Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Lost in translation?

As the Fez Festival progresses, The View from Fez always reads the press kit notes and daily handouts for information on the performers. But oh! what a terrible mess these translations are. Consider, for example, the programme notes for Jordi Savall's concert tomorrow night:

Sanctified by the three monotheistic religions of the Mediterranean, Jerusalem was quickly transformed into a city claimed and desired target of pilgrims of all kinds. Some came to smell it in peace and some with entire armies to besiege guilty, burning and destroying ... The city was devasted more than forty times during its long history. So it is with the din of trumpets of Jericho (1200 BC) that opens "Jerusalem, the city of two Peace: Peace and Peace Heavenly Land" this trip out of time, Sufi music lamentations Hebrew.

Succinct, right? Just how Jordi Savall would like his music described? The translations are, quite simply, appalling. To translate into English, one needs an English native speaker to do the translations. The worst thing is that such shoddy work makes the Festival organisers look stupid.

Thanking our "spencers"?

At least we do have a presenter in the evenings who speaks reasonable English, although it would be good if someone explained to her the correct pronunciation of the word 'sponsors'. A "spencer" is an article of intimate underwear.

However, while the odd mistake is charming, lots of mistakes are unacceptable. We'd like to see English announcements made in the afternoons too, as they used to be, as so many visitors to the Festival are English-speaking.


richard said...

reminds me of a favourite, translating 'out of sight, out of mind' into and out of russian (to english), as 'Invisible Idiot'...

majid chekroun said...

When I go to a Festival in Australia, do I expect the speeches to be made in Moroccan? My red pen will run out of ink before I go past the first paragraph!!! Be impressed or grateful that the Moroccans at least make an effort... Knowing any Moroccan speaks in general at least two languages!!!

Ibn Warraq said...

I think my brother, Majid, misses the point. This is an international festival aimed at visitors. In previous tears the translation work has been done by native French and English speakers. Sadly this year it was done by people with little skill. It was embarrassing bizef! Maybe they used google translation? How can aspiration divine in French be translated as suction divine !!!!!

majid chekroun said...

I still see a half full cup... They did make an effort!!!