Blowing the nation’s trumpet is all very well, but sometimes the message sent out to foreign audiences is a bit too rosy.
When the Labour Government came to power in 1997, I was working in the Social Affairs section of the British Embassy in Rome. One of our jobs was to send out press releases announcing the new government’s Welfare-to-Work policies. The Embassy’s English>Italian translator mis-read, and mis-translated, “Welfare-to-Work” as “Benessere al lavoro”.
Thus crediting the government with new policies promoting Well-Being in Work. An admirable aspiration, but not quite what they had in mind.
By Marian Dougan
Have you heard the probably apocryphal story of the Chinese translator who changed a senior British civil servant from ‘Permanent Secretary’ to ‘Everlasting Typist’?
No, I hadn’t heard that one – sounds like something from “Yes Minister”! (I hope the Permanent Sec had a sense of humour!)