Muscle crops and beaver shots

Some jobs more readily supply comic material than others: phone sex work, taxi driving, late shift at the morgue. But in terms of supplying it already written down, it’s hard to go past translation editing. When I was in dire need of pesos, late in my stay in Argentina, I spent three feverish weeks translating and correcting bad translations of about half a ton of tourist brochures and information sheets. Wine tours to Mendoza, cycling trips in the Chaco, trekking in Patagonia, ski season in Bariloche. One corollary was that I learned about all the amazing places in Argentina that I never went to visit because I was busy getting drunk in Buenos Aires. Another was that I got to make this little collection of amazing Argentine-English creations.

“We will put ourselves in contact with a typical Mendocino living in this Wine cellar.”

“Return to Maras, where donkeys with assistants and a music band wait for a donkey ride in the village and surroundings.”

“Then we take the mythical route 40…”

“According to the weather conditions the guide could propose we trip ether to Laguna de los Tres.”

(I tried changing it to Evening Beaver-Watching Excursion, but it didn’t get any less hilarious.)

“US Dollars are accepted easily and credit cards such as VISA, MASTERCAD and AMERICAN EXPRESS can be used in larger cities.”

“You will need: warm clothing for the inferior part of the body…”
(I know they’re all Catholics, but…)

“Among its landscapes with trees and accordions of Italian accent, Casa de Caroya appears…”

“Very interesting is the mummy of a young Indian boy that was found at the top of a mountain in the central Andes.”

“We meet the Martinez family, members of the local community that still live in these altitudes, and we can share meals with them and also buy them some goat cheese recently elaborated.”

“After breakfast, continue on Seven Lakes road. The scenery unfolds itself to the visitor who discovers seven or more magnificent lakes.”

“On your bicycle tour, enjoy some energetic drinks and cereal bars…”

“Later we sail by the muscle crops and tell you all about the breeding online system we use.”

“…four species that have been declared ‘provincial natural monuments’: the neotropical River Otter, the Manned Wolf…”

“Finally we come to Anakena beach and have the possibility of wallowing in the hot waters of the pacific one.”

“Mirador de los Cuernos (Paine Horns Lookout)…”
(What you say if there’s a bull chasing you.)

“Be part of milking with participation of the public and other activities…”

“Horse trips, rides in carriage and tractor, ring races, horse mildness and troops Retail-trade…”

“This day we will finish the crossing through the valley with cross-country skies.”

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7 Responses to Muscle crops and beaver shots

  1. Swampy says:

    “This day we will finish the crossing through the valley with cross-country skies.” Poetry. Pure. Poetry.

  2. Lindsey says:

    I may or may not have spat wine all over my laptop while reading this.

  3. emma says:

    This is fantastic. Here are some more. There is a whole book on the funny signs in China. Ah, so good.

  4. Yakity Yak says:

    Having to do quite a bit of this myself, volunteering in Mongolia. We call the poor translations Mongolish. It is rampant. It makes for a funny/frustrating time.

  5. I’ve been lazy recently, but I’m going to put in a shameless plug for my blog: It’s been (partially) inspired by you Geoff, and I hope it’s not terrible.

  6. While working as a copyeditor for a UN agency in Bangladesh:
    “Bangladesh is a disaster porn country.”

    I’m guessing they meant “disaster PRONE”. But disaster porn sounds like a genre that could potentially work…

    Him: “Oh my God. We’re about to be killed in a massive earthquake!”
    Her: “That’s so hot. Let’s fuck.”

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