Lost in translation

I just saw this piece on the BBC website…

…and I’m still laughing now! Seriously…:smiley:

I was trying to figure out what a "heavy goods vehicle’ was, then I read the article.


I also had to laugh … but I think the translator is to blame. If someone regularly translates from English into Welsh, he or she should write such automatic response messages either in English (which will be understood by everyone in the UK) or in both languages. I mean, Welsh is totally different from English and there’s no way you can guess the meaning.

@nuriayasmin70 : it is a legal requirement that official signs, notices, etc in Wales be in Welsh and English, so there’s always lots of room for errors. This article has been around for a while, but has not stopped translation or sign-painting howlers.

I was just referring to that one incident mentioned in the article (although I read the other examples listed at the end of the article). There will always be bad translations or misunderstandings, we’re all humans after all. I think it’s important that small languages which were almost displaced by “powerful” languages like English or Spanish are nowadays protected and promoted like in Wales but also in Ireland (Irish), Paraguay (Guaraní) or Bolivia (Quechua), to mention just a few.


I think the point nuriayasmin is making is that the automatic email reply from the translator (the one which ended up on the sign) should have been written in English - or in both English and Welsh.

That would indeed have avoided this entertaining howler. However, the guy at the other end in charge of producing the bilingual signs should also have had some basic knowledge of Welsh, IMO. Clearly he/she had absolutely no clue how to read Welsh.

Mind you, it is a pretty tough language to learn! :smiley:

@force_de_frappe I used to have to drive across to Newport quite regularly for a time. As soon as one hits the bridge one can’t avoid Welsh signs and so I got quite fond of them, trying to spot familiar words. I became quite attached to ‘heddlu’, ‘milltr’ and ‘Caerdydd’. The person copying down the email holiday notification must really have been half asleep, but I do get the point.

I hope I shan’t feel too nostalgic once I’ve watched the video…

Ah yes, Caerdydd Canolog…Cardiff Central Station…I used to ride on the Portmouth-Cardiff line quite a lot when I was in my early 20s…brings back memories…

(Actually the best memory is of a young blond woman in hot-pants I once saw on the platform at Bath Spa Station…odd little things like that get burned into a young guy’s memory…I can still see those legs now in my mind’s eye! :-P’ )