Saturday, January 23, 2010


Our hero is cornered*.
Well Sergeant, looks like you're outnumbered for once. I know it's exaggerating bringing all these men, but you never know, huh?

I've heard a lot of Germans make this mistake. Where we have 'exaggerate' and 'overdo' Germans only have 'übertreiben', which means both to do and to say more than is necessary or true. I'm guessing Chinese is the same. Not sure what to make of "we're going to make you into mashed banana" though.

* In a children's playground. Our hero, by the way, is Jackie Chan. Whatever you're imagining, it's better.**
** Yeah I'm critiquing the translation in 80's Hong Kong cinema. No I didn't find shooting fish in a barrel too challenging. Shut up.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In the Labor Camp

Unfortunate Historical Connotation of the Day:
Kahane speaks of expelling Arabs, but he has not expelled a single one. Those who did expel Arabs are precisely those who belong today to the Labor camp. They expelled hundreds of thousands, without any pussyfooting, including during the Six Day War from the Golan Heights. And nobody said a word then.

At first I wondered about Hebrew using two words for 'Labour': 'עבודה'/'avoda' for the modern Labour party, but also, back when Israel was just a twinkle in Herzl's eye, 'פועלי'/'po'ale' for Labour Zionism. I had a play with wikipedia though, and 'עבודה'/'avoda' is right there. So it must be something to do with this 'in a camp' political idiom. Do they have that in Hebrew? Putting the other half of 'labour camp', 'מחנה'/'machanah' into English wikipedia, leads you to a Zionist summer camp in Montreal, so it's also not a case of the 'camp' in 'Labour camp' being a different word to the normal one. It looks like either a bog-standard case of a translator not thinking through the potential connotations, or a bog-standard case of a politician failing to think before opening his gob.