will get is a sandwich or large "beigaleh" with stuff inside (cheese, tomato, olives – whatever) which has been toasted or grilled in, well, you know, one of those contraptions that makes toasted sandwiches. According to my Canadian family, and supported by Google Image Search, it's simply a sandwich maker.

And since we're on the subject of hotels and tourism, two amusing transliterations into Hebrew, which required some sleuthing in order to discover the original:

Mangled Hebrew transliteration

Source language

מלון טוליפ פרו וילג'

Turns out that the Fattal (don't get me started on that name…) chain has a hotel in Eilat called Golden Tulip Privilege Eilat. The Hebrew text transformed "privilege" into "Pro Village"…

פארק גוטה

I had no idea what park this referred to… Seems that the hotel in question, in Weimar, Germany, is located near Goethe Park…

Ministers' Speeches & Press Releases – Take Two


Someone Should Tell Pooh Bah the Truth about Time Travel

Scene I

The other day I went through the unsettling experience of "doing something" with excerpts from a government minister's speech pasted together in the form of a press release.

I say "do something" because it started out as a Hebrew-to-English translation and ended up as retroactive editing, as it were.

What's the big idea, I ask?!

Perhaps if I were dealing directly with Pooh-Bah's Bureau, things would be different. Perhaps I could then say to the girl manning (tee-hee) Pooh-Bah's desk, "Lookie, Motek," I'd say to her (picked that one up from my carpenter and my handyman, who address me thus) "next time you know your boss is planning to give a speech at an international conference or State ceremony attended by foreign dignitaries, please send me his speech a day or two before the event." (See, I'm being reasonable, I'm not asking to have it a whole week before the event which was, presumably planned and scheduled months earlier.) "If it's in Hebrew, (goes this imaginary conversation) I'll translate it. If it's in the minister's personal dialect of English, I'll, um, polish it."

But no.

I get the job from Yum-Yum, who got it from Pitti-Sing, who got it – but there the trail is lost, disappearing in a tangle of red tape.

Scene II

… so I start translating this speech about the importance of this or that national resource, or the lamentable lack thereof, and what billion-dollar-project has to be done about it and whose palms have to be Nivea'ed…

… and suddenly – Clink! A penny drops. This speech was given at the recent Green Eggs & Turkey Ceremony, which took place at the Institute of Higher Skullduggery, and was attended, among others, by my colleague M who distinctly said that Pooh-Bah spoke in English!

So why on earth am I being asked to translate it from Hebrew into English?

Scene III

A few urgent phone calls and emails later, Yum-Yum says Pitti-Sing says thank you for pointing this out, here is the speech in English, which she obtained from Peep-Bo, who obtained it from – oh, never mind, and would I please, um, "go over it" before it's placed on the appropriate government website.

Once more, with feeling:

I don't know if Pooh-Bah wrote this stuff himself. If so, he should have a Copy Editor. If he wrote it in Hebrew, he should hire a Very Good, if not Excellent, translator. You know – like one of us.

As it is, I'm at a loss. Scores – if not hundreds – of people heard the minister say that he intends to "flourish the desert". I can't travel back in time and have him say "make the desert flourish". I checked with Brian Greene to be on the safe side – can't be done.

Someone had better tell Pooh-Bah.