Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lost in translation

Sause on pork shop? Sound tasty? This is Erin's favorite goofed up translation, found on the menu of a traditional Tico restaurant near Poás.

It’s common to find mistakes in the English translations that occasionally appear on menus here. The one I've seen most frequently is "jam" meaning "ham," since the j sounds like an h in Spanish. Toasted jam and cheese sandwich, anyone?

Last Saturday, I bought Crismelos, a Costa Rican brand of marshmallows, to use in Rice Krispies treats for the kids. While many packaged food products from Central America do not include preparation directions, Crismelos has gone beyond the call of duty and offered a recipe for "Crismelos Chocolates" on the back of the bag—in both Spanish and English. The translation is amusing:

"Melts the chocolate bars in furnace of microwaves, immediately removes the cup from the furnace, right away introduced the Crismelos in the chocolate one by one. Placed in pyrex and put the refrigerator."

Furnace of microwaves? I'm not sure my average microwave is up to the task!

Moving on, here's another favorite Spanish-to-English translation. Found on a map of Sarchí, a town recognized for its beautiful wood-working and traditional oxcarts, this gem appears next to its Spanish counterpart in bold, capital letters:

This is a Costarican art monument, artesanal jewel and artistical. It is a national symbol and it was declared as intangible patrimony of the humankind by UNESCO on November 2005. The craddle of the Costarican handcraft Sarchi realized this emblematical oxcart. It was created at the historical Eloy Alfaro and Sons Workshop, built and painted in 3 months whit the supporting of 3 painters and 3 crafters. The oxcart is 20 meters lenght and 3800 inches of bitter cedar and laurel.

The snippet about the “intangible patrimony of the humankind” is priceless. While part of me desperately wants to edit the English on Costa Rica’s menus, maps, and brochures, the rest of me appreciates the levity of such delightfully funny renderings.

¡Puras palabras!


JujuBoo said...

This post made me giggle. I loved the directions for the rice crispie treats.

Justine said...

OMG! Hysterical! Loved this post, BEanie! Justine :o )